Beneath the Shorteners!

Russell Davies thinks we’re missing out when our browsers hide URLs from us:

[For a while…] domain names and URLs became part of the fun of the web. While the more commercial parts of town got excited about the money changing hands for, the bohemian quarters were creating baroque constructions like or mucking about with ridiculously domains.

He’s right that our web browsers not ‘wasting’ screen space on displaying a URL in full is a bad thing, though I’m less taken than he is with the joy of broken-backed English language words and phrases being rejigged as domain names just because they ended in .us or .in or whatever. It seems to me that when faced with a shortened URL, the least your browser could do for you is present you with the unshortened version of the URL in a pop-up before you click on it. That way, you could both appreciate whatever degree of wit the site’s owner was trying to convey in constructing that URL , and in the interests of clarity.1

Still, I do like the slogan he suggests for the movement to have browsers devote some screen space do displaying domains again:

Beneath The Shorteners, The Web!

Damn straight!

[Via Russell Davies]

  1. There’s also an argument that URL shortener sites are bad for us, in part because they are trying to shoehorn themselves into a place in the infrastructure of the internet and this should be resisted in the interests of maintaining the sanctity of DNS as the One True Authority (until we come up with something better) on where a domain lives and what it’s called. But that’s an argument for another day.