Thursday, October 15, 2009

URL Shortening Services

I'm currently brainstorming some ideas on determining who is linking to a domain that I own via shortened URLS (e.g.,, and similar). Without approaching the owners of the site to purchase that data ;) Basically I'm trying to answer the question "who is linking to my site from Twitter" since Twitter clients all use URL shortening services.

If the URL shortening service sends the shortened URL as a referrer in the HTTP headers, and the web browser should do exactly that, then we can use Twitter's search interface to search on those shortened URLs when they pop up in our access logs. The obvious shortcoming is if nobody clicks on a particular shortened URL, it will never show up in the access logs and therefor we won't know about it.

More brainstorming is needed. And probably some reading.

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