The reasons for t.co

Today I asked on Twitter if anybody knows the reason why t.co exists. I got some answers. It seems that t.co exists to

Twitter says this

On the t.co site you can find this cryptical sentence.

Twitter uses the t.co domain as part of a service to protect users from harmful activity, to provide value for the developer ecosystem, and as a quality signal for surfacing relevant, interesting Tweets.

I don’t know what to provide value for the developer ecosystem means. As far as I know Twitter has successfully destroyed a once healthy developer eco system. T.co is as valuable to a developer ecosystem as one raindrop is for a desert.

A quality signal for surfacing relevant, interesting Tweets is a result of Twitter not understanding its own service. We know how to surface relevant, interesting Tweets. We do so by following relevant and interesting people. This works. I don’t want more relevant and interesting Tweets, I chose my own volume.

Safety

The only reason that seems to make some sense is the idea of protecting users from harmful activity. This is a nice service. People tend to do silly things, not everybody is a security expert. Far from it. Most people really don’t get it. So it is a very good thing that Twitter protects these people. The thing is, Twitter doesn’t need t.co to detect scams. It could easily just delete tweets with fraudulent URLs.

So that leaves us with no reason for t.co. Unless you know a good one that I forgot.

Comments

    • Daan Wilmer
    • #

    If I want to link to example.com/some/file/deep/inside/the/file/hiearchy I can just paste it in, taking only 20 characters, with other people still seeing the whole link (or at least the first part) – reducing the need for other url shorteners to simply tracking.

    • Vasilis
    • #

    @Daan Wilmer: Well, yes of course. It is a URL shortner for URLs that are longer than 20 characters. But it is a URL enlongner for shorter URLs.
    Instead of providing this ‘service’ Twitter could just decide that every URL takes up seven characters, for instance, no matter how long it really is.