One thing I’ve noticed in various junk marketing emails I’ve received lately is that email marketers have started using tiny URLs in their email messages. A tiny URL is basically a URL that is routed through another service that knows what the actual URL is supposed to be and directs the visitor to the right page. The reason for the service is that it can take a URL that is very long and complex and transform it into something MUCH shorter in terms of total characters.
Now, tiny URLs have value when doing something like micro-blogging, where the total number of characters you have to convey your message is very limited. For instance, if you are using Twitter, where you are limited to 140 characters, it is not practical to place a long link in your message because it will take up so much room. So you can use a tiny URL and leave yourself with many more characters.
The downside of tiny URLs is that they mask where the links actually go. In today’s dangerous Internet world, where criminal robots, spyware and viruses abound, you just can’t go around clicking on strange links when you don’t know where you might end up. So why, when character limitation is not an issue, would you HIDE where you are linking to? In my opinion, this is very suspicious. Personally, I will NEVER click on a link in an email if I can’t see where the link goes, unless it is from a very trustworthy source who I know personally. Otherwise…forget about it.
I’m probably not the only person who feels this way. So…if you are doing email marketing, my advice is to make your links transparent. Otherwise, it seems like you are trying to hide something. and I would just bet that your email marketing performance will suffer.