Why we retired the feedly URL shortener

As part of the feedly web 24 and mobile 24.2 updates, we retired the feedly URL shortener. It felt like the right thing to do for users and makes us a better citizen of the Web.

It is the right thing to do for users, because people who receive those links in emails, SMSs and social media posts will be able to tell by looking at the URL where it leads and who created the content. It will also shave a few hundred milliseconds from the experience of loading the links (one fewer redirect).

By sharing the canonical URL, we also allow other apps and search engines to leverage metadata about the content being shared and offer a better, richer experience. We also empower users to more effectively promote their favorite voices.

All the existing links will continue to perform an HTTP redirect to make sure that no links are broken.

There would be no feedly without the power and openness of the Web. We are going to be more careful going forward to respect and re-enforce what makes the Web the incredible medium it is.

Happy reading.

/@edwk

Author: @feedly

Read more. Know more.

91 thoughts on “Why we retired the feedly URL shortener”

      1. Not sure I noted an actual suggestion given, but I appreciate your diplomatic response. I’m quite happy to pay for pro as feedly does everything I want it to and does it “snappily” on all my devices.

    1. Works just fine for me. Very responsive on 2 computers, 1 chromebook, 3 tablets and 1 smartphone. I really like being able to dip into my Feedly world on any device and pick up where I left off on some other device.

      1. Feedly works great for me on my Android Phone and my PC. On my ipad 1st generation, unfortunately it crashes a lot. In fact, it crashes every time I try loading a website. But I still love it having all my websites in one place. Maybe a setting so we can open a website in the browser of choice?

    2. Feedly works perfect for me in ios 8, windows 7 32 and 64bit and ubuntu 14.04. Thank you feedly for being the perfect google reader substitute. Keep up the good work.

  1. URL shorteners were really convenient for Twitter and vanity URLs. Since Twitter introduced their own shortener (and use it whether you like it or not), there’s little reason to have them and, as you point out in the post, a few good reasons not to have them.

  2. Nice move team Feedly! Thank you for being a good web citizen. Hopefully more apps will follow your lead.

  3. Now if you could just come up with the feedly login like you promised up Pro users months and months and months ago.

    1. Considering that they deleted the “Google Authentication Error [IN PROGRESS]” post from October 22 because comments brought up the subject of Feedly login I don’t think it’s very likely.

        1. So if we want to discuss cutting the tires to Google and get a Feedly login we should do that on Google. That’s brilliant!

          Consider this statement from December 16, 2013

          “We know that some users would like to use different sign-ins so we are working on a feedly login, a facebook login, a twitter login and a wordpress login. More on this in 2014.”

          followed by endless backtracking statements about your “roadmap”.

          So what would be the point of discussing this Google+?

          The most disturbing thing about this is your dishonesty.

          1. Feedly is a small team. We delivered twitter login, facebook login, evernote login and microsoft login in 2014. Building a feedly login with recovery, two-factor authentication, etc.. is 2-3 months of work. We have not found the resources to invest in that project yet.

            The biggest misconception people have is that by login with login X their reading behavior becomes accessible to X (where X is Google, Facebook, X). This is simply not accurate. What you read is your private garden. Feedly has never shared any user information with anyone and we have no intention to do so. We have many years of service to prove that we believe in privacy and we are funded by our community so everyone’s interests are aligned.

          2. Jesus man, you that invested? Build your own damn system. They’ve got places to voice concerns, they’ve got things to do, building a logon platform is a HUGE amount of work and honestly I’d rather they used a trusted secure method rather than write their own. If you disagree that’s fine, but you let them make it in their time, not in yours.

            1. All the issue with storing logins is hard work and security is constantly an issue to be dealt with.

              OAuth 2 is simply the best thing that happened to small company that do not want nor need to implement all the security requirements needed to login.

            2. Whats the point of your comments? He is pointing out something that is important to him and that there was a plan to move in that direction some time ago.

              I don’t understand the point of asking someone if they are “that invested” and then ranting in the same way that someone “that invested” would.

              Cheers

  4. As I remember, short urls were necessary at a time, when a lot of urls containing &=+” showed up in blog-comments or other site-content. These weren’t interpreted by the browser, and resulted in broken lines, and thus links. You had to copy line by line into the url-bar to get to the site. With clean urls nowadays, better link-interpretation in browsers and e-mail-clients this problem seems solved.

  5. OT: Got the automatically updated Feedly app on my iOS 7.x iPad mini (didn’t now I had that switch on), really don’t like the outline icons so far, please make them “filled” again, or even beter user-switchable.

    Thanks

  6. Now, when are you going to make capital letters work with hotkey commands (J vs j)? Been asking about this on Twitter for over a year. It’s a 2 second fix (adding new invocation keys it to a few lines of code) – ETA on this bugfix?

    1. What’s the bug there? There are already several Feedly keyboard shortcuts with different commands for lowercase vs. uppercase (J vs. j among them).

  7. I’m pleased about this – url shorteners are still a terrible idea (at least as they are generally done – I’m not against a semantic implementation, but good implementations can’t scale and still maintain usefulness and common discernibility)

  8. Is there a reason, why you retired the sharebar at the bottom of the articles?

    The sharing & tagging options simply disappeared some time ago in my magazine view and I hate to have scrolling back at the top to mark an interesting article with a tag!

    Please bring back the sharebar at the bottom of the articles!

    This is really so annoying!

  9. URLs can get problematically long, especially if you want to tweet them. Still, I like your logic here. A shortened URL is an encrypted url. A canonical URL is informative. In the age of phishing one might want to look at the spelling of a URL pretty closely, but I like your impulse to have URLs, like other things, to be more transparent.

    1. Hi Vanessa. Twitter automatically shortens URLs under the cover using t.co so there are no longer any constraints to the length of URLs being shared and longer URLs do not eat up character counts. -Edwin

  10. That’s a welcomed change though we have been sharing what we find on feedly directly from the parent website itself. URL shorteners can be useful since remembering fewer characters is much easier than remembering long ones however I can’t think of a situation where you would link to an article (whether in an email, blog post, social network, and other types of messaging) and the reader is not able to click on the link itself (rendering URL shorteners moot).

  11. Wow im really impressed, and proud to be a paying member since the shut down of google reader!

    – i

  12. I said it once & I’ll say it again since you guys want to ignore people. Give us the option to remove the slider. Do you have THAT much pride to where your decision is final when there are plenty of people (see your support site) who dislike it?

    It’s crazy. I have a weird brand allegiance with you guys because I came here right after Google Reader shut down. It seemed like you were in a great position to fill their shoes until you guys started screwing with the cards & keep trying to reinvent the wheel. Keep this up though and I’ll go elsewhere because this is ridiculous.

    1. Hi Chris,

      It is not at all about pride. It is just about keeping the code base simple. We have a preference knob to turn off the slider on the title only and the magazine view. On the card view and the featured article of the magazine view, we used to have some old lightbox code. That code was not good and has been removed from the product to keep the codebase clean – so there is not way to enable it.

      I hope this clarifies.

      -Edwin

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