URL shortener policy; improving the user experience.

Discussion in 'Community News and Announcements' started by EvilSeph, May 19, 2011.

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    Over the last week or so, we've found ourselves receiving a significant increase in the number of complaints concerning the experience people have when downloading plugins. Upon further investigation, we've discovered that the root cause of these issues is the use of attachments (forcing people to register to download) and URL shorteners that direct people to inappropriate sites which bombard visitors with advertisements or malicious content, leaving a sour taste in their mouths.

    That being said, we found ourselves without a choice in the matter: effective immediately, we are banning the use of adf.ly and discouraging the use of shortened URLs in an effort to address the very real concerns they raise. The banning of adf.ly revolves mainly around the poor experience it gives users and the fact it is frequently flagged as a malicious site in various trust environments. While we acknowledge that adf.ly could be used as a form of revenue for some plugin developers, we feel that the risks far outweigh the benefits and would like to encourage our community to donate to plugin developers that make your favourite plugins if they would like to support them. Further, we're opting to highly discourage the use of shortened URLs because they are not needed within a forum environment and they are incredibly difficult for us to moderate and ensure our community and our users get the quality of experience they deserve.

    The other issue is people using the forum attachments to host their plugins. While we have no problem with this, we would like to discourage people from using them as it greatly reduces the accessibility of your plugin for server admins: support for wget is lost and guests need to register and login to download your plugin.

    Thank you for your support and understanding for our decision.
  2. It's worth nothing that a Dropbox account (dropbox.com) is free and has 2 GB of space. Direct links to your files, no ads, and no wait time before download.

    Also, my signature contains a referral link for an extra .25 GB of space. Just throwing that out there. :D
    TheHox likes this.
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    Yeah, I can see this. Adf.ly is actually quite horrible overall to generate any money for your plugins.
    It requires 10,000 Visits usually for a couple of dollars, and it isn't really worth the advertisement they give.

    I used to use adf.ly, and I earned USD $0.58 last month just to show a measly 5 second advertisement to some of the players. It's really nothing to be honest, and isn't worth it.
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    There are enough free services out there anyway. No need for other stuff, especially something like adf.ly
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    URL shorteners that direct people to inappropriate sites which bombard visitors with advertisements or malicious content, leaving a sour taste in their mouths.

    that was funny lol
  6. There are a few scripts that get the final destination address. Unfortunately there are too many shorteners to keep up with.
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    I use bit.ly to track how many times my plugin has been downloaded as it offers a good service for that. Is it still ok to use that?
    I agree with banning adf.ly - I used it for a bit and made about $2. The adverts are annoying and it's not worth it..
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    I use bit.ly for the same reason is it ok?
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    I use dropbox :p It's always ok xD
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    I like using google code, you can deprecate versions and you get a cool download counter ^^
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    When you put a download on github you can also track how many downloads the file gets as well, as well as being wget compatible. I've had 1 or 2 people say that I should use adf.ly to link to the download, but, as EvilSeph said, I didn't do it because of the same reasons he mentioned.
  12. Github isn't immediately wget compatible. You have to force it to ignore the certificate errors.
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    That's a wget bug, and not github's fault. Their certificate is perfectly legitimate.
  14. It doesn't matter which end the bug is on, nor does it even bother me. I was only stating that it wasn't as simple as wget <url>.
    Legolas75893 likes this.
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    Use of any URL shortener service is discouraged. At this time, we're only highly discouraging the use and are not enforcing a ban on them. But, for the reasons outlined in the announcement, we recommend you not use a URL shortener service.
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    Does Dropbox impose a monthly bandwidth limit for hosting files in this manner? I can't check, I'm at the office and it's blocked...
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    Source: https://www.dropbox.com/help/45
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    Personally, out of the computers I fixed during my previous college year, most of the problems were people downloading and visiting sites. Sure that was common, but most of them were from short URL. Most of the people at my dorm are smart enough to hover their mouse over the links before clicking and glance at the URL that shows at the bottom of the screen. Even then, a short URL is unreliable because it doesn't say where you are really going to.

    Any plugin I see that I want to download that uses a short URL I request a real link to the download, even if the text selected is a link.
    I really distrust short URLs of any kind, even if they are google links.
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    Is Fill still planned?
  22. I'm sure they are working on it in the background.
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    Unless you're tweeting, Short URLs do not belong on the internet. And even then, Twitter should have created a way for those characters not to count. I say good riddance.

    The new update folder is a step in the right direction, and it sure is handy to not have to stop/start a dev server when making small changes to code.

    EDIT by Moderator: merged posts, please use the edit button instead of double posting.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 15, 2016
  24. Honestly Twitter has no place in a Broadband-standard Internet.
    zhuowei likes this.
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    I hardly use twitter, only to receive updates on stuff like Notch and his team.
    If twitter would force people to use one kind of short URL and have the ability to report the URLs, that would be great. At least when the URL is reported, it temporarily removed/replaced until someone can check it.
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    @Tux2 Thanks, I will start using github for this then.
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    lol but I guess you are registered on Facebook, aye? >.>
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    They did. They automatically shorten long URLs with their own URL shortener, which monitors link integrity. They also shorten short URLs.

    Also, is this allowed? http://hugeurl.com/?ODViMDNiODhkNWU...ac1duZFNNVkY0VjJ0T1ZtSkZTbFpVVlZGM1VGRTlQUT09

    It's not a URL shortener!
    zhuowei, arpey, codename_B and 2 others like this.
  29. Technically. I have an account for my mom's cat. That's it.
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    This does sort of tempt me to force users to do something arbitrary before they can download my plugins... Not for any malicious reason, just to imagine their faces when the page tells them first they will need to pet my onscreen cat and get him to emit a 5.5 on the purrscale.

    Hrm... That would make for a rather unique hit counter.
    zhuowei and Richard Robertson like this.
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