The trouble with URL shorteners, apart from the fact that there are too many to choose from, is that if the service goes down or chooses to end itself it takes down along with it thousands of active links, millions if it’s popular service. The recent drama over Tr.im’s closure and successive revival is a reminder of how murky these services are and how vulnerable the links that depend on the existence of these services.
John Lawlor and Aaron McBride, two “nerdy” guys however, has other ideas. They have created a new URL shortening service that doesn’t have to be committed to serve the users for eternity. Because their product, VapURL, is a disposable URL shortener. With VapURL you can create a temporary URL that redirects to a page, but stops working soon as a certain visit limit or time limit has been reached.
At first you might think it’s a crazy idea, but I don’t think so. VapURL is a pretty clever thing. You can use it in a number of different ways. Say, for example, you have organized a contest on your website that ends in a week’s time. You can use VapURL to redirect your users to the contest page, and publish that VapURL on Twitter, RSS feeds, emails or any such channel. Once the contest ends, you can take down the contest page and the VapURL stops working at the same time.
However, the current maximum limit of 100 visits is too small for most practical uses. Hey, John and Aaron, if you are reading this I suggest you increase the number or make it user configurable if you want anybody to make any real use of your service.