ShadyURL makes URLs entertainingly suspicious

Link shorteners have had a strong run in the last few years. However, ShadyURL takes the idea of shortening URLs and adds a dash of dark humor.

Josh Lowensohn Former Senior Writer
Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.
Josh Lowensohn
2 min read

Link shortening has become a commonplace on services like Facebook and Twitter. Heck, even Google shortens URLs within its products now. People seem to be getting more used to the idea that shortened URLs, despite not showing you where they lead, are safe. Part of that, is that the companies that are doing the shortening keep blacklists of sites with malware or spyware, to keep people from accidentally visiting sites that will do harm.

Newcomer ShadyURL makes no such claims though. This wonderfully satirical service turns even legitimate URLs into something that even the least tech-savvy friend or family member would know better than to click on. It inserts anything from what appear to be hijacking commands, to profanity and the names of well-known malware. In other words, whomever you send one of these links to is likely to say "there's no way I'm clicking on that," even though it's likely to lead to a safe site.

Here are some of the gems it spit out on some common sites:

Facebook.com became: http://5z8.info/inject_worm_w0x6_open.exe
Twitter.com became: http://5z8.info/hack-outlook_z6t4_warez
Cnet.com became: http://5z8.info/begin-bank-account-xfer_m3y6_whitepower

There are very few extra features beyond using either a long, or Twitter-friendly shortened version of a link. The longer versions usually get you two or three sets of unrelated words that people won't want to click on. You're also able to resubmit the same link over and over to get different results. This differs from some other link shortening services that will just make one version of a shortened URL per site.

At the end of the day this may not be the most useful site, but it should be good for a laugh or two to someone who can take a joke.

(via Reddit)