Over the past five years that Twitter and Facebook has shaped the internet; URL shortening services have been springing to life all over the web. With the web there is always 3 things you can always count on, 1: There will be downtime, 2: It is never secure, and 3: roll a die, if you get 1-3, chances are the guy you’re talking to is a scammer.

Scammers make horrific use of these URL shortening services by masking their URL to URL detection services like your email provider’s spam protection software which means it cannot see that there is a link in your email for “www.somebank.com” yet, the real link is “www.somebank.com.somewebhost.com” or “www.somehost.com/www.somebank.com”. Most email protection software can pick right up on this and alert you as soon as you open it, “THIS EMAIL APPEARS TO BE A SCAM!”. However when every other service out there is using URL shortening and not getting popped by the spam filters as scams, they caught on!

Cl.gs is trying to do something about this by instead of a 503 redirect, they’re actually sending you to a mini-page of the site, showing the site’s screenshot and letting you know if there are any potential dangers in with that site. Many of the URL shortening services out there are going to have to adopt this method or people are going to start holding them responsible for scams.