Death of Cli.gs

21 06 2010

I hate to state it, but it seems the most popular and effective URL shortening and redirection service on the Web – “Cli.gs” popularly known as just “Cligs” has died an untimely death. Unfortunately, this also means that you won’t be able to access this blog using the short and cute “cli.gs/vfeels” URL.

The Cli.gs service encountered it’s first blow last October, when it’s then owner announced that he is unable to support the service further and is open for an acquisition offer. The news had created a furore among the many users of the service, some even willing to form a collaborative fund raiser to save it from going kaput.

Here’s the original blog entry posted in October 2009:


Cligs Shutting Down

It is with great sadness that I have to shut down Cligs. On Sunday, 25 Oct 2009 at 12:00:00 GMT, the service will stop accepting new short URLs and will stop logging analytics.

The forwarding data will be retained so that forwarding can continue for at least till the end of November; after that, there are no guarantees as to how long the service will continue to forward the short URLs to their destinations.

Shortly (in a few days), I’ll be deploying a mechanism to export your data. It is almost done and just needs a bit more testing before I’m comfortable releasing it.

Why Now?
There isn’t a short answer to this as there are lots of interacting factors. Here is what I can tell you:

•Short URLs are a feature, and are definitely not a business on their own. This assertion is fact in my mind given what I’m seeing in the market and what my customers and users are saying. There comes a point when you need to actually hear the message the market is telling you, and not just listen and ignore it. This is the core reason.
•Cligs is a big service (for some definition of big). It has tens of thousands of registered user accounts, and does tens of millions of forwards a month. Not bad for a one man show doing this on the side. However, a service this size requires customer support, which is time. It’s not much time in absolute terms (an hour a day usually), but again, for me, it’s a context switch I can do without.
•I have a nice plan for how to add premium features on top of offering short URLs. When I look at that plan as a business, it’s quite separate from a short URL play. Building on what I have now, and integrating the two might work but will require a lot of effort (i.e. time) that I cannot afford to give. This is the other major reason.
•Finally, it all costs some money. It’s a bit of money out of pocket every month. By necessity, the Cligs architecture is extremely efficient for what it does.

Any questions or feedback in the comments below, or contact me privately.


Fortunately, the users got a breath of relief, though for a short while only when the service was acquired by one of the leading social bookmarking services on the net – Mister Wong (www.mister-wong.com) in October 2009 itself. After the acquisition, there was a sigh of relief by the users and it was thought that the site will continue as it was acquired by a much stable owner.

However, the many users of cli.gs were in for a rude shock recently when the service went offline exactly one week back i.e. on 14th June 2010 without any prior notice.

With a URL redirection service which offered free Short URLs together with analytics, social media monitoring and geotargeting, it was favored by professionals and amateurs alike and its a pity it had to close down. It’s outage has left a sour taste in the mouth of millions of users. The outage however just reinforces once again that anything which is free has no reliability or guarantee of staying that way forever on the Web.

Some of the other free URL Redirection and Shortening services which still exist (at the time of writing this) however the fate of which is always indefinite are:

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One response

6 07 2010
Vick$

Update as of 28th June 2010:
Cli.gs has resumed it’s service, however it has started redirecting the users to an irksome preview site first and then to the actual website once the user approves it.

Cli.gs has cited privacy and security concerns for the same.

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