April 11, 2009

BurnURL Clarifies Focus In Light of DiggBar Controversy

Digg's new DiggBar is gaining a great deal of negative feedback as many see the URL shortener as reducing publishers' impact on Google and other search engines, giving Digg.com the credit as the new shortened URL is discovered. The debate has been lighting up Techmeme and John Gruber of Daring Fireball has pratically turned over his entire site to link after link decrying the new product. (See also: Ted Dziuba, Danny Sullivan and 3DogMedia)

With this backdrop, ReadBurner's new URL shortner, BurnURL, which similarly to the DiggBar, frames the original articles with a "share bar", explains how they have tried to help both readers and publishers. As author Michael Davis writes:
"One of the changes we recently put live was to remove the Sharebar when we detected the user-agents of Google, Yahoo, MSN and Ask (these four account for the largest portions of search traffic). These crawlers don’t need to see the Sharebar (as they’re not going to interact wtih it), so we don’t need to serve it to them. Instead we feed them a 301 redirect. This tells them the URL that was burned is the original content owner and it should be listed in the index on that topic. Our shortened URL effectively gets ignored."
While I am an advisor to the ReadBurner team, they didn't check in with me on this update (or ask me to write about it), but I'm glad to see they are keeping their eyes open and trying to create a service that benefits users and content sources.

See the full blog post here: FRAMED!: What BurnURL is doing to help out Readers AND Publishers