I know I’m not alone in not wanting to send people a link to http://www.example.com/recommends/this?aff=xyz&tid=95&id=42 (don’t bother going there, I made it up). So I use free services like tinyurl.com and hopurl.com to make them easier to handle.
However, last week I was in the middle of promoting a major product launch and I found out that the main referring url I was using went down >-( yeah, I was mad. But I guess that’s what you get for using a free service controlled by someone else. So I decided to do something about it.
There’s lots of paid options out there, but I figured it should be simple code, so there must be a free version that you could host on your own domain. Eventually, I found it (free, but with recommended $10 donation) at get-shorty.com. It’s an easy 3 step process to setup. If you want to redirect from your domain level (eg http://example.com/246234), as opposed to a secondary folder (eg http://example.com/redirect/24523), you’ll need to edit a small amount of code, which is explained here.
It’s all behind a password protected admin interface, so you don’t have to worry about people using your site without your permission to redirect their links. It also has a visit counter (essential) so you can see how much traffic each redirected url is getting.
I registered a new domain with separate hosting and set up get-shorty on it. So now I don’t have to worry about losing my commissions when everyone’s hitting the major url shorteners :)