June 2, 2009, 12:00 AM

Amazon unshackles tweeters from lengthy URLs, allowing more room for chat

Following in the footsteps of sites that greatly abbreviate URLs, including ow.ly.com, bit.ly.com and TinyURL.com, Amazon has introduced a method for tweeters to shorten URLs of its product pages, thus taking fewer of the 140 characters Twitter allows.

Katie Evans

Managing Editor, International Research

Twitter makes users get to the point. It allows only 140 characters (including spaces) per tweet. So, including a lengthy URL in a tweet is going to suck up space fast and leave little room for a message.

Following in the footsteps of sites that greatly abbreviate URLs, including ow.ly.com, bit.ly.com and TinyURL.com, Amazon.com Inc. has introduced a method for tweeters to shorten URLs of its product pages, thus allowing more room for tweeting customers to talk shop.

Here’s how it works. An Amazon.com customer is tweeting with his Twitter followers about his favorite TV show, HBO’s vampire series “True Blood.” The first season was just released on DVD and he wants to let everyone know it’s out. The URL for the product page for the Blu-ray DVD set is 117 characters. This would leave the customer only 23 characters for a message.

However, the customer can copy and paste the Amazon Standard Identification Number (ASIN) after a shortened version of the retailer’s main URL and use that to link tweeters to the “True Blood” DVD box set. The Amazon-abbreviated URL for this product would be: amzn.com/B001FB4W16. This leaves him 121 characters, not a mere 23, to chat about the creatures of the night.

Customers of Amazon.com, No. 1 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, can do the same with the ISBN number on books. They also can create URLs for items on wish lists, though with the URL trunk amzn.com/w/.

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