Slug: twitters-trackware Date: 2010-06-14 Title: Twitter’s Track-ware layout: post

Go read DeWitt Clinton’s piece on URL shorteners, right now. I’ll wait.

DeWitt makes some of the same points that Tantek made in our recent interview, and that I made in my analysis of Twitter’s link-wrapping plans. But there are some aspects that DeWitt touches on that I had not been aware of, and which worry me significantly.

From the introductory post to the developer list regarding the upcoming URL rewriting plans, Twitter notes that they “will be updating the TOS to require you to check t.co and register the click.”

The larger context of that quote, from Twitter’s Raffi Krikorian, is:

…if you do choose to prefetch all the URLs on a timeline, then, when a user actually clicks on one of the links, please still send him or her through t.co. We will be updating the TOS to require you to check t.co and register the click.

Essentially, Twitter is saying that if you’re going to build an app that uses Twitter, you must route the user through their shortener so that they get the Business Intelligence they want. This is their prerogative, but it pains me that neither users nor publishers get a choice. As a publisher, even if I roll my own URL shortener and publish content with my own perm-short-links, Twitter is going to wrap my links in their track-ware, and my readers are subject to it.

More after I calm, down, probably.