The Canadian Law URL Shortener

Last week I talked about two announcements from Stem Legal: the newly relaunched Canadian Law Blogs directory site and the 2010 Canadian Law Blog Awards a.k.a. the CLawBies now open for nominations. A third announcement came out at the same time which we haven’t yet mentioned: a new URL shortener for the Canadian legal industry, (pronounced “Law Likes”).

Stem is primarily using it to track content being shared from site. Steve Matthews says in the announcement on the Law Firm Web Strategy blog:

The idea is to track which Canadian legal content pieces are getting shared, and we’ve started by building it into the Twitter & Facebook buttons on the new It’s open for others to use in the legal community, but the primarily purpose at this point is to track sharing.

I gave it a try, shortening a link to one of our Slaw posts by plugging in the full URL:

Law Likes screen shot

I like the ability to drag the bookmarketlet to my toolbar for easy use in the future. The only thing I couldn’t see was any sort of tracking that I might use myself (e.g. how many people click on the link), presumably Stem have kept this private for their own tracking. I hope Steve will update us if I have missed anything.

It is kind of fun to have our own URL shortener. I see they have used the tool YOURLS: Your Own URL Shortener to create it.


  1. I expect that the reason Steve described this URL shortening feature essentially as a way of tracking use of is that running an URL shortening service requires server space and the promise to maintain the data for an indefinite time. The fact that he’s using YOURLS takes care of the server space problem but puts the retention issue out of his hands. Of course, et al. pose the same retention issue but your short URLS from them aren’t branded with your product name, the way they are when you use YOURLS.

  2. I also like that our Canadian domain .ca is shorter than .com so quite useful for URL shorteners.

  3. Actually Simon, YOURLS isn’t a service. You download the scripts, install the database, and run it on your own servers. So the database & URL retention issues are squarely in our hands. And yes, the need to address the longevity of URL references is the larger concern. has some initiatives going on that may help, but I want to look at the options for multiple-party backups (besides our own) before taking on the role of link guardian.

    All URL shortening services are risky, in my books anyway. For passing conversations on Twitter & FB, they’re fine; but a direct A HREF to the source is the only citation method that should ever be relied on for any kind of permanence.

    Connie, unfortunately the metrics are locked down. There looks to be an upcoming project at YOURLS to offer user account control though, and we can upgrade when/if that happens.

  4. Thanks for clarifying, Steve!