Thursday, August 20, 2009

Own Your Links: Adjix Link Bucket Backup

Backstory: &
This year, two URL shorteners have closed up operations with some spectacular publicity. Earlier this year, the owner of was sentenced to three years in prison and links stopped working. Additionally, over the past 10 days, TechCrunch ran many stories about closing down.

Community Solutions
In response to's news, announced which is an independent URL mapping directory service. Adjix has joined 301Works in our efforts to battle broken links, also known as link rot.

Independently, Adjix deployed a new feature, this past week, to help stop link rot. We don't have an official name for this feature yet, but we currently refer to it as the Adjix Link Bucket Backup.

Link Ownership and Branding
This new Adjix feature now gives you a tremendous amount of flexibility. For starters, you can use your own domain name, in the link, in place of or If you name your S3 bucket then your links can look like

Peer Review
We're proud to say that our technique has been peer reviewed by at least one official member of the Digirati, Dave Winer, who was recently proclaimed as "the biggest innovator of the web" by another Digirati member, John C. Dvorak.

The Adjix Link Bucket Backup process is simple: When you shorten a link with Adjix, we will save a working copy of the link to your Amazon S3 bucket.

Adjix charges nothing for this service. However, your monthly storage and bandwidth charges from Amazon might be about $0.10/month. Yes, Amazon will really bill you as little as a nickel or a dime each month.

How To Do It?
1. Create an Amazon S3 bucket and name it with your sub-domain (i.e.

2. Share your bucket with Adjix so we can save a copy of each link that you create with us. Step-by-step instructions for doing this are here:

3. Log into your Adjix account and click Edit Profile. At the bottom, just enter the name of your bucket.

4. Optional: If you want to use your domain's root name (i.e. instead of a sub-domain (i.e. then you'll have to use your registrar's domain name forwarding option (see paragraph entitled Domain Name Forwarding) and forward your domain to The reason for this is that DNS doesn't not allow a domain's root to point to a CNAME - it must be an A Record.

You have two options for hosting your links. You can choose to point your sub-domain's CNAME to and Adjix will track stats for you. Or, you can set your sub-domain's CNAME to and the links will be served up directly from your S3 bucket.

Here are four, live, examples. I encourage you to curl and dig them (UNIX commands).

Basic, shortened, Adjix link.
Traffic stats collected by Adjix.

Shortened link with CNAME for pointing to
Traffic stats collected by Adjix.

Shortened link with CNAME for pointing to S3 bucket named
Traffic stats logged by S3 bucket logging.

Shortened link with registrar domain name forwarding to
Traffic stats logged by S3 bucket logging.

Your links are portable and any URL shortening service could serve up your redirects since your bucket is now the data store. In other words, 301 redirects are possible since any third party can read the links from your bucket, parse out the meta-refresh URL, tally the stats, and redirect the client's browser to the destination URL. While this may sound time consuming, this process only needs to be done once so the link can be copied to the third party's database.

No Worries
If Adjix closes up shop (which we do not intend to!), your links live on inside your bucket and they continue to work as they redirect people to their destination.

Link Portability
Since you now own your links, you'll have the freedom to move from one URL shortener to another, provided that they support this simple technique. Additionally, your users won't even be aware of which link shortening service you're using since your shortened links will be branded with your own domain name.

Stats Road Map When Serving Links Directly From Your Bucket
You can turn on your S3 bucket logging to track raw stats if you choose to serve up your links directly from your S3 bucket instead of Adjix. Also, we're researching how effective it will be to include your Google Analytics (Urchin) code in the link when we store it in your S3 bucket. If this option works as anticipated then you'll have full access to your link's stats in Google Analytics.

Feedback welcomed!

Joe Moreno

Friday, August 14, 2009

Adjix Joins

Adjix has joined the project which was announced this morning.

301Works is a project which ensures that shortened URLs can live on in case the company providing the link shrinking service goes out of business.

TechCrunch has been covering this topic all week - ever since announced their plans to turn off their link shrinking service:

Mashable's coverage of this announcement made it to the front page of Digg:

You can find the full press release here: