Shortening URLs for fun and… well… fun

So I think we’ve established that I’m a dork, geek, nerd etc and an unabashed one at that. This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who knows me.

For a while, I’ve been trying to learn and understand the Zend Framework and the mysteries of the MVC design pattern or whatever you want to call it. Man, that shit’s hard.

So while trying to find a project to use as a test, beyond what they all show in the tutorials, I decided I needed a small project, possibly as a baseline. Something to build in standard procedural PHP that I might be able to rebuild in MVC in the future.

One of the things that the internet is lacking (not) is the URL Shortener. You know, like,, and about 100 other sites. They take long unmanageable URLs with lots of parameters etc and shrink them down so they’re neater and cleaner. They also let affiliates cloak their links. So all you see is something like: and you don’t know where it goes so you can’t cheat them out of their commissions.

It also means you can Tweet them. Since they’re under 30 characters they don’t take a huge toll on your 140 character Tweet limit.

So I decided to build for lack of anything better to do for a few hours. The original setup is easy. The code is simple, and probably doesn’t need to be re-written in MVC. The main project has 4 pages. The index page, the shuffle code, the ajax page and the forward page. Technically that’s 2 more than I need, but I’m also playing with JQuery.

Tell your friends about! Tell them to use it! Use it yourself. It’s awesome.

To round out the project and make it worthy of expansion, I’ll add some more features:

  • Login system to track cliklets, make cliklets private and access other “beta” features
  • Public display of the latest ## cliklets
  • Public display of the hottest ## cliklets
  • Possibly ad or self-promotion supported thin frame at the top (ala
  • Ability to create custom links (not random)

There seems to be a few problems with this concept.

  1. No business model. Nobody pays for this, even for advanced features so the most you can hope for is some Adsense clicks if you have that on the main site or possibly some “newsletter” related sales or affiliate sales if you communicate with registered users
  2. Limited feature set. When reviewing other sites providing these links, additional features range from none (twurl) to about 6 and they tend to be the same. I haven’t looked at the “out of the box” stuff yet.
  3. Medium-low cost. Basically it depends on how busy you are. Serving a few links that aren’t that busy won’t cause much bandwidth but if it gets busier either in creating or serving links then bandwidth costs will increase slightly. Since we’re mostly redirecting it’s minor.

Keep an eye on for changes, designs and updates.

2 thoughts on “Shortening URLs for fun and… well… fun

    1. Jeff Post author

      Thanks Chris. You’re right, there is general hit counts showing. In the future, I’ll allow users to register so they can get more details, like exactly when it was clicked and what the originating page was etc. Keep your eyes on for more features coming soon.

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