TinyURL.com shortens URLs into a short, easier-to-type-and-or-remember mini-URLs.
For example, you could try to type or remember “http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0918024765/sr=8-1/ qid=1146407893/ref=pd_bbs_1?_encoding=UTF8” Or you could just use “www.tinyurl.com/exm4pl3” Much better, eh?
Now, in our world of rampant copy-pasting, and handy remember-stuff-for-you sites like del.icio.us, You may think to yourself, “Well, I could just paste it, or save it, I don’t need a shortener.”
How woefully wrong you would be.
Example #1: Availability messages or small posts on facebook, myspace, etc. It’s so ugly and space-wasting to look at a long icky URL. A TinyURL can tidy things up for you, and also save precious characters, when you have limited space to type. See picture.
Eww, you don’t want that! Using http://www.tinyurl.com/hy2c3y is so much better. And far less unsightly. Another good use of this would be giving any sort of weblink to your grandmother over the phone, or to slap on a business card or invitation, etc.
Example #2: Anonymity in Linking. People can’t tell what they’re visiting. So if you’d prefer that someone not know where they’re going until they get there, it’s a good thing. Use this power for good, and not for evil. *waggles finger* -IF you want to provide the person, however, with an assurance that you’re not playing some horrible trick on them, the website does have a feature that will allow the person to preview your link first, to see that it’s legit and as expected, etc. I’ve never used that feature, but TinyURL provides it.
A good scenario, I think, to use the anonymity aspect of this for good would be: You’re teasing someone about being a monkey. They’re taking it well, and getting all exasperated. You and your friends are having a great time. You allow the hullaballoo to die down just a bit, and then send them to TinyURL.com/a7e8y4, claiming it’s a videogame-related website you want them to see. They click on it, and guess what? IT’S A MONKEY WEBSITE! *the crowd goes wild* etc.
So there you have it! More information about the particulars of this service are on the main TinyURL website.