Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My Interview on CraziBeautifulWomen

by Marsha Ward

Lori Nawyn did a beautiful interview with me that has been posted on the Girlfriend to Girlfriend section of the CraziBeautifulWomen website. I hope you'll go take a look.

Although I've been down with the flu, I'm pretty much recovered now, and gearing up again into promoting my latest book, Trail of Storms. The novel has been getting very good reviews, often from people who didn't ever think they would enjoy reading a historical novel set in the Old West.

Have you ever read such a book? Are you open to the idea of expanding your reading universe, or do you tend to stick with one or two favorite genres?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

URL Shorteners

by Marsha Ward

We all know how long URLs can get, those Uniform Resource Locators that point to website addresses. This is especially so when we're dealing with "absolute" URLs, or the unique addresses for exact blog pages or online magazine or newspaper articles.

Long URLs can be a nuisance. They can get so long in emails, for example, that they fold over into two or three or more lines, often "breaking" and causing problems for those unschooled in Internet use and how to reconstruct broken links.

With the popularity of social media sites and Twitter, where shorter messages are desirable or required, the problem of long URLs has become, well, a greater problem.

Thus, we have seen the growth in recent months of URL Shorteners, websites dedicated to converting the long URL to a smaller code that redirects the user to the absolute URL. One of the first,--and still probably the largest--is, but there are dozens to pick from. Some I have seen used frequently by people I follow on Twitter are:

See how some don't use the dot com domain convention? Dot com is the business or "commercial" top-level domain (TLD) extension we see in so many URLs. But...there are many more, like dot net, dot biz, dot us and even dot tv.

Those last two, dot us and dot tv, are actually "country code top-level domains," or ccTLDs. The United States has been assigned dot US by the governing body of such things, the IANA, or Internet Assigned Numbers Authority. Dot TV is the country code of the nation of Tuvalu, whose Ministry of Finance and Tourism rents out the use of the code to the television industry!

So it is with other URL shorteners that don't end in dot com. uses a Libyan address, originates on the island of Grenada, gets its code from Tonga, (hubspot) is authorized through Turkmenistan, and is licensed by the Isle of Man.

There is much discussion on the competitive blogosphere of whether URL shorteners are evil or not, depending on if you need search engines to bump your site to the top of their lists to gain revenue or not. It appears using URL shorteners may confuse the issue of who gets the recognition for the visit to your site. Discussion also centers on whether longevity of the shortener sites will be a future problem.

I'd suggest that if you send an email or tweet or update your Facebook profile, using a shortener to suggest a link is of little concern, since those are momentary communications. If you post a link on your website--designed to be up and sending links to presumedly long-lived sites--you'd better use absolute, though long, URLs.

That's up to you to decide.