03|04|2010 02:44 pm EDT
National Public Radio now count themselves as having the tiniest shortened URL for use on Twitter and other social media sites. The organization announced their new domain N.PR yesterday on their blog. The company had been using Stumble Upon’s Su.pr url shortener on most of their Twitter accounts. NPR will continue using npr.org as their main site address and begin shortening all their URLs in-house with the n.pr domain.
From the blog
I know what you are thinking… Isn’t npr.org short enough? Normally, yes, but Twitter only allows messages to contain 140 characters. Shorter URLs are better since they give users more room to add their own thoughts in a tweet. So when we had the opportunity to acquire n.pr – .pr is the top-level domain for Puerto Rico – we couldn’t pass it up.
With tweets limited to 140 characters, using the shortest possible URL to link in to your site seems to be gaining popularity. For example, Facebook recently created FB.me , Google has Goo.gl and there are even services like Yourls that help you set up your own URL shortening service.
Having a single letter domain in a top level ccTLD like this does make NPR stand out. I imagine more large content sites, news organizations and publications will be look at this option in the future.
Update : While others in the comments below have mentioned other 4 character URLs that match NP.R as having the shortest URL, my co-editor pointed out a story we covered in December about .TO which is claiming to be the shortest URL-shortener available. The only problem with their service is browser requirements which make the url in to http://to./yff , adding http:// and putting the period after the extension and don’t work with some browsers. Comments in the previous post also point out that www.to and .to are separate entities, which means a mistype could end you up at a different site altogether. Talk about confusing ! I’d stick with the short URLs that seem to work across all browsers