Attention Hoteliers – Beware Of Virus Worms Spreading Through Free URL Shortening Services


Lodging Interactive, an award winning Interactive and Social Media Marketing Agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry, today cautioned hoteliers to not use links generated from free URL shorting services in their marketing materials or their websites.

“Last year we cautioned hoteliers to not use links generated from free URL shortening services in their marketing as these links were increasingly being blocked and filtered out by companies as a result of the rampant abuse, rendering them ineffective,” stated Mr. DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive’s Founder & President. “McAfee® LabsTM recently released their 2011 Threats Predictions report which support our views on why hoteliers should not use the free URL shortening services.”

 The McAfee Labs report states, “We see a growing number of these (free shortening URL services) used for spam, scamming and other malicious purposes.” The report goes on to say, “The trouble and abuse follows because users do not know where these shortened links actually lead until the click them.”

Click here to download the free 2001 Threats Predictions report by McAfee Labs.

Free Link Shortening Services Provide No Support for Hotels

If the aforementioned security concerns don't convince you that free link shortening services are risky, maybe our next point will. What happens to all those free links your created if the free service is "down" or out of business? Who do you call…can you call anyone, or do you have to rely on emailing support? In the meantime, those free short links you created are in your printed ads, emails and in online Twitter, YouTube and Facebook posts! This has all happened before, and it's not pretty. Read: TinyURL Outage Illustrates the Service's Risk. Read: + TinyURL = Fail.


Other Reasons to Never Use Free Link Shortening Services

  • There is no branding. When you see a TinyURL your are clicking blindly. You have no idea what kind of website you're being taken to;
  • Links are forgettable! How do you remember a link like this:;
  • No control over the URL shortening service. Do you trust TinyURL? How long might they be around? What happens if they have a massive data outage tomorrow and all your URLs go to 404 error?

The Right Way For Hotels to Create Short Links enables hotels to effectively and safely create short marketing links and to build online brand equity. More specifically, Link2Brand.

  • is a paid service, thereby eliminating all spam or phishing activities;
  • offers unique branding opportunities with over 20 selectable relevant domain names that relate to hotels and every link created includes the hotel's name;
  • provides real-time click tracking on all links created, enabling link ROI analysis;
  • enables auto-expiring links, which automatically become disabled on a pre-set date managed by the hotel;
  • offers hoteliers an online dashboard to organize and manage all links created;
  • enables the creation of sub-users for each hotel account, allowing for multiple users to share one account;
  • is supported by Lodging Interactive, a multi-million dollar hospitality focused interactive agency.

"Hundreds of hotels worldwide are doing it right and leveraging the power of in their marketing and communications," said Mr. DJ Vallauri. "Furthermore, is a great tool for hotels to use to promote loyalty amongst local businesses and organizations."

Hotel Sales & Marketing Directors can also use to create vanity URL links specifically for local corporate accounts to book reservations without having to remember booking codes or SRP codes.

Interested hoteliers can try Link2Brand for free by visiting