Twitter and t.co: All Your Links Are Belong to Us! - White.net

Twitter and t.co: All Your Links Are Belong to Us!

Twitter and t.co: All Your Links Are Belong to Us!

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By Tad Chef / June 10, 2010

Oops, you’re on our blacklist!

Welcome back to Twitter Weekly, our Twitter column: Today I’ll rant about the latest move by Twitter to monopolize the real estate of their own service. Twitter will in future reroute all links posted to Twitter via it’s new t.co shortener. URLs in tweets won’t display as shortened links anymore, regardless which service you use, you’ll always see the domain you head to.

Now isn’t that good news?
No hidden scam, affiliate and crap links? Well, think again. Twitter just said: All your links are belong to us!

Last time we looked at the ban of third party ads in streams. This week we see how Twitter plans to ensure no other services advertise in streams. Twitter will control all links posted to the service.

That’s not  big deal you might say, Google or Facebook do that too. They control links on their services and block some of them. Also Twitter filters scams already. So this is just a nice user-friendly feature. Well, what about some competition then? bit.ly will probably fold. I assume that most of bit.ly traffic is from Twitter. Also the bit.ly statistics were a useful set of tools but no more. Twitter will offer statistics with t.co as well but for business aka paying users. Twitter says that

you still can shorten links

and “share” them using other shortening services but not on Twitter. That’s similar to Google saying “if you don’t like us use Bing instead”.

So basically Twitter will sell back your links to you. The links you submit will become a Twitter commodity you have to pay for. Even in case bit.ly will still work in this set up I expect this step later. In recent months Twitter has shown that its business strategy revolves around monopolizing features: Be it retweets, stream ads or links.

There is no need to reroute all links through a Twitter owned service. Not for security reasons and not for any other reason I know aside money-related causes. You could either use third party security tools to verify the security and validity of a link or you could show the destination without using t.co – some Twitter clients like PowerTwitter already do that. You see the link you’re heading to, not the URL shortener link. Indeed Twitter will do that, use a third party blacklist in the background, after rerouting you.

The bigger and more important a company gets the less friendly innovative startup it becomes.

Hard core business analysts take over and do everything they can to ensure profits. That’s the way it is. No surprise here. We’ve seen it will all cool startups becoming big players. Likewise the users have to take that into account. Business users whose money depend on a service without constraints should take care of their assets first. You still don’t see a problem here?

Like Digg Twitter could decide that all links regarding SEO are advertising and block them. Regular censorship is also possible or rather can get implemented with ease once a rerouting of links takes place.

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