It was bound to happen sooner or later; with the sheer number of URL shorteners out there, Tr.im is shutting down. After failing to achieve the popularity that would guarantee it a revenue, or at least more funding, the service has thrown down the gauntlet saying it can't compete with Bit.ly, the shortening service integrated by Twitter, no matter how good its product is. Nambu Networks, the company behind Tr.im, will focus on Nambu, its social app for Mac OS and the iPhone.
“tr.im did well for what it was, but, alas, it was not enough. We simply cannot find a way to justify continuing to work on it, or pay its network costs, which are not inconsequential. tr.im pushes (as I write this) a lot of redirects and URL creations per day, and this required significant development investment and server expansion to accommodate,” the post announcing the closure read. “[I]n summary, there is simply no point in continuing to operate or work on tr.im, and we are moving on to greener pastures.”
Tr.im was in fact pretty popular, with nearly 1 million unique visitors per month and tens of thousands of new links per day. But the rising costs associated with the service and with no revenue stream in sight Nambu decided to cut its costs early and give up a losing fight. The biggest reason though was Bit.ly's success, due in no small part to its close relationship with Twitter.
Bit.ly is the default URL shortening service on Twitter and there are rumors that it may even be acquired by the company at some point. Other similar services have tried to make do by partnering (paying) third-party Twitter desktop or mobile client developers to have their product as the default URL shortener but this only works for getting more traffic not more money.
All links currently shortened with Tr.im will continue to work until at least December 31, 2009 after which time Nambu doesn't say what will happen to them, likely because it doesn't know either. They may just die out altogether or some competitor may buy the product. This really brings out an inherent problem with this type of services, which have seen their fair share of criticism already, namely that your links aren't safe – if and when a URL shortener shuts down all the links may just die with it.