It turns out I was too hasty in announcing the death of the URL shortening service tr.im in a blog post yesterday. I used its demise to explain why companies who use lots of shortened URLs might want to take a more cautionary approach, perhaps even consider creating a custom shortened URL as TechCrunch and other online publishers have done recently.
Parent Nambu announced yesterday it had restored the tr.im service and reopened its Web site, reports PCWorld. In its previous announcement that it would discontinue tr.im, Nambu assured users their links would remain active through the end of 2009. Yesterday's announcement appears to give the links a new lease on life.
Yet while tr.im is still alive, it's hardly kicking. A post on the Nambu blog blames Twitter and its use of rival URL shortener bit.ly for much of its business troubles. According to the post, "bit.ly has a monopoly position that cannot be challenged with reasonable investment or innovation unless Twitter offers choice."
While I'm glad to hear of the continued existence of tr.im, I think it merits repeating that working with a startup presents a greater risk that a vendor might go out of business than, say, working with IBM or Microsoft does. That's no reason to avoid startups, which in many cases are more nimble than their larger competitors. But it's important to establish contingency plans upfront.
If you're using tr.im, probably best to go ahead and replace those links in light of an item by All Things Digital's Peter Kafka, in which he reports remarks by Nambu's CEO that the company would soon reassess its decision to keep tr.im going . It's shopping it around but not finding much interest. Writes Kafka:
And obviously, if you're trying to sell a business, it's better to keep it running than to announce you're shutting it down. But if you've already declared it dead once, reviving it is going to be a very tough task.