Ow.ly is a URL shortener tool that allows users to quickly create a conveniently short URL to share through email, social networks or anywhere else on the web. Users can also submit their contact information to be added to the Ow.ly API access list. Users can also upload media such as videos, images and documents. Users who also maintain HootSuite accounts can also monitor the stats for each Ow.ly shortened URL they create. The site provides users with a Twitter log in option.Show more screenshots »
Ow.ly was created by HootSuite Media. The company’s main product is its HootSuite social media dashboard. Along with its Ow.ly users, HootSuite Media has provided service for a number of big name clients, including Facebook, Papa John’s Pizza, the Martha Stewart Show, TED, Oxfam International, BET, Canhas Cheez Burger and the Los Angeles Times.
Ow.ly offers a service that is not terribly unique. Many other websites offer URL shortening tools, some even include a few flashy extras. Ow.ly seems focused on keeping things simple by offering a URL shortening tool and a basic uploader. The application may appeal more to some users because of its connection with HootSuite, which allows the user to monitor their shortened URLs. The site also has a stylish, well organized layout that some users may find more appealing compared to other similar applications.
The Ow.ly website welcomes users with an entirely owl theme. The unique logo is seen at the top, center of the homepage in varying shades of brown. The “O” in Ow.ly is egg shaped with a speckled shell coloration. Just below, users can find the URL shortener as well as a Captcha code entry form which must be completed as well. Below that, users can access the uploader for documents, videos and photos. In the upper, right hand corner, users can find a light blue button for Twitter. The HootSuite logo is positioned at the bottom, center of the page and allows the user to visit the HootSuite website.
Ow.ly does not require a separate log in to access its basic tools. Users can log in using their Twitter accounts by clicking the light blue button found on the Ow.ly homepage. Users who do not have a Twitter account (or do not wish to link their account) can enter a URL and fill out the Captcha code in the fields provided at the center of the homepage. After clicking the white “Shrink It” button, the user is given access to their shortened URL. Users must log in to access the file uploader.
Ow.ly is available to everyone at no cost. This is definitely a good thing considering how many free URL shortener applications are already out there. The user can shorten as many URLs as they want. Users can also access their shortened URL stats through a HootSuite account, which is available for free or as one of four premium paid memberships. A HootSuite account is not required to use Ow.ly.
Ow.ly is a helpful tool for anyone who wants to quickly shorten a URL. The application is very basic, but works effectively. The layout and color scheme are also appealing and allow the user to quickly generate their shortened URL. As a standalone shortening service there are better options available with tracking features. Ow.ly is mostly used in combination with HootSuite.