On Twitter, Every Character Counts
URL-shortening service bit.ly, the favorite of Twitter, has introduced a new URL-shortening service, or an extension of the original one rather. The new one is j.mp, which as you can see by looking at it resides at a domain with very few characters.
That is exactly the reason bit.ly has introduced it. The company says that for some people, "every character counts," and that is certainly true in the Twitter age, where a maximum of 140 characters is allowed per tweet.
"j.mp has the same short URLs, metrics, history, user accounts (you’ll have to login again, but your bit.ly accounts will carry over), and customization you’ve come to enjoy on bit.ly, all on a short, memorable domain," says bit.ly on its blog.
So by simply using j.mp instead of bit.ly, you will be saving two characters automatically. This doesn't seem like a major difference, but it could be the difference between including one more word or not.
To some people - particularly marketers, tweets could almost be thought of like an email subject line. Having the right words can be key in getting someone to click a link (the tweeting equivalent to an email open).
Then there is the subject of being found in real-time searches. Keywords play a very important role in what tweets appear in these results. When there is a 140-character max, every character certainly can count. Either way, using a service like j.mp could save you from having to abbreviate certain words, which can frankly, sometimes make your message sound dumber.
We've certainly seen a lot of URL-shortening services appear over the last year or so, and I suspect we'll see quite a few more. I have a feeling that we might see more going for this as-short-as-possible approach with them in the future. J.mp has a pretty good advantage being an extension of bit.ly though.