When I was a young recreational internet surfer, cranking out sites on Geocities, I had my first great idea: to make a link navigate the user to a brief page of advertising before redirecting to the actual link. I stumbled upon the idea after noticing just how many links people would post on the internet forums I frequented – the topics of which I’m sure would now embarrass me. While at the time it was a pure money making scheme (one that would prove successful for companies in the future), I was just a wide-eyed pre-teen with no idea how to start such a project. So the window of opportunity opened – and then shortly thereafter closed.
While the focus now is more on aesthetics and length, the idea is basically the same: have a link that redirects to another link.
Flash forward several years, and URL shortening services are a dime a dozen. So why create one now? For starters, It would be nice to have my data on my servers under my control whenever, and as much, as possible. Second, with the return of the Libyans (!), some of the more obscure domain hacks may not be the best place for long-term security. Lastly, a URL shortening service seems to naturally lend itself to ASP.NET MVC – a technology that I have been craving to sink my teeth into for the past several months.
So, even though I missed the boat on this one, coding is fun.
Time To Go Shopping
Much to my surprise, the coding was easy. It was domain shopping that left me frustrated and annoyed. I wanted a domain that fit the following criteria:
… the first two came easy. The 3rd one, well, not so much. So after an hour or so, I found one that could almost pass for a real word. But if I’m being honest, the real reason it stuck was because it reminded me of an Ace Ventura quote that I’ve been known to break out every now and again.
[side bar] I really wanted aza.am so I could create http://k.aza.am – even if it is a bit long.
After much ado: http://shov.in – bought and paid. Feel free to browse around and use it. It even has a handy dandy bookmarklet to “shove” any page you’re currently browsing, as well as a complete API [which has yet to be documented].
I’ll try and post the source code sometime soon. Who knows, maybe I’ll even github it or something of the sort at some point.
UPDATE Now hosted on GitHub : https://github.com/dochoffiday/shov.in