The epoch-making ‘share’ era of Facebook and Twitter have led the developers of URL shortening services to come up with the concept of “Multi-link sharing with one URL”.
Also known as ‘Link Bundling’, the service allows you to club together a number of URLs into a single short-link. There are hundreds of websites that provide URL shortening service, which has become increasingly popular in today’s age of microblogging and short-form status updates.
But what about those times when you want to share many links with a friend or in your 140 character update? Perhaps a link that contains all the YouTube videos of your favourite band? Or a bunch of articles around the same topic? The best way is to stack up all your links, and create a single shortened URL for them. In this feature we discuss the top 5 online tools for link bunching and easy sharing.
Bit.ly is the leader in URL shortening services. It lets you save and share what you surf on the net. You need to login to use its services. The links you save are called ‘bitmarks’ (a change that happened quite recently in fact). Apart from shortening URLs, the service also lets you bunch URLs together. First, you need to create a ‘bundle’ and then you can successively add each link to the bundle. It’s a tedious job since you can’t add multiple URLs in one go, and each time you’re asked for a link description. You don’t get a customised link for your bundle; you can use its Share option for Facebook and Twitter, or just email it!
Next in line is BridgeURL. Add URLs in the text box, each in a different line and click on Create Link. You need to provide a title for your ‘bridge’ i.e. the stack of links. It generates a shortened link using bit.ly. Clicking on the link opens a new tab in your browser where your links are presented in slideshow-like-format, so each URL is framed with sliders on the left and right sides. If you are a registered member, you can edit your bridges (add and remove links, change title etc), but you can’t delete them.
MinMu also shortens URLs and the bunching process is fairly simple. Type any 5 random numbers, enter the title for your Minmu and also the title for your URL in the respective fields. Paste all your links in the provided box, each in a separate line, and press “Generate MinMu!”. It generates 3 different URLs: the bundled link, a link to update, and a link to remove, all of which are not hyperlinked making it irksome to copy and paste them in the address bar. Open the shortened link and view the stack of links as thumbnails on a single web page (sort of like speed dial in opera). Opening the link to remove deletes your MinMu without reconfirming; but the textbox still contains your URLs. There is no login facility, so it does not store your links, unlike bit.ly and bridgeURL.
This can also be used to shorten multiple URLs. For less number of URLs, each one has to be entered in a different text box. You can switch to batch mode if you have a lot of URLs to bundle together. The text boxes have ‘http://’ written by default, which needs to be removed each time you copy paste a link, thus make it time consuming. If you sign up for an account, you’ll get more features like editing the link later on, adding URLs to the stack, reordering and so on. One great feature of MultiURL is that you can password protect your URL stack. You can also see how many times your links have been clicked. The service lets you have your own branding by linking to your site that will be visible for anyone who uses your shortened links. Integrate MultiURL into your own application using its API. The let-down of the website is that, you see an advertisement on top of every page, covering almost half of your screen. Ad free interface and personalised branding options are given to premium users only.
Once you submit, 3 URLs are created :
- Toolbar link: The first of your links opens, with a toolbar on top to flip through the others.
- Browse list: A web page containing hyperlinks to your pages open. Click on the one you wish to see.
- Random Link: Any one of the randomly selected link opens.
This is a very simple and easy to use service that lets you shrink either a single URL or a bunch of URLs. Just paste your URL in the box and automatically another box appears below it onto which you can paste another URL to add to the stack. You can also give a custom URL name, which will be assigned to you if already not in use. Finally press the Go Button and you’ll have your shortened URL. If you’re not registered, it makes you enter reCAPTCHA codes to prove that you’re human. Painful service if you have more than say five URLs to bundle.
All these simple and easy to use tools are available online for sharing buckets of content on the web. Now you can see your friend’s favourite recipes, and all the 9gag Batman memes in a single click. Try these out, and let us know which one’s your favourite!