Coming in FeedDemon: Know Where That TinyURL Will Take You

URL shorteners such as TinyURL perform a handy service: give them a long URL, and they return a shorter URL that’s less likely to break in emails.  Twitter users in particular benefit from URL shorteners because they enable shrinking a URL that would otherwise exceed Twitter’s 140-character limit.

There is, however, a downside.  When you’re faced with a short URL, you have no idea where it really goes.  Does it redirect to a useful site, or does it go to a phishing page?  For all you know, the link could point to a porn site that pops up the kind of images that your boss wouldn’t think too highly of.

In my case, I use FeedDemon as my primary web browser, and I was tired of looking at my Twitter page and not knowing where all those TinyURLs would take me.  So I decided to address this problem.

Starting with the next build of FeedDemon 2.8, mousing over a short URL will show a balloon tip which contains the long URL – so you’ll know where the link takes you before you click it.  Here’s how it looks:

So far, I’ve added support for the following URL shortening services:

If you know of any popular URL shortening services that I’m missing, let me know by posting a comment here.  As long as the service returns the long URL in the location header after doing a HEAD request, I should be able to support it in FeedDemon.

Update: Since originally blogging this post, I’ve added support for these services:

15 thoughts on “Coming in FeedDemon: Know Where That TinyURL Will Take You

  1. You wrote:
    > I can support all of these except Shrinkster, which redirects
    > to an HTML page before redirecting to the actual long URL.
    Shrinkster.com is now hosted by Carl Franklin (of DotNetRocks fame) – drop him an email and I’m sure you’ll be able to work out a way to support this functionality.

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  2. @Pilitbob: It doesn’t look like I can support go.to – instead of using a redirect which I can capture, they use an HTML page containing an IFRAME with the actual page (and show a banner ad above it).

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