I just noticed this afternoon that TechCrunch’s tweets used “tcrn.ch” as a tinyurl domain, and I thought it was an awesome idea: the ultimate branding, and no more relying on an external service to be around when people want to click a link. (The Twitter crowd still remembers the great crisis when tinyurl.com was down a week or two ago. Who am I kidding? The Twitter crowd remembers nothing that happened more than 24 hours ago.)
Well, in TechCrunch’s case, it turns out to be the exact opposite: completely stupid. They’re paying an external service (or using that paid service for free in exchange for today’s article) and leaving the domain in their care (assuming they did buy it themselves, at least) — so that, instead of relying on tinyurl’s reliability, they’re relying on someone else’s.
It’s not like it’s difficult to add a tinyurl system to your blog (when you’re TechCrunch, or you’re an individual geek). Why would someone go so far out of their way to relinquish control over their URLs?