Hallelujah! Choice is a good thing.
HootSuite has always been an effective, reliable and user-friendly Twitter client, but there has been one glaring flaw. For as long as I’ve been using HootSuite (7 months and counting), their ow.ly URL shortener has served up redirects within a frame accompanied by an annoying social bar at the top of the page. Despite this maddening “feature” of HootSuite, I was too attached to the other benefits to make a switch to another Twitter client.
The truth is, I was probably a bit lazy about it. I’ve been intending to switch to TweetDeck for a couple of months now. However, I received an email from the HootSuite team this morning with welcome news. Users now have a choice if they want their redirects to be served without the social bar.
Upon login today, HootSuite is allowing users to choose between their ow.ly and ht.ly URL shorteners. I believe this is a big step for HootSuite because most users I know would prefer to have their redirects served without the social bar. Now that this choice has been offered, I will surely stick with HootSuite until something clearly better comes along.
URL Shortener Choices
Fully loaded URL shortener – Ht.ly
Users wishing to keep the old social bar in their redirects can select the ht.ly URL option. Although HootSuite would lead you to believe this to be the better option, I expect most users will get rid of the social bar when given the choice.
Lightweight URL shortener – Ow.ly
Users wishing their redirects to act like most other URL shorteners (such as bit.ly) should select the ow.ly URL option which is interestingly the default choice. This leads me to believe HootSuite had enough complaints and/or users leaving the service to actually push this option.
Custom URL shortener – Ow.ly Pro
In the event you would like to have your own custom short URL, HootSuite will soon be offering a service called Ow.ly Pro. This offers you the option to bring your own vanity URL to their service for “branding and style points”. To be notified when Ow.ly Pro is available, simply visit HootSuite’s sign-up form.
I’m expecting this change to be well-received by those in social media circles – especially since the new option still tracks clicks. HootSuite is almost always listed as one of the top Twitter clients and now they have just eliminated their biggest weakness. I applaud their decision to offer a choice even though it will likely harm revenue in the short-term.