Short Links Matter, but Please Don’t Break the Linking Paradigm

LinkbatonShort links matter.  People like short links that, heaven forbid, you can actually direct someone to over the phone.  We can’t always make them that simple in the age of ecommerce, but at least making links on web pages short *should* be a design goal. 

An example of this, well intentioned but a search engine disaster, is linkbaton.  With this service you can create link aliases so you can collect your affiliate revenue (guessing here) while also providing short links to your users.  Some text from the linkbaton webmaster’s guide.

Borders.com book link for "On Food and Cooking"
http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/stat?id=aIke1kk50bs&offerid=6424&type=2&subid=0& url=http%3A//search.borders.com/fcgi-bin/db2www/search/search.d2w/ Details%253Fcode%253D0020346212%2526mediaType%253DBook%2526searchType%253DISBNUPC%2526 prodID%253D
LinkBaton book link for "On Food and Cooking" (follow the link and buy- it’s a great book!)
http://my.linkbaton.com/isbn/0020346212?for=charity

I know I paste in a lot of book links from Amazon and they are truly ridiculously long.  So long that I don’t even take out any variables to simplify the link as I typically do with google links (all you need is the "q=" part.)

The challenge here is that linkbaton fixes this by directing all of your links to their site and then back out.  Google and Yahoo will then stop seeing links as valid.  Intelliseek will not longer be able to confirm the two readers of this blog.  Dogs and cats, living together.  Links will be irrelevant for the search engines.  That would be bad despite the spammers so while I applaud linkbaton for trying to fix the problem, I don’t agree with it.

On a programming side-note, this whole antiquated thing about making sites work without cookies is just a bad idea, so quit munging the address bar with ssids please.