bit.ly links in Posts.

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I had a post edited today within a minute of posting it, the post is here, and the Moderator Comment said to use the most direct link as possible. I was confused as to the reference, because the URL was the same as the FB one, but the mod was referring to the bit.ly link. I received this reply: "This link http://bit.ly/EucSctc should be replaced.. its a re-direct"

I asked for clarification; "Why is there a problem with bit.ly links? I have been posting them many times from Facebook apps for freebies. They are shortcut links, and they are used everywhere on Facebook, especially with apps; for some they work better than the longer URL's. You are going to be doing a lot of editing to FS posts if bit.ly links are not allowed for some reason. These are NOT referral links, btw.".

"Why are short-cut URLS a problem now, when they haven't been before?"

I was given this explanation: "I understand what they are used for, but they can also be used to hide referrals. We have a filter in place that alerts us every time a user uses the link, and we go back in and replace them with the direct link. This is not a new policy, unfortunately, some of the newer mods do not catch them."

I decided to bring the topic here.


Either the filters aren't working, or mods are ignoring them. If you are manually replacing them, the job may not be getting done because a lot of people are using them (bit.ly). As this is the first time I have ever had anybody fix a bit.ly link in my posts; and I have been using them, as well as others, because they are common with Facebook apps, for quite some time. There are 3 other bit.ly links in the post, because 4 separate Facebook pages owned by one parent company, are all participating in this promo, and offering the same sampling program. Therefore one can sign-up from any of the 4 product walls on FB. And sometimes one works when another doesn't. And unfortunately, bit.ly will work when a standard link won't for some, so many FB walls use them as shortcuts to long alternate sign-up URLS that easily get broken.

Why not put something in place that blocks use of them and put something in the FAQ (the FS one is woefully outdated as it is) stating that bit.ly links aren't allowed because of misuse by spammers using referrals. Or if manually checking them, delete the bad ones and leave the good ones in place (which may be what many mods are doing, rather than following the policy of replacing them (because replacing every bit.ly link is time-consuming). I am sure I am not the only person who posts using bit.ly links, as they are so common in use, especially with many freebie deals moving to Facebook instead of the old URL's to a sign-up on the manufacturers or promoters website. We all just C&P from FB or the bog/board we use as the source for the deal (who also widely happen to use bit.ly links, btw). I can recall Tiny URL being used for years, and nothing being said, though not as prevalent as bit.ly is used today.

The mod then said he trusted my links, the comment has since been removed, and the other three bit.ly links are still there. Spammers can still sneak in bad links whether bit.ly is used or not. I still use regular URL's as the main sign-up link, the bit.ly's are alternatives provided in the FB wall posts regarding the offer, which I, and others, simply C&P in the thread. That bit.ly may go to the same app as the main link, or an alternate for those unable to get the main link to work (sometimes the bit.ly link is a mobile-friendly sign-up page since FB apps don't work on mobile devices). I just C&P from the wording on the wall post, it never occurred to me to change the bit.ly link.

If bit.ly is such a problem, why not ask users to refrain from using them, as the mod policy of replacing them with traditional URL's is apparently not working (probably due to the work involved). I suspect mods are passing on posts made by users who have established credibility, and focusing on new users using bit.ly links (Because spammers are typically new users). Or is this not really a big problem, and the number of spammers posting with bit.ly links not enough to enforce the policy of the mods replacing them with standard links?

Feedback appreciated.

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We want links to be direct as possible. What the on duty mod said was correct. Truncated links can, and often are used in an effort to hide spammy links. Whether a referral, affiliate link, or a banned domain. That being said, there are times where it makes sense to leave it as a bit.ly link. As you said, sometimes links won't work for some folks if the direct link is posted. I'm not sure if it's a redirect or bounce issue on our end, or if it's something being done on the landing site. We do make every effort to remove truncated links and replace them with a direct link.

A mod can use their discretion on changing the link if they've deemed it harmless, which is probably why after the mod changed your first link, he left your others alone.

A quick search shows that there are 34 topics with bit.ly links in them, so out of the thousands of topics posted, that's a pretty small percentage that still have bit.ly links. I only point this out to show you that we are pretty consistently fixing these truncated links with the direct links.

Thanks for your reply, MVP. Yes, the mod did state in reply that he trusted the bit.ly links I posted were fine, so the remaining three I added are still there. So can I still post bit.ly links that are part of the C&P from the FB wall posts? And leave it to the discretion of the mods? Or should the bit.ly links be changed into the actual link (which sometimes are really long for reasons unknown to me)?

If the links don't work, can the bit,ly links provided by the source offering the promo be added during an edit? This occurred with a Garnier freebie, original app link failed, but the bit.ly link provided by Garnier that was added later, worked for those unable to use the original URL provided. Sometimes I add the bit.ly link later because the original failed to work (like with Garnier), so a separate link was provided.

Of those 34 topics with bit.ly links, at least 1/4 are probably my posts, so somehow you managed to miss fixing mine until this recent one. Hence my query, as this issue with bit,ly's is new to me.

Sorry for the delay. It's probably best to avoid using bit.ly's in general. I believe the advantage of the link shortener is twofold. In the case of really long links, they make them more manageable on-screen. We can easily get around that here by using the linking tool. It puts the link behind the word "Text" (You may or may not want to click that link. I suspect not.). The other good reason for a bit.ly is to hide the content of a link. This is actually what we want to avoid. I don't think you'd ever spam us, but accidents happen with copy/paste.

My recommendation would be as follows:
Grab the link from the target page and use the linking tool, if you are sure there isn't any referral in there. If you aren't sure or are just downright suspicious of it, go ahead and use the bit.ly. Our filters will catch that, and we will clean it up if we have to. Does that answer the question?

If you want to learn more about how to pick out referrals, I'd be glad to work with you. Just shoot me a PM.

VBMcGB said:   Sorry for the delay. It's probably best to avoid using bit.ly's in general. I believe the advantage of the link shortener is twofold. In the case of really long links, they make them more manageable on-screen. We can easily get around that here by using the linking tool. It puts the link behind the word "Text" (You may or may not want to click that link. I suspect not.).


I clicked it. That's an amazing voice for a 14 y/o.....



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