Nik's analysis here is correct -- t.co links will always be 20 characters.
When building a character counter in an application, you'll know that any
pasted URL comprises exactly 20 characters.

Taylor

On Fri, Aug 13, 2010 at 6:55 AM, Nik Fletcher <nik.fletc...@gmail.com>wrote:

> I don't know how Twitter are shortening the URLs.
>
> However. IIRC Twitter's shortener is designed to always use 20
> characters (I believe) so that as developers we can pass in full URLs
> knowing how much space each URL will take up in a tweet and show the
> character count accordingly. Matt / Taylor might be able to comment
> further though.
>
> -N
>
> --
> Nik Fletcher
> @nikf
>
> On Aug 13, 2:17 am, "D. Smith" <emai...@sharedlog.com> wrote:
> > How long has it been since Twitter started their own t.com url
> > shortener? Not sure, but I don't think it's been long enough to
> > shorten over 3.5 trillion urls.
> >
> > Well, I just noticed that the the url "shortened" by t.com was
> > this:http://t.co/5ywZYau
> >
> > So the value is 5ywZYau
> > From what I understand the shorteners work this way (at least this is
> > the most effecient way in order to create as short a url as possible):
> > First you create a new record for url and get the next available
> > numeric id, usually auto increment. Then you use base62 encoding to
> > convert this integer into a string. The result is that you get the
> > shortest possible value consisting of lower and upper case english
> > letters plus 10 numbers, thus a total of 62 chars are used.
> >
> > The number of chars needed to represent a value is 62 x 62 x 62,
> > etc... so the 7 chars-long base 62 string can represent a number over
> > 13 digits long.
> >
> > Ok, so is it really possible for this service to already shorten over
> > a trillion urls? I don't think so. which only means that you are not
> > doing your best to make the shortest possible url. What's the point of
> > registering a one-letter top level domain, going through all the
> > trouble of creating your own service and then not really doing your
> > absolute best to make sure urls are as short as possible. I mean, you
> > could have probably still be using 4, maybe 5 - chars long codes
> > instead of 7, saving potential customers 2 or 3 valuable characters
>

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