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StumbleUpon's URL shortener Su.pr impresses [invites]

Shortening URLs is all the rage right now. The newest entrant is StumbleUpon with its Su.pr service which both shortens big links, and cross posts to its 8 million users.

StumbleUpon's new link shortening site called Su.pr made its public (yet private) launch today. Similar to Bit.ly, it shortens URLs and lets users track where they end up, along with stats on who's clicked on them. It also brings along StumbleUpon's software-free toolbar which lets users hop to both recommended and random links.

However, the real appeal of Su.pr is that it gives each shortened URL the potential for greatness. URLs can be seeded not only to Twitter and Facebook, but also into StumbleUpon's content pool where they can be discovered and promoted by its users. Just like Digg's much loved and hated URL shortening service, this system brings the promise of a longtail from your link showing up as a related item. But in Su.pr's case, the goal isn't to get on the front page as much as it is to become a site that users are recommended to visit, or discover through organic ratings.

Su.pr lets you post links at a later date if you don't feel like shortening something right away. You can also track activity on links after you've shared them with the public. CNET

Compared to Bit.ly, Su.pr's stats tracking tools are a little more basic. It doesn't grab things like metadata from the URL's source site, or pick up all the places where the link has been re-posted. Although it shows you how many times your link has been re-tweeted on Twitter, and given a rated review on StumbleUpon. It also breaks down traffic sources into two sets of data. One is for the people who click on the link from outside of StumbleUpon. The other is for organic traffic from the site.

In my brief test of the service earlier today, all of my traffic came from outside sources. But if you're a heavy StumbleUpon user with lots of friends on the service, this can be a good way to figure out where those clicks are coming from.

Su.pr has also got some really smart tools for publishers. The first is a way to publish shortened URLs at a later date and time. So say I have a story that's going up in two hours. I can grab that URL before it's live, shorten it, and set it to post to Twitter, Facebook, and StumbleUpon the second it goes live.

Soon it will also let publishers use the shortening service while maintaining domain branding. So instead of using su.pr/XXX, I could set it up to use cnet.com/XXX. It will also be able to be inserted into your site's code, so that each URL you link to is automatically shortened. It does this while maintaining a special domain re-direct that allows search engines to pick up on those source links, even though they've been shortened.

When released, these extra features will set Su.pr apart from the rest of the pack. In the meantime, it's a pretty snappy URL shortener that, like the DiggBar, makes it easy to share links with what is potentially a very large audience with little effort.

If you're interested in using Su.pr ahead of when it opens up to everyone, you can sign up using the invite code suprww. There are only 250, so get 'em while they're hot.