TinyURL Whacking

By Deane Barker on October 28, 2003

TinyURL whacking: We talked about URL shortening services several months ago, but thius guy takes the cake for boredom-induced activities.

“Now, the other day, I realised that what was particularly interesting about tinyurl is that you can predict what URLs it gives to other people. All the URLs it gives out are combinations of one, two or three lowercase letters and numbers. If, as you’d expect, it’s programmed to serve the shortest ones first, then (given that it’s now generating three-letter codes) all the two-letter codes must already have been generated.

So if you pick one or two letters or numbers, you can jump to a random page which someone found interesting fairly recently.”



  1. I clicked over to the other link of yours from July on this subject.

    This is interesting considering that mathematically speaking these URLs can still stay relatively small, even if a significant number of URLs are entered into it.

    As for the services going under once too many people use it, and thus rendering millions or billions of broken links around the web? That’s a very real problem. Easy for search engines to just ignore the URL, but that’s still a lot of broken URLs, if that does happen someday.

    One could fairly easily program their own tiny URL scheme and make it easier on their surfers sharing URLs.

  2. If you like TinyURL, you might also want to check out http://traceurl.com

    TraceURL shortens any URL plus it tracks traffic to the page through the TraceURL shortened web site address, showing where the traffic originated. Count accesses and have the origin of the visitor displayed on a Google Map.

Comments are closed. If you have something you really want to say, tweet @gadgetopia.