URL shorteners became very popular with social media users, particularly users of Twitter. A URL shortener is helpful because it can allow a user to have a longer message if the shortened link is fewer than the 23 characters an automatically shortened link uses (Twitter automatically shortens links to 23 characters with its T.CO links).
From what I have noticed, there are many ccTLD domain names that are used by companies and individuals to act as URL shorteners. Some of these are “branded” shorteners such as Read.bi (Business Insider), NYTI.ms (New York Times), Goo.gl (Google), CNN.it (CNN), ES.pn (ESPN) and NYP.st (NY Post) to name a few. There are also shortener services such as Bitly and X.co to name a couple. Many smaller websites also use their own url shorteners to give them more room for their tweet messages.
According to an article on Bloomberg Technology (Bloom.bg), Twitter plans to stop counting links in its 140 character limit: “The social media company will soon stop counting photos and links as part of its 140-character limit for messages, according to a person familiar with the matter.”
I think this could impact the value of domain names that are used as url shorteners. If a long url is no longer taking at least 23 characters from a tweet, there really is no need to manually shorten the url. If that is the case, why use a short, otherwise meaningless, url for sharing links socially? I don’t see a major reason for them besides this. Perhaps they will be used to eliminate very long unembedded links, but besides that, I don’t see a big reason for them.
I don’t believe this is going to have an impact on independently valuable short domain names, but I could see it having an impact on those whose only value is in the short url that can be shared via social media (for instance, I doubt the NY Times will use NYTI.ms if they don’t need to shorten their urls anymore).