There’s been a lot of talk – bad and good – about URL shorteners, with the popularity of twitter and its micro-blogging character limitations.
Some of the “bad” talk has been about how such “masked” URLs can serve as major-nasty trap doors to hacker sites, when used with the feverish subject of the moment (whether it be Joe the Plumber or Michael Jackson).
However, some of the “good” talk has been about how twitter has truly become a valuable business communications and promotional tool. In this regard, your choice of URL shorteners can make a real difference, as described in this excellent overview by Stephen Shankland on CNET.
The proverbial bottomline is that you want to match up your choice of URL shortener with the level of traffic gathering and reporting sophistication for which you are willing to pay. Hutch Carpenter and his crowd of commentators do an outstanding job of presenting the issues and options in a great thread on the subject.
Personally, I favor the crew at BudURL for my URL shortening service, partly because of my hometown Austin cheerleading nature. But also because BudURL does among the better jobs of sorting through bots versus people, providing you data on genuine human beings that are clicking through to whatever URL that you are serving up through your tweet, post, e-mail or whatever.