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. 🙂

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.