Saf.li, a URL shortener put out by Internet security software Bit Defender, won't help take the mystery meat out of using a shortened URL, but it will assure that whatever lies behind door number two is safe from viruses, phishing scams and other malicious content.If links using URL shorteners give you the heebie-jeebies then a new entry into the URL shortening field should help take care of your hesitations.
Saf.li provides the standard features you might expect of any URL shortener, including basic analytics showing how many clicks a shortened link has gotten over different periods of time. It also shows where users are clicking from, referrers and tweets referencing the shortened link. The analytics are simple but provide a basic level of information for tracking how much a link is getting passed around.
Put simply, Saf.li uses Bit Defender to scan all of the links before providing a shortened URL, checking for viruses, phishing scams and malicious Java Script. For those who decide that this sort of security is what they want to offer to the people they share links with, Saf.li offers a bookmarklet to make sharing using Saf.li easy. The service also offers an SDK for complete software integration.
While the idea of scanning links before giving a short URL sounds like a great idea, it seems like it means little unless it becomes the default. We would rather see this functionality brought into existing and popular link shorteners than adding yet another shortener to the mix. Afterall, we're not going to stop clicking on other shortened links. Until Saf.li offers all of the features of other shorteners plus link scanning, we think it will remain a bit of a novelty.