July 23, 2008

Dell's TinyURL Finds a Porn Star Guru: Fun With Redirects

Affiliates are the first beneficiaries of custom TinyURLs. Earlier this month, the link shortening service,TinyURL.com, added the capability to customize a URL, effectively letting you replace the usual nonsensical combination of letters and numbers with real words - a long overdue feature which had already been adopted by other services,including bit.ly. At the time, inmy coverage of the news, I said it would help people trust URLs, rather than finding themselves sent to a malware site. But, as he commonly does, Allen Stern ofCenterNetworksaccurately picked apart my theory, correctly saying that despite the customization options, readers could still point any old URL to any old site. (See:TinyURL Adds Custom URLs; Is This Exciting or What?)

Despite my best intentions, Allen was right and I was wrong. So, eager to lead with my chin again, I thought I'd learn from Allen's guidance and see how well brands did in securing their own names, or if smart squatters grabbed hot brand names to hijack traffic. Here are a few I checked out.

TinyURL Actual URL
http://www.tinyurl.com/amazon http://blogs.zdnet.com/Berlind/?p=917
http://www.tinyurl.com/bestbuy http://www.amazon.com/gp/search?ie=UTF8
&keywords=bestbuy
(Custom referral by techlist.com)
http://www.tinyurl.com/centernetworks http://www.centernetworks.com
http://www.tinyurl.com/dell http://www.pornstarguru.com/page.php?
x=183137&m=1
http://www.tinyurl.com/digg http://www.digg.com
http://www.tinyurl.com/facebook http://www.amazon.com/gp/search?ie=UTF8
关键词= facebook
(Custom referral by techlist.com)
http://www.tinyurl.com/friendfeed http://friendfeed.com/jigarme
http://www.tinyurl.com/fujitsu http://www.computers.us.fujitsu.com/Consumer.php
(Custom referral by Affiliate)
http://www.tinyurl.com/google http://www.google.com
http://www.tinyurl.com/hitachi http://www.hitachigst.com/portal/site/en/
menuitem.8027a91c954924ae4bda9f30eac4f0a0/
http://www.tinyurl.com/ibm http://www.rediff.com/entertai/2002
/jun/28varma.htm
http://www.tinyurl.com/iphone http://www.tuaw.com/2008/07/03/international-iphone-pricing-guide/
http://www.tinyurl.com/linkedin http://www.amazon.com/gp/search?ie=UTF8
&keywords=linkedin
(Custom referral by techlist.com)
http://www.tinyurl.com/mashable http://www.sedoparking.com/
wwwtext-link-ads.com
http://www.tinyurl.com/microsoft http://www.microsoft.com
http://www.tinyurl.com/myspace http://www.amazon.com/gp/search?ie=UTF8
&keywords=myspace
(Custom referral by techlist.com)
http://www.tinyurl.com/orkut http://www.amazon.com/gp/search?ie=UTF8
&keywords=orkut
(Custom referral by techlist.com)
http://www.tinyurl.com/reddit http://www.reddit.com
http://www.tinyurl.com/rediff http://www.amazon.com/gp/search?ie=UTF8
&keywords=rediff
(Custom referral by techlist.com)
http://www.tinyurl.com/socialthing http://www.friendfeed.com
http://www.tinyurl.com/stumbleupon http://www.amazon.com/gp/search?ie=UTF8
&keywords=stumbleupon
(Custom referral by techlist.com)
http://www.tinyurl.com/techcrunch http://www.techmeme.com
http://www.tinyurl.com/techmeme http://www.bitgain.com/techmeme
http://www.tinyurl.com/valleywag http://valleywag.com/5024969/viacom-unleashes-pr
-thunder-on-san-franciscos-press-corps
http://www.tinyurl.com/yahoo http://www.creators.com/comics_show.cfm?comicname=oc
http://www.tinyurl.com/youtube http://www.youtube.com

As you can see, entrepreneurial Amazon.com affiliates grabbed the aliases for a number of tech sites, from Facebook, LinkedIn and MySpace to Best Buy. Clicking these undoubtedly gives the squatter a kick-back if you purchase any of the books from Amazon.com, so watch your cookies. Some other folks clearly thought it was funny to point the TechCrunch alias to Techmeme, and another from SocialThing to FriendFeed. Meanwhile,Jigar Mehtais the "lucky" recipient of the FriendFeed TinyURL himself.

品牌,管理自己的tinyurl我n time included Digg, Google and Microsoft, while interestingly, TinyURL didn't have any information on Apple, Blackberry or others, neither offering the ability to create a new URL with those aliases, or to preview them, so they appear to have been whacked from the database. I had naively hoped that by opening up custom TinyURLs, people could increase their trust of these Web shortcuts, and I've been using them myself to announce new posts, but for the typical cyber scammers out there, it just opened up a new field of opportunity for redirection and annoyance. It's no wonder thatEdelman's Steve Rubelsent an internal note to the company tellingthe PR agencyto warn clients and get them to snap up their own TinyURLs before it was too late.