I woke up one Saturday morning and followed my normal Saturday morning routine. I cranked up the trusty computer and began to check my email inbox. Immediately I saw a few emails telling me my site and/or sites were down. I quickly checked my sites, I have quite a few, and they were all opening up just fine. That left only a couple of possibilities. Ether some of my sites had actually been down, but were now back up, or the URL shortening service I use was down. Worse case scenario would be they are out of business.

Since I have a lot of sites that I market, some of which are Affiliate sites I use URL shortening services to both cloak my affiliate Ids and to provide important traffic statistics. The URL shortening services provide a valuable service in shortening long URLs and many provide tracking services. Since their primary reason for being is URL shortening, their names are often quite short. You will find name like: Bit.ly, TinyURL, Is.gd and like that. They are really growing in number and availability. You will find all you would ever need, and more, by Googling "URL Shorteners."

As it turned out, the URL shortener I was using was only down about 30 hours and then re-appeared. Stuff happens, but when that happens, it will tie you up a bit. I had about 20 URLs converted to short at that service, and guess what? That was the only place (their site) where a list was maintained. With a lot of research I was finally able to rebuild a list. So rule number one is keep a list of all shortened URLs somewhere other than their site.

When the shortener site experienced whatever glitch they experienced, the result was I had 20 sites down. That is not a good thing. At least down for all whom would try to reach the site via the shortener.

Should you have this experience

You will need to do some damage control and do it fast. Down sites often mean loss of revenue. You will need to replace all of those shortened URLs with new valid shortened URLs from another service. Because the primary purpose is "cloaking" your URL (shortening is really the second purpose) you can't just expose some of your true site URLs.

I now use five or six competing URL shortening services dividing sites fairly evenly between them. This will help mitigate the problems should one of them crash.

So, have a detailed list of your shortened URLs somewhere other than the shortener service site and spread the risk by using several services dividing your URLs between them.

I guess there is really another option. I am told that you can fairly easily create your own URL shortener. I haven't confirmed how easily this can be done, but I do know if you Google "make your own URL shortener" it seems as though it can indeed be done. I am not an extremely technical person so this is not something I am going to put any of my time into. There just seems like there are a lot of options already available and I have better ways to spend my time.