When I was 16 I ran a simple website listing free stuff available on the internet. Free stickers, free webspace, free e-mail. My site wasn’t the only one doing it, there were many others. Of course, I borrowed stuff listen on other sites, which was not always appreciated. One of my competitors felt threatened, and started a crusade against me. Wherever he could he badmouthed my websites and removed links.
This made quite an impression on me. I was about 16 years old. Somebody actually cared what I did. I felt important. I needed to act!
But eventually I folded my website, because I realized that neither I, nor my simple website wasn’t all that important.
I was 16.
I was reminded of this when I read the latest installment of the tr.im soap oprah, going on their blog and around it. In case you were on holidays, don’t care about twitter, or, frankly, have a life: tr.im is a URL shortening service. Long URL in, short URL out. Why is that interesting? Good question.
A week or so ago, tr.im decided it would fold, because the big bad twitter and tr.im’s competitor bit.ly were out to get it. Twitter decided bit.ly was the chosen URL shortener and pushed tr.im into a corner. Tr.im, would fold, all existing tr.im shortened URLs would continue to work until the end of the year. The blogosphere went wild. Why? Because everybody realized that URL shorteners were in fact a single point of failure. If a URL shortener goes down, all of a sudden thousands of links, in particular on Twitter break.
All the attention clearly gave the tr.im people a warm feeling inside. People cared about them, they concluded. They must act! And they did, they brought tr.im back. But it didn’t make that much of an impact, so today they took it a step further.
Therefore, starting today, tr.im will begin its migration into the public domain, becoming 100% community-owned, operated, and developed.
This whole announcement is full of pledges, and stories about how bit.ly tried to buy them for only $10,000 and that this was clearly a PR stunt, and even if bit.ly would eventually get to them the shortened URLs would be freed. Because tr.im is going to save the Internets, by giving its most valuable asset to you: itself. Its data and its source code, ensuring that you can enjoy the tr.im, forever. Guaranteed.
Tr.im, seriously, you are just an URL shortening service. There are dozens more like you. You are not special. Do not think what you do has that much of an impact on the world, even if you get a little bit of attention. Just run your little service, or shut it down, but don’t keep making such a big deal out of yourself.