Cnet News: URL-shortening services are abundant and becoming more
so. They’re usually designed with a priority on minimum character
length, not easy reading: Is.gd, Bit.ly, Twurl.nl, Tr.im, Sn.im”, Cligs,
So what’s new now? First, Twitter, and second, shortening URLs is becoming an actual business–notably at present through the addition of "analytics” features that can let those who use the service see data about how many people clicked on links, when, where they’re located, and the Web page where they found the shortened link.
One of the problems with short URLs is knowing what you’re getting into when you click them. Is that link really the fun video of the guy tripping into the lake, or is it site that will spam you or attempt to install malware? Is it really a warning from your bank about a bad transaction, or is it a phishing attack to try to fool you into parting with your password?
Clicking many regular URLs involves a leap of faith, to be sure, but not being able to see a "youtube.com” or "bankofamerica.com” name because it’s masked by a short URL makes that leap even longer.
Read here for more of cnet’s insightful article on the URL shortening trend.