Friday, December 10, 2010

Service-based URL shorteners

Generic URL-shortening services like goo.gl and bit.ly, should be made service-specific (image.ly, tube.ly) to avoid malware site redirects.


It would work like this. Hypothetical image-based URL shortener image-bit.ly would check to make sure the site pointed to met any of the following qualifiers:
  -- Content of URL is a recognised image format. Require proper mime-type and image headers.
  -- Content of URL is a recognised image service provider, e.g. Facebook photo, Flickr photo etc


This would prevent people doing something like the following:
"Hey check out this awesome photo of a rabbit SCUBA diving http://bit.ly/roLeb"


which actually redirects you to something else entirely, like a shopping website, or worse something seedy, a malware site, or actual criminal content.


A similar hypothetical tube-based URL shortener, pg-tube-bit.ly would do the same thing, but check the content was hosted on YouTube, or a variety of other family-friendly video hosting sites.


That way, you still get URL shortened goodness, but also content safety. 


That's all!
-Tennessee