Shortened URLs are like duct tape - they have a light side, a dark side, and hold some of our micro-universes (like Twitter) together. With some URLs running as long as 200+ characters, URL shorteners are a much needed service.
Sadly, shortened URLs can also redirect users to phishing sites in order to capture personal information (sensitive and otherwise), and worse, can redirect you to malicious web sites loaded with malware.
Ways to view shortened URLs have been springing up, from browser add-ons and programs to sites that let you see the original, unshortened URL by simply entering the URL.
Some programs, like Tweetdeck, offer the option to view shortened URLs as the original links, and some companies such as Google, Microsoft, and McAfee have launched their own (supposedly safer) URL shorteners. URL shortening service bit.ly has been working with Sophos and other companies to make their URL's safer.
Until a solution is found your best best (if you aren't already using a browser add-on) is one of the sites where you can paste in the shortened URL and it shows you where it leads.
Here's a list of sites that show the original links when you paste in a shortened link - I'm partial to the first two though all are good.
- URL X-ray: Find out where shortened URLs lead to without clicking
- Snipurl / Snurl / Snipr / Sn.im / Cl.lk - Snippetty snip snip with your looong URLs! Short URL goodness since 2001
- LongURL | The Universal Way to Expand Shortened URLs
Please rate this article: