An email is going out to all Twitter users about changes that are taking place. Nothing new about that – I just updated an iPhone app and had to first say I had read and understood 55 new pages of iTunes terms. Yeh – right. But THESE Twitter changes may reduce the control of sophisticated Internet Marketers – especially those using url shorteners of their own or anyone else’s. Here’s what Twitter are saying:

“When you click on a wrapped link, your request will pass through the Twitter service to check if the destination site is known to contain malware, and we then will forward you on to the destination URL. All of that should happen in an instant.

“You will start seeing these links on certain accounts that have opted-in to the service; we expect to roll this out to all users by the end of the year. When this happens, all links shared on Twitter.com or third-party apps will be wrapped with a t.co URL.

Why is it that whenever someone does something clearly in their own interests, they pretend it’s something about “security” or “Transparency”? This clearly is neither. By forcing the links through their own URL shortener, I put it to you that far from REMOVING the threat of malware, they infact ARE Malware, because they have now created a link which – at any time in the ftrure – they can amend and tamper with. Surely that’s pretty much the definition of malware? Anyway – that’s not the point for Internet Marketers. The point is that I already noticed previously that Twitter gave preferential treatment in its own search algorithm to Bit.ly over other URL shorteners. Now they are taking it one step further, by entirely owning the URL.

This could even lead to a new financial model for Twitter. Status Updates using the t.co link may or may not stay around for long… now much do you want to pay to keep the link? How much to have it 301? as a Nofollow? Do you want to pay per click? Do you want to count the clicks by country, by day parting, by user?

Now I can absolutely see why Twitter would do this. It makes sense. The URL is as short as it can be, it improves branding (a bit) and it gives Twitter more CONTROL. Just don’t pretend, Twitter, that it’s all about the user. That’s rubbish.