WP to Twitter: The next step forward

I don’t worry too much when I’m planning on adding a new feature to WP to Twitter – most people won’t notice, many won’t care, those who find it useful will be happy about it. But right now I’m thinking about removing a feature, and that is a much more sensitive issue.

Specifically, I want to remove support for URL shortening.

The main argument for keeping URL shortener support is to provide short URL statistics: using a tool like Bit.ly, you can track the clickthroughs on the specific short URL sent to Twitter. However, this can now be done using Google Analytics, which also gives those with an analytical interest the ability to look at their statistics in just one environment.

Shortening URLs to send to Twitter used to be very important — but with the introduction of Twitter’s t.co URL shortening, which is mandatory on all URLs, it’s become really fairly irrelevant. (Yes, it’s mandatory — you may see a different URL, but when you click on the link, you actually go to the t.co shortlink first.)

So I’m looking for users of WP to Twitter to let me know how they feel about URL shorteners. I know how at at least one person feels, and I’m inclined to agree – although Bit.ly works for most people, it fails for almost as many.

One consideration is that I would release an add-on plug-in that would provide URL shortening options in WP to Twitter – if you really want it, you can have it. But I very much want to remove it from the main plug-in.

Your comments are very much appreciated.

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28 Comments to “WP to Twitter: The next step forward”

  1. Yeah, I was just thinking that as it is a luxury now, and not essentially a requirement to post to Twitter as it was before. Good point though, some would be aggrieved at it.

  2. It’s certainly a thought. I’m always hesitant about moving features that have been free to become premium; but if it was cheap enough, that might be a reasonable idea. (It wouldn’t seem right to charge a lot for features that are already available.)

  3. Just an idea – maybe make the URL shortener extension a cheap premium module (maybe $5?). I’d happily pay that for the added extra, and it could help with future development costs.

    Currently the free version does everything I need/want, so going for the paid version doesn’t make sense for me at least.

  4. Just to clarify, again, this step is not going to result in URL shortening ceasing to be available for WP to Twitter — just that the URL shorteners would not be a standard part of the plug-in, and would need to be downloaded as a separate (free) plug-in. This would simplify the interface for those who don’t need this kind of service.

    But I appreciate all these comments – it’s giving me a good sense for how people use the shortening services and why they want them.

  5. I use Bit.ly for shortening more for branding than statistics and would miss it to be honest.

    As you said, t.co makes using shorteners a luxury rather than a need, but I for one would miss it.

    Thanks for all your work on the plugin!

  6. Wouldn’t mind. Frankly, I get more failures from the plugin than successes when it comes to URL shortening. Given that t.co is more or less automagic, it doesn’t make any sense to layer more shorteners on top of it.

  7. Thanks for commenting. I’m definitely taking all of these comments into consideration, and I’m not going to rush to a decision.

  8. I would really appreciate having the url shorteners – thats what makes the plugin excellent .. having ow.ly would be a well appreciated addon!

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