Url Shortener # matchurl.com

Url Shortener # matchurl.com

21.Oct.2021

There are many ways to look at the performance of URL shorteners. You can compute how much traffic you send to their servers, or how much money they make out of it - that's all fine and dandy, but I'm more interested in how much these services actually shorten URLs for their users.

My personal approach is rather simple: simply count the amount of characters, excluding spaces (there are reports on this website which state otherwise).

I personally consider every service listed here to be successful; if not successful - then used by enough people who think it is worth using for its purpose. At least one of these must hold true.

In order to get a good overview over all these shortened URLs, scraped statistics from each provider are compared against each other. The more popular a service is, the more of an effect it has on the final, combined result.

In order to make comparisons between services which do not expose their usage numbers easily (or at all), I use a formula based on approximation of 2nd-degree polynomials for the purpose of interpolation. It looks something like this:

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This can be used as a tool for determining how two variables interact with each other - in short, if you know "x" and "y", you can calculate where they intersect as well as what happens as one increases while the other decreases. This is exactly how I'm using this equation here: by counting the number of pixels across the X-axis (the number of characters in the URL), I can determine how much traffic a service sends to its shortener, by applying this formula over all URLs generated by said service.

The big assumption, of course, is that character length correlates with actual traffic - which may or may not be true. However, for many shorteners it actually does correlate well - specifically bre.st and goo.gl , which do mainly shorten URLs generated through brevity codes. This cannot be said about bitly or adf.ly , whose URLs are mostly generated without using these codes; they are simply sharing links generated online in other ways (for example blog posts).

Now let's get started:

1) bre.st :

bre.st is a service for sharing and hosting images and videos, offering a URL shortener to its users. Since the amount of traffic is relatively low (3%) in comparison to bitly (50%), we can assume that all URLs shared with brevity codes actually also use said codes - even though this may not always be the case.

The total number of URLs shortened by bre.st is around 1 billion, which results in an average character count per URL of about 19.41 characters; when applying the formula above, we get approx  903 million clicks on bre.st , or 93% of their actual traffic:

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This means that every URL generated by.st extensions sends an average of almost 1,000 clicks; or in other words: if you shorten a URL using bre.st , at least 0.9% of the people who visit it will click it (and this is an average value).

2) goo.gl :

goo.gl is Google's own URL shortener, which also offers tracking services; not much more can be said about that here, since that's their primary purpose and what they're known for by most people.

The total number of URLs shortened by goo.gl is around 430 million - which results in an average character count per URL of about 19.39 characters; when applying the formula above, we get approx  107 million clicks on goo.gl , or 11% of their actual traffic:

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This means that every URL generated by.gl extensions sends an average of almost 250 clicks; or in other words: if you shorten a URL using goo.gl , at least 0.2% of the people who visit it will click it (and this is an average value).

3) adf.ly :

adf.ly is another advertisement-based shortener, which does not offer its users any services aside from redirecting shortened URLs to their original destination - unlike most others on this list, they do not have a mirror service for hosting content on your own site, but merely act as one big advertisement generator instead. The main purpose of this service seems to be generating longer click-paths (in other words: more ads), which probably explains why the amount of traffic is very low (1%) in comparison to bitly (50%).

The total number of URLs shortened by adf.ly is around 130 million, which results in an average character count per URL of about 21.77 characters; when applying the formula above, we get approx  2 million clicks on adf.ly , or 0.2% of their actual traffic:

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This means that every URL generated by.ly extensions sends an average of almost 40 clicks; or in other words: if you shorten a URL using adf.ly , at least 0.004% of the people