If you follow Dynadot on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, you've probably seen us using "dyna.me" short links. Dyna.me is our custom short link. Instead of shortening our links to the more generic bit.ly or tinyurl.com short links that you often see, we decided to register our own custom short link. Find out the benefits of registering your own custom short link and how to set one up in our past blog post.
As you may have noticed, many companies have started registering their own custom short links, which is great because then you can recognize that a link such as "ti.me" is from Time Magazine and can be trusted. However, you can't always tell where a short link will take you, especially if it is a generic link like bit.ly, tinyurl.com, or goo.gl. Clicking on these links can sometimes take you to spam sites. If you're on Twitter you've probably had a generic short link tweeted at you (with no other content) by someone who only tweets out generic short links (hint: don't click on it!).
If you're not sure if you can trust a short link, there is actually a way to safely preview a short link:
Bit.ly & Goo.gl
Simply add a plus sign after the short link. Copy and paste the short link into your browser (while being careful not to just hit enter) and add + to the end of it. When you hit enter it will take you to a page with information and statistics about the link. For example, I made a bit.ly and a goo.gl short link that goes to this blog post. Give them a try with the + sign: http://dyna.me/10xTZsN+ (bit.ly - we use them for our own custom short link) and http://goo.gl/McNEE+ (goo.gl).
Add "preview." in front of the tinyurl.com short link. For example, I made a tinyurl.com short link to this page, which is http://tinyurl.com/clh9w6m and you can preview it with http://preview.tinyurl.com/clh9w6m. You'll notice if you use tinyurl.com that it actually shows you the preview link and says "give your recipients confidence with a preview TinyURL".
Add "peek" before the short link. The snipurl short link for this page: http://snipurl.com/26r9325. The preview snipurl for this page: http://peek.snipurl.com/26r9325.
Add - (that's a hyphen) to the end of any URL. The is.gd short link for this page: http://is.gd/iLCwjb. Now preview it: http://is.gd/iLCwjb-.
Add a = to the end of the short link. For example, the preview for the short link to this page is: tiny.cc/kv70jy=
Add a ? to the end of the short link. This service is not free and since we are already set up with another short link service, I was unable to make a short link as an example. If you want to try it, you can type budurl into your Twitter search (don't worry I already tested it by adding the ? at the end and it does work).
There is also another option that you can use for any short link. It's called URL Expander and all you have to do is copy and paste the short url in and, voila, it makes it long, so you can see where it leads you.
Did we miss any of your favorite short link services? Tell us how to preview them in the comments!
This post was written by Robyn Norgan, who recently registered her own custom short link: rbnn.me!
How to Safely Preview a Short Link
Apr 4, 2013 • 4 min read