Tinyurl links in our book: a good idea or a bad one?
by Josh Bernoff
We are now within spitting distance of handing in the manuscript of Groundswell to our editors at HBS Press. (Which means about 6 months until you can hold it in your hand.)
With Charlene's encouragement, it is now heavily footnoted (or perhaps more accurately, endnoted). This means when you see anything of interest in the text, we'll let you know how to connect with it online. Stats, articles, blog posts, discussion forums, the whole works. It is after all a book about people on the Internet, why not fill it with links?
The problem with this of course, is that URLs are long and ugly. So in a fit of inspiration, we've replaced nearly all the URLs in the endnotes with tinyurl addresses that will be easy for readers to type in on their on. Neatly solves the digital -> analog -> digital problem that books have.
From poking around a bit I see that tinyurl is blocked in some contexts because sometimes spammers use it to hide their real addresses. We of course, will only send you to interesting sites, some of which are filled with nasty language (it is, after all, real people talking) but none of which are bad for your computer.
So here's my question. Can anybody see a problem with using tinyurl addresses in our book, and if so, what is it? 'Cause if you out there can't find anything wrong with it, it sure looks like a good idea to me. What are the risks?
(Here's a nice David Pogue post on the topic with some interesting comments, and if you click and it doesn't work, tell me, because it's a tinyurl of course.)