The purchase of WP.com by Matt Mullenweg has drawn a little – just a little – attention in the press. It is pretty significant considering that URLs this short should not be available at this juncture of Internet history and of course because Mullenweg is the owner-developer of the popular blogging platform WordPress.
Ryan Imel wrote a blog post about what Matt and his gang could do with WP.com. One of the suggestions is to use it as an URL shortening service for WordPress.com users. It’s not a bad idea except that short URL have one glaring negative about them. The don’t pass any link juice to the final destination.
Now if you are shortening your URL for Twitter that’s a moot point because Twitter doesn’t pass link juice. But if you ping your profile and you have links pointing back to your domain then that’s an issue. In my view, the best use of short URLs is in cloaking affiliate IDs. You really don’t care if you don’t pass link juice to websites which you are an affiliate of. You just want to provide your visitors with a link to click so that you can get a commission. But on URLs point into your website, you want to get as much credit for those as you can and if they are cloaked as short URLs that won’t happen.
One possibility could be that Automattic takes WP.com and turns it into an URL shortening service that can be used to shorten WordPress.com URLs and URLs of blogs hosted by the WordPress.org software. However, they’d have to ensure that any link juice that flows to such links actually pass link juice to their users. If not, then it’s a bad idea. Do something else.