301Works.Org is an initiative started by the Internet Archive to preserve shortened URLs. Thanks to Twitter (and email and other uses to a lesser extent) URL shorteners are widely used to reduce long URLs to much shorter versions using any number of shortening services.

But what happens when one of those URL shorteners shut down? Suddenly, all of those links stop working? 301Works.Org is trying to cover that base by archiving the URL mappings of shortening services — so it knows that what long URL a shortened URL points to and other can use for reference if the URL shortener ever shuts down. In addition, if any service that is part of 301Works.Org every shuts down, they may end up having 301Works.Org take over handling redirects,

Participating companies will provide regular backups of their URL mappings to the 301Works.org service.  In the event of the closure of a participating organization, technical control of the shortening service domain will be transferred to 301Works.org in order to continue redirecting existing shortened URLs to their intended destinations.

That’s probably just good business sense. Companies joining in this can advertise that even if they should have to shut down at some point, the URLs their users shorten will go on working.

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