Tr.im closes, says Twitter partly to blame

Twitter's support for bit.ly among the problems cited by the service operator.

The tr.im link shortening service was shutdown by operator, Nambu Network, on Sunday after the company failed to find a buyer for the service.

"We regret that it came to this, but all of our efforts to avoid it failed," the company wrote on its home page. "No business we approached wanted to purchase tr.im for even a minor amount."

The tr.im service was one of a number that will convert a conventional URL into a shorter alphanumeric string. When the tr.im URL is kicked the service redirects users to the original URL. The services are primarily designed for Twitter users who face a 140 character limit in messages they send although can be used in any application.

In closing down the service Nambu Networks said it had approached a number of people in the Twitter development world about buying the service but "nobody wanted it in exchange for a token amount of money. No one perceived any value in it, or they wanted to operate a shortener under a differently branded domain name."

Nambu was also critical of Twitter's preference for the bit.ly link shortening service and the effect that had on business and growth potential.

"There is no way for us to monetize URL shortening - users won't pay for it - and we just can't justify further development since Twitter has all but anointed bit.ly the market winner," the company wrote. "Twitter has all but sapped us of any last energy to double-down and develop tr.im further. What is the point? With bit.ly the Twitter default, and with us having no inside connection to Twitter, tr.im will lose over the long-run no matter how good it may or may not be at this moment, or in the future."

URL shortening services have recently been in the spotlight because of use by criminals to trick people into visiting phishing or illicit Web sites. The shortened URLs provide no hint as to their actual destination making it easier to fool people into clicking and visiting malicious Web sites.

Tr.im is no longer accepting new URLs although said it would continue to redirect links until at least the end of this year.

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Martyn Williams

IDG News Service

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