Introducing – TechXav’s Own URL Shortener, And Here’s Why We Don’t Use Pro

Recently, the URL shortener market is getting much hotter than before, with Google launching and, Facebook unveiling, and releasing Pro Service. These services are built for the same purpose – CUSTOM URL Shortening.

Why go custom? gave us a simple explanation:

The Pro service provides custom short URLs powered by Publishers and bloggers will be able to use their own short domain names to point to pages on their sites.

Users and publishers benefit from the additional transparency that this private-label service provides. When you see a short URL like, you know the destination web site before clicking on the link. The service includes all the features users and publishers have come to expect. Placing a simple “+” at the end of any link (including these white-label, links) takes you to real-time information about that page and how it is being shared: how many people clicked on that particular link, where they came from, and more. For publishers, the new service allows them to keep their brand visible while maintaining access to statistics.

Our new and unique URL shortener is up and running, and readers can publish the shortened URLs in their tweets or via email. Many people may ask why TechXav decided to use a custom and self-hosted URL shortener instead of using (the default URL shortener on Twitter)? Well, here are the reasons why:

  1. It’s short! The main objective of URL shorteners is to squeeze long URLs into shorter ones so that they can be easily posted on Twitter, forums or emails. We use lowercase letters and numbers (to prevent confusion due to capitalization). The total number of characters of a single URL is only 17 (e.g., you can have 123 characters more to write in a tweet.
  2. For branding purposes. Just like and, we want our readers to know that a specific shortened URL is from the TechXav Network and not from other websites.
  3. We are fully compatible with and Twitter! is the first URL shortener that “pushes” the stats and retweets to other services. Our idea is simple – we redirect the URL twice, first to, then to the actual URL, so that clicks are counted on both services. (And the twice-redirected URL is fully expandable too, look at this:

Why we don’t use Pro instead:

  1. We can manage ourselves and we don’t want to pay for this service. Pro is now in free beta, but I’m sure that it will go premium one day. We have enough ability and experience to maintain such a simple and small-scale URL shortener.
  2. Although it’s pretty safe to use custom domain in terms of DNS hijacking, but it’s unsafe to share public servers for custom services. For example, is blocked in China and if we use Pro, will be inaccessible too. We are able to use conditional redirects, so we redirect visitors within the Great Firewall to the long URL directly, so that people in China can access to too.
  3. Neither Pro nor self-hosted URL shortener has built-in tweetmeme support (it would be messy to provide such support). Hence, we are going to develop the “retweet” button on our own. As we understand our own URL shortener system (which is built on an Open Source project better, it’s much easier for us to develop other features for “”.

Now you should know whether you should use Pro for your custom URL shortener (if you have) or not. My suggestion is, if it’s free, then use it. If it costs money, you can go for Open Source instead.

Anyway, please try out our 17-character shortened URLs today!