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One Million Clicks for U.S.'s Official Link Shortener

BY Nancy Scola | Wednesday, April 21 2010

Credit: NASA, via

Two recent earth-shaking events -- the Eyjafjallajokull volcano eruption and the Library of Congress' plan to archive Twitter for all eternity -- helped propel the United States government's official URL shortener past the million click mark yesterday.

Why does the United States of America need its own social-media friendly URL shortener? For one thing, authenticity; only folks with federal email addresses can shorten URLs with, and only federal URLs -- specifically those on .mil, .gov,, and domains -- can be shortened. For another thing, posterity; if the U.S. federal government goes belly up like some private link-shorteners have (see, for example, the late, we'll have other things to worry about than dead links.

The Library of Congress' short link to its blog post explanation ( of why it's acquiring Twitter's archives passed more than 45,000 clicks through A NASA page featuring Terra satellite images of Eyjafjallajokull's plume ( passed through 15,000 clicks. All told,, the GSA site that runs, reports that more 5,600 links have been shortened using the service since its launch in mid-October.

I was motivated to check out the state of (and, frankly, just so happened to catch it at the million mark) because I was reading an amicus brief (pdf) that the Electronic Frontier Foundation and a handful of other organizations filed in that texting case that the Supreme Court heard Monday. Thing is rife with TinyURL links! Maybe the judiciary should have its own link shortener?