URL Shorteners like tinyURL (www.tinyurl.com) and goo.gl (www.goo.gl) have made sharing information with friends, family, readers or pretty much anything pretty easy. There is one problem with that – you don’t know what you are clicking. Just because you are told it is safe doesn’t mean it is. You need to protect yourself as a receiver of these links. The best way to do this is to use tinyurl.com, even if the URL wasn’t from tinyurl. Go to the site and enter the URL you have been given into the box. Then click the link that starts http://preview.tinyurl.com. This address will give you a preview of what the site is, therefore giving you peace of mind that the site is legitimate. Be aware, however, that sites may look like something without actually being it. For example, just because a website looks like Facebook, doesn’t mean it is. When you arrive at the destination page, make sure that you always check the URL to see that it is what you expected. If it isn’t, Google the address. You may find complaints about the site, or questions about it, on sites such as Yahoo Answers. If you are given a URL that starts http://tinyurl.com, add preview. between http:// and tinyurl.com. This way you will see the preview page and get the same benefits.
If you are giving out shortened URLs, give your users peace-of-mind. Use tinyurl, and give them the preview address. It may make the URL slightly longer, but it will give your users the security of safe internet browsing.