Custom Short URLs with D95

Long URLs can be a major pain in the you-know-what, especially when you are confined to just 140 characters in Twitter. As a result, several new URL shortening services have jumped onto the scene, helping you share your blog posts and other random Internet findings in a much more efficient manner.

When John sent this review request over to my e-mail inbox, I automatically assumed that the D95.com URL shortening website was just like all the others out there. What is it about D95 that will make you choose that service over some of the more established and recognized URL shorteners?

Choose Your Own Shortened URL

Yes, there are a lot of URL shorteners out there. If you make use of a Twitter client like Twhirl, you’re probably pretty familiar with these already. Instead of sending over a URL that takes up the entirety of your 140 characters, it’s much easier to send a link that is only 20-25 characters, right? The thing with most of these services is that the shortened URL is automatically generated. You have no real control.

When you make a short URL with D95, you have the opportunity to define your own shortened URL. Other services follow their main domain with a nonsensical string of letters and numbers. Doesn’t it make more sense to have something like http://d95.com/johnchow? It’s just like the redirects that you may use for affiliate links on your website or blog. This is much more personalized.

Completely Masked URLs Too

The other major D95.com feature that you will not find with most other URL shortening websites is that you are able to completely mask the URL. Normally, when you click through on one of those other shortened URLs, you are redirected to another site with the “real” URL in full display. You can still do this with D95, but it’s also possible to keep the shortened URL in the address bar too.

Here is a screenshot of what happens when you go to http://d95.com/btr. You still get directed over to my blog, but the URL in the address bar stays as the D95 shortened one. This stays true even as you navigate around on my blog, checking out different posts and so on.

As you can imagine, this can be pretty useful for affiliate marketers. I can’t say for sure, but I believe that this URL masking works by using an iframe. That seems like it would be the simplest solution.

User Interface, Advertising, and Expansion

When you go to the main homepage for the D95 URL shortening website, you are immediately offered the very simple user interface for shortening just about any URL that you’d like. The only restriction is that you cannot use D95 for “spamming or illegal purposes.” Go ahead and tread that fine line between affiliate marketing and spamming. πŸ™‚

As you can see, you first enter the URL that you would like to see shortened. Next, you can enter the custom URL that you would like to use for the D95 shortened URL. This is based on availability, of course, so I imagine that all the single and double-letter URLs will be snatched up pretty quickly. Third, you can choose either to mask or not mask the URL. There is an optional field for your e-mail, but there is no real incentive to using this.

If you would like to offer the D95 URL shortener on your own blog, you can use this web tool code. This might be handy, but I think that D95 would be better off getting a deal with the Twitterific and Twhirl people so that it can be integrated into those Twitter clients.

I’m also not all too sure how D95 can best monetize its free URL shortening website. As it stands, there is a simple 468×60 Google AdSense banner on the main page and that’s about it. It would not be appropriate to have an interstitial ad for all the redirects, because people would get annoyed with that pretty quickly, opting to use a different service instead. If you have any ideas as to how to make money by shortening URLs, let D95 know through the comments below.


54 thoughts on “Custom Short URLs with D95”

  1. How are those short names for SEO though?

    1. I thought about this question, too. It might not matter if the link has relevant anchor text, but when it’s the link alone, this might not be the best tool if you’re focused on SEO. Perhaps, shortening the URL to the point where it still includes your most relevant keyword?? I don’t know. I generally use long-tail keywords, so there might be a disadvantage in shortening it.

    2. they’re talking about using short url’s for things like twitter not as an actual url, you’d still be seo’ing your real url

    3. I would just use something like this for affiliate offers and not even think about SEO with this kind of service.

  2. dcr says:

    You know, someone should just make an URL shortener that works with your own URL. Maybe something that works in conjunction with .htaccess. I’d rather give a shortened version of my URL than to have someone else’s domain in it. People may trust your URL, but be hesistant to click on something like d95.com/johnchow. Wouldn’t http://johnchow.com/custom be better than http://d95.com/johnchow?

    1. I agree. There are even people who are skeptical about clicking on TinyURL links because they think it might lead to a virus.

      1. dcr says:

        I know. Not to mention there are times when a shortened URL really isn’t necessary. There is one company that sends out their checkout URL (by eMail) using a shortened URL. And, it’s like, why? I am going to click on the link in my eMail anyway. Or copy and paste. Using that shortened URL just makes me more hesitant to click because you don’t really know what it will lead too.

        1. Geiger says:

          Sounds like they should host their own TinyURL. Something like site.com/order-23525

          I don’t have a problem clicking in GMail but in some others where it is not auto linked, I believe copying and pasting is almost impossible for LONG urls.

          It does look cleaner and more professional.

      2. That’s exactly why I avoid tinyurl. πŸ˜•

        1. yea tinyurl = spam. if i were the tinyurl boss i’d just shut down tinyurl and duplicate it under another name

    2. I think this is a much better idea then shortened URLs. When I see a shortened URL I am less likely to click it.

      1. dcr says:

        Shortened URLs are like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re going to get until after you’ve taken a bite and had a trojan installed on your computer!

    3. http://johnchow.com/custom would require DNS or .htaccess customization. how many people u know can really do that?

      1. dcr says:

        That’s why there would be a good market for a script or application that would do it for them on their own website. They get to distribute a shorter URL and their customers see an URL they trust.

      2. For .htaccess customization, one can just do a search online. There are loads of tutorials about it.

        1. I’ve done tone of .htaccess mods just from reading stuff on forums. It’s not that difficult.

  3. But I thought some Affiliate program do not a lot their member to shorten their url… ❓

    1. As far as I know, I’ve never seen one that had a problem with that sort of redirection. You should always ask just to be safe though.

  4. just slap a bunch of ads on the homepage like filesharing sites do, check out zshare.net for an example. they can use interstitial ads but instead of showing them to the end user, show them to the person who is shortening their url, before the “your url has been shortened” page or whatever it is

    they could also reserve all the “good” url’s, and then sell them

  5. new blogger says:

    what is this for ?
    For those webmaster have long url ?

    What i understand is, create a short url there, then when ppl click the short url, then will directly go to my long url site.

    Am i right ? ❓

    1. A lot of people don’t click on those links because they’re afraid they might lead to viruses. It’s just better to use a redirection within your domain.

      1. I usually do a redirect from any number of my domains for affiliate offers because I don’t think people trust all these short url services. They don’t know where they might land.

  6. Chip says:

    I agree with the lots of ad blocks on the main site. Affiliate banners might work, too.

    My URL is now http://d95.com/3b5e. It’s OK, as I don’t know how could they shorten my blog address.

  7. thanks for sharing, i do agree that “short url’s” are very usefuls, most especially on hiding some affiliate links, :mrgreen:

    1. I think thats the best reason they exist for. Hiding affiliate links!

    2. Geiger says:

      They also don’t get cut off when emailed.

  8. This is good information, “short url’s” are easy to remember for people. The .com domain still has the most value in the marketplace.

  9. I prefer http://www.viralurl.com so this review was pretty worthless. 7 have voted for one star as average. I fully concur.

    John Chow. Get out your SHARPER pen. It’s what makes a good blog…

    1. mxyzplk says:

      yup im using viralurl too… but is it same, I think I have to check d95’s I love to try something new and make some compare.

  10. I am sure there are reasons but why would you want to mask the URL at all times?

    May because their is a SFW site with a NSFW domain and you don’t want to be seen going to what could be thought of as a risque site.

  11. Deepak says:

    How many such services does the world need. Yaawwn

  12. ruby says:

    There are already a lot of sites around that offers this kind of service, I think the most widely used is still tinyurl.

  13. Greg says:

    Thanks for the review! As per monetzizing the site we will use only adsense on front page, there will NEVER be any advertising on redirects or masked URLs!

    Enjoy D95.com and let me know what you think!

  14. what about PR? ever thought how it would affect the real url? or would it just add to D95’s PR rank?

  15. Afzai Afandi says:

    i always use tinyurl.com. I think D95.com match with hiding affiliate links!. Anyway good info JC

  16. cjb net clone πŸ™‚ but looks good! πŸ˜‰

  17. Shawn K. Castille says:

    I like to use http://www.tubeurl.com to hide links but the only thing that doesn’t make sense is when someone clicks the links to go to the site in question your id will often show up on the sites domain that you were redirected to. :mrgreen:

  18. Geiger says:

    😈 This is a good way to get backlinks. Create pages on your sites that you don’t link to. Then create a D95 link for them. The search engines will think that D95 is giving you backlinks.

    1. Geiger says:

      Too bad it’s not working right now. Keeps giving me a 404.

  19. I still prefer the URL Shortener that I created. I really just use it for personal use. Can’t create alias yet, working on it, but for what I need and for what my clients use it for it really works out great. I constantly monitor the Short URLs through an Admin panel (shows me all the ones that it thinks are questionable. Check it out:

    http://ivyurl.com

    No ads, No Offers, Simple and Sophiscated.

  20. zk says:

    works well for sending map direction urls with long query strings…

  21. fas says:

    Well seems interesting. Have been using Tiny URL, but sounds better.

  22. Beau71 says:

    I think this is cheesy. I wouldn’t want someone going to another domain to get to my website.

  23. If you enter a custom URL with a hyphen, it results in a 404 instead of redirecting you as it should. πŸ™

  24. Greg says:

    Thanks for all the feedback. Site works fine and it has been so for the last 6 months. It is capable of handeling HUGE load and it is very stable, so your URLs are very safe. There is a problem with URLs containing hypens (we never suported that, but are making it possible now). Thanks for noticing.

  25. I just don’t get why people don’t set up their own redirections within their site. Even if you don’t know how, you can do a search & look up tutorials.

  26. Yujin says:

    Just another tinyurl. I never used short url service, why any webmaster will use it ? Submit your short url to 1000 search engines ? May be useful for those who have long web site (free sites).

  27. These kinds of tools are much faster than setting up your own redirects

  28. Zak Show says:

    looks good & simple

  29. Jamie says:

    I always wonder why would people need shorturl for their website when they can use free subdomains website like co.cc
    I have one myself which is http://www.tl.my (If you think you’re a pro webmaster do visit it and advice me on what I can do to improve it as I know many WM visists JC blog πŸ™‚
    Wonder if JC would accept this site to review if I added on reviewme? Guess I can try.Anyway your blog rocks!!

  30. Thanks for sharing, it looks verry good.

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