If you know anything about me, you know I’m lazy. L-a-a-a-a-z-y. Brush my teeth while standing at the urinal watching SportsCenter lazy. I prefer to call myself a multi-tasker.
So I was impressed when I found out from the good people at www.tekzen.net that they’ve come up with another alternative for people like myself who don’t want to go to the trouble of typing in long url’s into their blog posts and Twitter Tweets. The product was developed by a friend of mine, Jackson Miller. True to his mission, Jackson has shortened his professional name to “Jaxn.” You gotta like his consistency of message.
So what makes urlzen.com better than the leader in the concatenation space, tinyurl.com? Find out after the jump:
In a word, trackability. Is that officially a word? The WordPress editor seems to think it may not be. Well then I’m claiming its coinage.
If you shorten a link using something like tinyurl.com and no one clicks it, why bother to post it since no one has followed your lead and you haven’t learned anything about your potential vistors. That is the idea behind urlzen.com, a new link shortener that reports back the number of times a link has been clicked and from where. As the web gets shorter and more decentralized with services like Twitter and FriendFeed, urlzen.com helps users get feedback to know if people find the links they post are useful.
Another advantage is that urlzen.com uses consistent short urls developed from an advancing alphanumeric seuqence. For instance, here is the short url for Gear Diary: http://urlzen.com/2e. Here’s what tinyurl.com came up with: http://tinyurl.com/5ambfd. I’d like to buy a vowel, Pat. If you want to see how many people have clicked that short url you can just go to http://urlzen.com/http://www.geardiary.com/. You can also track which particular domains sent people to your site via the urlzen address.
As the service grows they will also be adding the ability to see what short urls point to a domain (i.e. how many people use urlzen.com to link to your blog) as well as what urls have been clicked from a domain (i.e. the most clicked urlzen.com urls on Twitter). Another neat feature is that if multiple people use urlzen to throw up links to the same page at various sites, (e.g. twitter posts, blogs, Facebook pages, etc.) they will all have the same urlzen abbreviation.
Jaxn has included several nice features on this small app, including the ability drag an address to a bookmarklet to instantly urlzenize (there I go coining again) it. It was fascinating to track the development of urlzen via Jaxn’s Twitter feed. It started out with this Tweet a week ago:
“A URL shortening service that provides analytics on where the link was posted and how many people clicked through would be huge.”
Then he basically said, “I guess I’ll go write one,” and disappeared for a few hours.
He emerged with this pronouncement:
“The birth of a new URL shortener designed for the social web. More to come. (alpha test: http://urlzen.com/1“)
A few people Tweeted suggestions for features and Jaxn would add them within minutes. It seemed like a truly collaborative process, except we didn’t actually have to do any of the work. Lazy, remember? Jaxn managed to also find time to run a small business, raise a basketball team’s worth of young children and get a new tattoo during this development period.
After lots more comments like, “I added a link bar button (bookmarklet) to urlzen. Let me know if that is what you wanted. ” and “Good idea. I will work on that,” urlzen had reached its current form and was ready to be released into the wild. To my eyes, it seems just robust enough while maintaining an architecture that appears to be simple and bullet-proof.
The next time you need to post a short url, give urlzen.com a try.