Bitly, a URL “shortening” service and link management platform, has reportedly blocked all links associated with distributed systems expert, Andreas Antonopoulos’ book titled “Mastering Ethereum.”
Hey @Bitly,— Andreas M. Antonopoulos (@aantonop) November 3, 2018
Why are you blocking https://t.co/9gk4wWPQnN links to crypto-currency sites?
I'm about to publish my 4th book and it has about 200 https://t.co/9gk4wWPQnN links in it. If you are going to block links, I will need to remove all 200 and replace them with a competitor https://t.co/Xg4FkemcA7
200 Links To "Mastering Ethereum" Get Blocked
Antonopoulos, a well-known and highly respected Bitcoin (BTC) maximalist, publicly addressed the issue with Bitly, a New York-based privately held firm. There were about 200 links related to Antonopoulos’ new book that had been blocked, according to various social media users.
Expressing his frustration over the links not opening, Antonopoulos noted via Twitter: “I’m about to publish my 4th book and it has about 200 http://bit.ly links in it. If you are going to block links, I will need to remove all 200 and replace them with a competitor.”
The bitcoin advocate also asked Bitly why it had been blocking access to cryptocurrency related websites. Twitter user Wagner Santana (@wagnersantana74) pointed out that the links Antonopoulos had provided were perfectly safe as they did not direct users to “any harmful location.”
Founded in 2008, Bitly helps users shorten an average of 600 million links per month. These are mainly used by people sending text messages, or sharing links via social media outlets and email.
"Not Your Shortener, Not Your Link"
Twitter user, Steve Blackwood (@Bluesplinter), told Antonopoulos that he should not “rely on Bitly or ANY shortener service.” He explained that “they are all a single point of failure”, and it is similar to not owning the private keys to your digital assets, meaning “not your keys, not your bitcoin” and “not your shortner, not your link.”
Wagner also questioned why a large publishing company (@OReillyMedia) “doesn’t have an in-house solution since so many of their books have links.”
Meanwhile, another person asked why Antonopoulos had been using “proprietary software” to create links for his book because there’s no guarantee that “Bitly will still be alive in 10 years.”
Responding to the comments, Antonopoulos said he had just used the link shortener because it is a “convenience” and that “all the links are also shown expanded (either inline or in an appendix).”
Creating Your Own Program To Shorten Links
Ahmed Herrera (@amhedH) seemed to have the best suggestion out of all the people who commented. He recommended “making a [custom] shortner.” He explained that it would be a “simple ETH contract that collects a small fee on top of gas to gather enough eth to pay for a domain + hosting + node network fees.”
Herrera added that he would start developing the Ethereum (ETH) contract soon.
Update: Bitly reached out to CryptoGlobe and made the following statment "Recently, we became aware that one of author Andreas M. Antonopoulos' links had been inadvertently blocked. On occasion, as in this case, our security systems generate false positives. Bitly does not categorically block cryptocurrency sites. Once we were alerted to the issue we unblocked the domain."