Make Really Short URL with XR.com

I received an email from Richard Lau about his new URL shorting service, XR.com. Richard said XR.com will be a tinyurl killer and will offer the shortest URLs out of any URL shortening services. XR.com does have an advantage in that its URL is very short to begin with – just two main letters.

What makes XR.com unique is it will be built with the help of its users. New features will be add based on feedback from you. And this was why Richard contacted me. He wants you to try out the service and tell him what you like and dislike about it.

A short URL comes in handy for services like Twitter, where you’re limited to 140 characters, and affiliate marketing, where it helps to mask the affiliate link. Affiliate marketers will like XR.com over other services because it has the ability to track clicks.

XR.com Vs. TinyURL

To test if XR.com really does provide the shortest URL in the industry, I tested it using my last miscellaneous rambling post, which has 73 characters in the URL. Here’s the URL created by the two services.

XR.com was able to shorten my URL down to just 10 characters, significantly shorter than the 18 characters it took for tinyurl.com. If you don’t need a super short URL, you can use XR.com to create a custom URL – instead of xr.com/eap, it could be xr.com/misc-ramble.

XR.com is entirely free to use. You don’t have to sign up for an account in order to use it. However, if you do set up an account, you’ll get access to a bunch of added features like click tracking and management of all the URLs you create.

Set up an account, give XR.com a try and let Richard know what you think.


120 thoughts on “Make Really Short URL with XR.com”

  1. Cool, thanks for the heads-up John, I’ll be blogging about XR on my blog ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. XR says:

      Hi John,

      Thx for trying out the service. I hope you don’t mind me hopping on here and replying to comments directly. We really do mean that we want to design the system around feedback. Sometimes we just lock ourselves in a room and try and guess what people want. I’m a little lazy that way. I’d rather just listen to people and implement it. :^ )

      1. Kok Choon says:

        This is very useful to set links in all small communication tool, like blackberry, you really don’t want to type a long url…!

        Great service XR!

      2. I used it – it really make URL damn short

        1. Yup it makes, I have some very long url that looks better when they are shorter.

    2. ivyurl.com also you to create custom URLs, Mask you url, and is very stable. My personal favorite. Never had a problem with them. Might not be the shortest but they sure are reliable and I love the simplicity of their layout.

    3. max says:

      I just re-launched my URL shortening tool with ability to add it to Firefox:

      http://zedomax.net/zedomax-network-news/cozyurlcom-url-shortener-re-launched/

  2. Study Babes says:

    well you get “eap” now but once all the 3 letter combos are used up they’ll end up being just as long as tinyurls, right?

    1. XR says:

      Hey Study Babes — great question. And I think we have thought about it….

      for 3 character combos …. we have a-z and 0-9, so 36 characters =

      36 x 36 x 36 = 46656 links and then we move to 4 characters
      36 x36x36x36= 1.6m and then we move to 5 characters
      36x36x36x36x36= 60M

      We create the aliases randomly at the 3 character level until they are all gone, then move up to 4 characters. So 60 million randomly created links until we have to move up to being as long as tinyurls 6 characters.

      But, the other thing we are doing is adding more domains. And giving you the ability to run your own domains on our system. Aliases are unique across domains (I really have to find a better way to summarize that). But http://xr.com/radio
      is NOT the same as http://x.bb/radio

      So, with multiple domain support and custom tags, I think we can keep below tinyurl’s length for a long, long time. Hope this answers your question!

      1. Mike Henry says:

        So the answer to SB is a definitive – YES.

        1. XR says:

          Hi Mike,

          Actually the answer to SB is a qualified – NO — since tinyurl’s at 6 characters, we don’t expect XR to ever reach that point since we’ll be spreading the load across multiple domains. Tinyurl only has 100 Million aliases, so if we were to use, say xr.com, x.bb and xr.net we would have to be at 180 Million before we crossed the 60M threshold to be using aliases that are “just as long as tinyurls”, and this could/would be mitigated by adding another short domain from our portfolio.

          Thx

          XR

      2. Mr Javo says:

        Awesome system, clean and easy to use… Great job XR

  3. Hi John ~ This service sounds awesome! I’m no mathmatician but I’m wondering with the number of users on a platform like Twitter … how long before it runs out of letter combinations? Or do they keep adding letters as needed? I’ll check it out … I tend to have really long URLs … LOL … Thanks for the info. *SmiLes* Suzanne

    P.S. So … was that really YOU who commented on my “Guru Roundup” post? I think I might have won some bets if it was … that’s way cool!

    1. XR says:

      Hi Suzanne,

      I did some math in the reply to Study Babes, but we can keep adding domains so it’ll be a long, long time before we run out of combinations. Please check it out and let me know what you think!

      XR

  4. lazy drunk says:

    Bookmarked. Looks great and usefull! The “Customize (optional)” is cool.

    1. XR says:

      Thx. A small note on the Customize option. You can just type in words with spaces and the system will auto-fill with hypens

      So that: yahoo to google
      becomes: http://xr.com/yahoo-to-google

      (I’m lazy and find it easier to hit the spacebar rather than having to go up with my pinkie to hit that hyphen key. So, after using customize myself for a few times, I thought “why do I have to type in yahoo-to-google when I can just have the hyphens automatically appear”. Of course, since my aim with my pinkie finger is less than accurate, this was really after typing yahoo=]to=google…..

      XR

      1. afroman says:

        By smart do you mean hot?

  5. Darren Alff says:

    John,

    I just went to the site and I saw your name in the list of links at the bottom of the page. I clicked on the link for your name and was redirected to a page with old men having sex with one another! PORN! That’s not good – especially if it’s linked with your name. I clicked on some of the other links at the bottom of the page and found ever more porn. So far, not impressed by this service. Never had this problem with Tinyurl. Do you think the X in the name will make people think this service is associated with sex websites? Eek!

    1. XR says:

      Hi Darren,

      Some people just don’t know how to be mature hey? I just noticed that and immediately disabled the link. Also, we’ll pull the “Recent Links” off the main page. I don’t think it has anything to do with the X being in the name. It’s actually been virtually no porn links until the last couple of days. Looks like the same guy doing all these links. One bad apple…. The ‘recent links’ was pretty cool but we’ll just pull it for now. Maybe add a Digg type voting system and just put in a “Most Popular” section instead (that is reviewed before posting)….

      Don’t forget – you can report abuse like this at: http://xr.com/report_spam.html

      Thx

      XR

    1. Michael says:

      http://bit.ly is the same size

      There are so many others as well. Nothing original with this at all, just a guy who spent too much for a review.

      1. XR says:

        Hi M and M,

        Yeah, but xr.com is the shortest .com tiny url shortening service.

        Ok, you don’t buy that right? A bit pretentious? Who cares about the .com? You are just wanting the shortest service.

        Thought you might….. but was hoping to do more of a proper integration. So, think of this as a soft launch…… x.bb

        Can’t get much shorter than that. To use x.bb replace xr.com with x.bb in the Customize (optional) section.

        http://x.bb/the-shortest-url-shortening-service-in-the-world

        ;^)

        XR

        1. Mike Henry says:

          What does it matter? Aside from the bragging rights, does it matter at all?

          1. XR says:

            Hi Mike,

            Besides bragging rights, the length seems to matter most to twitterites texting with one thumb. Depends on your phone/device. If you have a regular keypad, it’s easier to type in x.bb rather than xr.com, (which is easier than tinyurl.com), but on an iphone which has the “.com” shortcut button, then it’s easier to type in xr.com (which is easier/faster than tinyurl.com)

            A few keystrokes multiplied by millions of entries equals a lot of time distributed across a lot of people.

            XR

  6. If XR gets popular, lets wait 6 months and then compare the URL lengths.

    I don’t think its going to be too different from TinyURL or any other service.

  7. J-DOG says:

    OHH snap John Chow delete this man they got your name going to some old DUDES nasty
    damn son ๐Ÿ™
    that dude dissed you man ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. XR says:

      Thx J-Dog — http://www.xr.com/johnchow has been dealt with.

      Donโ€™t forget – you can report abuse like this at: http://xr.com/report_spam.html

  8. Jon says:

    Actually, my own system is shorter then tinyurl and gives you full statistics to boot, this one has a few less characters but with popularity comes added characters being required.

    Give buzvia.com a try – totally free, lots of stats and best of all, a great way to promote your company as well!

    Jon
    http://buzvia.com – Where’s your traffic going?

  9. Fabio Santos says:

    Interesting service. But really is better than tinyurl?

    1. Sohail says:

      tinyURL is quite famous

  10. Anthony says:

    John, Have you seen Shorty? http://get-shorty.com – You can have your own Tinyurl service on your server and make them as short as you want.

  11. I actually have a domain name “fallurl.com” which has the same amount of words with tinyurl.com, but now i know there’s this XR.com, i might want to forget setting up another site like that. ;-p

    1. XR says:

      Hi Desmond,

      You can CNAME fallurl.com to xr.com and then you have your own service. On the xr.com site you’ll notice that the xr.com is replaceable in the “Customize” section. You can put in your own domain (so long as that domain or subdomain is CNAME’d to xr.com). Here’s an example… and it’s an even shorter domain: x.bb

      So, if you put http://news.google.com/ in the URL box, and replace xr.com with x.bb in the Customize section, then click “shorten your url” > you get http://x.bb/05z

      If you don’t want to use your main domain, you could CNAME a subdomain, links.fallurl.com to xr.com so that links.fallurl.com could go in to replace xr.com.

      The system is designed to support multiple domains, and we decided to make all aliases unique to each domain. This means that

      http://xr.com/radio
      is NOT the same as
      http://x.bb/radio

      I hope you see the value in that….. Other services just ignore the domain and have [any-cnamed-domain]/ where there can only be one alias in the entire system. This means that if we had 10 million aliases and then you set up your service, you’d be starting with 10 million aliases already used up. But with xr.com, if you set up a domain on our service, you get to start with a completely clean slate…..

      1. Navjot Singh says:

        Wow….you really have put in a lot of thought with this service. I think John Might want to review it again since now you have listed so many more features in the comments section already!

  12. This is a great idea. I have some very long url that looks better when they are shorter. Thanks, your blog is great as usual :).

  13. Sam says:

    it’s not any shorter than lin.cr tho.

    1. XR says:

      Hey Sam, try it with x.bb in the Customize — now 2 shorter than lin.cr

      I do like the idea of lin’s LinkBunch (shortening multiple urls at a time), but it seems to be offline? Should we have that at XR?

      Thx

      XR

  14. BusinessX says:

    Funny you post this now, I just used budurl yesterday for a bunch of links. I had never used them before, but heard you can track some stats with them.

    If I knew about xr I would have been willing to use them because 1). John Chow recommended them, 2). they too have stats and tracking too, and 3). I am a bit troubled about using url in the domain name like budurl or tinyurl.

    I don’t have any sites that target sophisticated Internet power users, like MMO. My opinion is that most site visitors then would not know about redirect and shortening services, and raise questions with url in the domain. Something like xr.com with a auto-generated tag, leaves it all a mystery. So, when I have fractions of a second for someone to click or not click a link, I don’t want anything that would make them think. I just want them to click.

  15. Scott Y. says:

    Hmm.

    Frame + no API = FAIL

    I know from XR.com’s blog that both will be addressed. However they should have fixed those BEFORE getting a PR from here…

    1. XR says:

      Hey Scott, I replied to your comment directly in the main thread. But basically – yes, you are right. Api is now public, Frame is now optional (via the API). Just wrote this for you: http://apicode.xr.com/ (Page is less than 5 mins old….)

      ;^ )

      XR

      1. XR says:

        Frame and Non-Framed. Forgot to mention that you can turn off the frame in your account management. Just log in, click edit and select non-framed.

        Thx

        XR

  16. What I like about John blog is always updated on news especially on marketing updates and events.I enjoy reading it.The tiny url looks very practical, I believe it will benefit for site owners to display them.

  17. Looks cool and nice to get shortest URL service.

  18. LayupDrill says:

    Im pretty impressed with this.

  19. XR says:

    Hey Scott,

    You can turn off the Frame via the API….

    Ok, I’m being a smart-a$cii….

    Yes, you are right, we should have had all our ducks in a row before emailing John, but then you wouldn’t be (hopefully pleasantly) surprised when we pull an API out of the hat.

    The API is actually built and so we’ve just (written) and put the instructions online at http://apicode.xr.com/

    btw, we just made the frame optional when you call via the API using &direct=yes and if people really don’t like the frame, we can make that optional on the main website too.

    Thx!

    XR

    1. arun says:

      so when this xr.com came to existence?/

      will quit tinyurl.com

  20. Sohail says:

    There are many URL shrinkers, each has its own advatages. some report you how many times URL was clicked and other statistics. A complete list can be found here http://www.pakblogger.com/list-of-best-url-shrinkers/
    i will check this new service as well. Thanks john

  21. You can’t get much shorter than XR. I didn’t know there were any 2 space domain names left, he must have had to pay a nice price for it.

    1. Sohail says:

      yeah thatz true but some services are providing statistics and other sruff which is usefull for affiliates to see how many times that URL was clicked so yeah if you only care about a short URL it is good (but if you want to use it for affiliate, to hide URLs and get statistics, others are doing well ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

      1. XR says:

        Hey Sohail,

        We are tracking the number of times your links get clicked. Best you create an account and put all your URLs in the same account.

        We’re totally open to what kind of stats people want to see. Some services seem to go overkill, and we’ve gone with the KISS method until we get more feedback from members on what to show/how to structure the stats area.

        And AC — yeah, it was a pretty penny. Some people have summer homes on the lake, we have XR.com — prob should get a life hey? ;^ )

        XR

  22. Mike Lau says:

    Yeah.. people on this thread keep saying there are shorter domains than XR.com.

    Yes.. there are.. ending in .cx, .my, etc. Everybody knows .com and associates it with “higher respect” Would you be worry about clicking on a .ro, or .ru domain extension?

    2 LETTER .com are worth in the north of $150,000 USD. Everybody knows Richard Lau as one of the top domainers in the world. I think he won the “domainer of the year” from DNJournal few years back. Ask him what domains he owns and everybody will be shocked. He even owns lau.com!

    Good luck with XR.com. I’ll try it out.

    Mike

  23. Chris Hunter says:

    XR,

    How about a bookmarklet to drag to my toolbar in FF? If I have to go to xr.com every time I need to create a URL, I won’t be using the service.

    1. XR says:

      Hey Chris,

      Ok, let me get that done….

        1. XR says:

          Back… worked like a mad dog on this, had a bite eat and a massage and now I’m back with a bookmarklet…

          http://blog.xr.com/2008/11/bookmarklet.html

          Thx for the prompting Chris…

          XR

  24. Rahul says:

    Thanks John for this info about xr.com. I’ve got myself an account with them as well.

    http://xr.com/nepal.

    Cheers to xr.com too.

  25. Seems like it might be useful. Maybe…

  26. MoneyBlog says:

    I do the following: make a file ‘index.php’ in writing

    then make a folder: ‘johnchow’ in which copy the file index.php.
    URL will look like this: http://www.xxxxxx.com / johnchow

    1. arun says:

      hey money blog

      wat should b there in index.php file..
      pls elaborate..

      1. MoneyBlog says:

        php
        header (“Location: AFFILIATE URL”);at the beginning and the end to put< ?

  27. MoneyBlog says:

    do the following: make a file โ€˜index.phpโ€™ in writing—————–”
    then make a folder: โ€˜johnchowโ€™ in which copy the file index.php.
    URL will look like this: http://www.xxxxxx.com / johnchow

  28. mel says:

    problem with url shortening services is that you don’t know how long it is going to last. there are many that have come and gone… it’s a saturated market out there.

    this is great but i will stick with tinyurl or snurl, just for the main fact that i don’t need to worry about it going away and losing all my links. tinyurl and snurl are companies that actually are established(have been in the market the longest), have big funding,investment and have the support of the major players in the market like twitter etc..

    1. Yea, that would be a drag if you set up several affiliate campaigns and then lost all your links, bummer.

    2. XR says:

      Hey guys,

      Well, let’s see….. I’ve had xr.com for 8 years. Had it running as a full time redirection service starting in April 2006. Granted we’re not as established as tinyurl, but we’ve committed more than just a $10 domain name to this, so we hummed and haw’d a long time before committing since we know that once launched, you can’t shut down.

      Thx

      XR

  29. xr.com is pretty cool site but I do thing tiny url will always be the best!

  30. Dax Desai says:

    Great find. I wish tweetdeck would allow you to “plug in” your own url shortening service. This will be great for twitter. Before I started using Twitter I thought these services were pointless. Now I understand the need.

  31. definitely a tinyurl killer… best of luck to XR
    nice tool ๐Ÿ˜€

  32. Phy says:

    Does XR.com allow registered users to see the statistics? If not, i’d prefer cli.gs. That said, i do like the custom alias feature of XR.com, which is also available on tinyurl.com.

    1. XR says:

      Yes, if you have an account, you can see stats. Cli.gs has got great stats though. Something to consider when we are defining what the xr stats should look like…

      XR

  33. ร–nder says:

    we will get the shortest url with this service… ha!

  34. Arfan says:

    Interesting I don’t mind using it will give it a shot

  35. this is a cool app, always have articles that are a mile long!

  36. just tried it with a 50 character article i rote the other day! NICE!!

  37. good point on the .com end….i know personally i would not click on a link with any other ending, again nice find john!

  38. ivyurl.com has been doing something very similar for a few months now. I love using their service. Very reliable and my urls ALWAYS work!

  39. Oh yeah ivyurl.com also allows you to MASK your tiny links. PERFECT for my affiliate campaigns. Gone are the days of losing sales.

  40. Khoe says:

    XR, why don’t you recycle the URL? Keep a stat somewhere, and recycle URL that hasn’t been accessed for…say…3-5 years? A lot of people who uses tinyurl are using them as throw-away URL anyway, right?

    – William

  41. Games says:

    Been there, done that. Good luck with fighting all the spam and authorities knocking on your door when someone uses it for phishing.

    90% of URLs generated will be for some bad purpose, just remember my words

  42. hopefully that wont b the case

  43. Andre says:

    What about http://shredurl.com, it works really well.

    1. XR says:

      Really? Having a great time. Hope that you aren’t meaning that my answers are coming across the wrong way. When I was running mydomain.com and had 500,000 domains with free email/dns/url forwarding, that was tough. This is just fun!

      Thx

      XR

  44. Monty says:

    Great Service!!

    Thanks XR ! ๐Ÿ™‚

  45. Diana Rupert says:

    Thank you for making a new nice tool for shortening URL. It was really interesting. Hope to see more details about it soon.
    Thank you

  46. Awesome system, clean and easy to useโ€ฆ

  47. Mike Huang says:

    Did Richard had to pay you for this? ๐Ÿ˜€ Hopefully XR.com won’t start gaining a lot of users, which would force the characters to be longer.

    -Mike

    1. XR says:

      Hi Mike,

      XR.com is worth in the low six figures for the domain name alone. There are lots of tiny url services out there, but most are seemingly weak in that they fall into one of two categories: short ccTLD, or long .com. XR.com tries to tackle both by being the only two letter .com tiny url service out there. If it gets a ton of users, then we will add additional short domains, though that will likely be short ccTLD domains (like x.bb)

      Thx!

      XR

  48. Hamac says:

    Hey XR,
    I don’t see any advertisement on your site and it states that you will not reuse provided emails.

    If you read john’s blog, I believe that you are interested in making money online.
    And as you have told us contributing time and a 2 letters .com domain is an investment in itself.

    Can I ask how you are expecting to monetize it? Advertisement, donation, paying account… .
    Why don’t you already use any of these solutions since you are probably getting a peak in your traffic now?

    1. XR says:

      Hi Hamac,

      Great question. Yes, I read john’s blog, but we’ve been really conservative on our sites. Here’s some examples:
      http://www.FreePhotos.com = adsense ads
      http://www.OnlineRadioStations.com = ppc ads
      http://www.DomainManager.com = great for networking with other domain owners

      As for XR.com — the revenue model isn’t a top priority. Though there is some discussion about allowing users who are setting their own domains up on our system to be able to have their own logo appear in the top frame, as well as to run their own ads in the top frame. Maybe that could be a ‘paid’ feature, or a revenue share on ads? Like I say, it’s just a discussion point.

      We come from the “free” side of things. We love free. The internet loves things to be free. Money is important, but we’re lucky to have other revenue streams (from other properties) such that XR.com can afford the luxury of not knowing its monetization plan.

      We’re open to ideas, so send them in. btw, I’m richard at XR dot com

      Thx

      XR

  49. Bert says:

    k.9hz.com <- 9 characters!!!

    1. XR says:

      k.9hz.com = 9 characters
      vs
      x.bb/mh7 <- 8 characters! ;^)

      XR

  50. Takumi86 says:

    Is this site still new?! i hope they didn’t shut down their site just because they got lack of people from using it

    1. XR says:

      XR.com has been doing the tiny url type service for about 2 years. Just enhanced it recently.

  51. I’ve been using this for a little while now and it’s worked out great so far. In fact John, the other day I was thinking of emailing you a couple different blog related topics that I haven’t seen you cover, and this was one of them.

  52. silentleo says:

    XR.com? ehm..interesting. I only know about snipurl and tinyurl only.. ๐Ÿ˜€

  53. Karl Hadwen says:

    I do know a few different websites that have short urls but ta.

  54. There are many sites on short url but this one looks easy to use.

  55. my only issue with the short urls is you cant tell where your traffic is coming from, traffic reports says xr.com

    only issue

  56. There are so many URL shorteners out there now.

  57. Li Weng says:

    cool. I see those urls on twitter all the time, but never knew why they were like that.

  58. Rich Hill says:

    Ha ha ha. LOL

    Mines shorter than yours!

    An Internet anomaly.

Comments are closed.