Why Use Hootsuite? No Really, Why?

Is there a compelling reason to use Hootsuite?


Anyone who has been on Twitter for more than 2 minutes will have seen links being shared with various URL shorteners. Among them they might also see Hootsuite’s ow.ly and ht.ly shortened links. ow.ly links should redirect them to the original url whereas ht.ly links will take them to the original url wrapped in an iframe. It’s this iframe that I really don’t get, why does anyone use it?

The ht.ly iframe offers no real functionality to the end user, the ability to tweet or social bookmark is given on most sites now. Hootsuite’s user base of just over 1,000,000 is not big enough for the voting buttons to be really interesting. What about StumbleUpon’s su.pr toolbar you ask? Well, StumbleUpon have a user base of 13,500,000 whose main interest is in thumbing content up or down… different kettle of fish.

On top of that there are security concerns with using iframes to wrap content.

Features of Hootsuite

I know Hootsuite has various features which are great for social media consultants, managers and “gurus”. Hootsuite offers analytics, team working, scheduled tweets and a raft of other things that, whilst not exclusive to Hootsuite, are incredibly helpful to the professional user.

Why, of all people, these users use insist on using the ht.ly shortener is utterly beyond me. Shouldn’t they know better?

Or am I an arse? Have I got it wrong? Is there a compelling reason to use Hootsuite’s ht.ly service?

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  1. Well said sir.

    It’s a right royal pain in the arse when you like a link but the iframe won’t let you bookmark it to Delicious or trunk.ly or whatever.

    It makes Hootsuite feel like a tool for people who want to track you for personal ends rather than for people who want to be a valuable member of the ecosystem.



  2. Thanks for stopping by Phil,

    There is a way that Hootsuite have allowed sharing, within the bar you need to click on the icon that looks like the Swiss flag and then click on delicious for example…


    There’s a much better way, if you right click inside the actual content and select “Open frame in new tab” or similar you will also get rid of the iframe and have the actual content available to do whatever you like with.

    Personally I always do this before RTing any ht.ly links which, of course, has the unfortunate side effect of breaking the tracking for whoever posted it – but true professionals will be tracking on an original URL as opposed to a shortened URL anyway.

    Hootsuite also have a “Always hide the ow.ly social bar on this machine” social bar – haha option, but it’s cookie based so really it only works if you always use the same browser and never delete your cookies.

  3. I always did fing the ow.ly iframe a pain.

    but I have to say I am a fan of the hootsuite web client… it is awesome for managing multiple accounts all on the same screen.

  4. Cheers Dave,

    absolutely agree on the web client, but find it impossible to think of a reason for the iframe…

    Is there nobody who uses the iframe who can tell us WHY?

  5. Thanks for stopping by Colin :)

    The ht.ly links really make no sense at all, do they? What I really don’t get though is the amount of social media agencies & consultants who use ht.ly, they should know better shouldn’t they? Also interesting that nobody, so far, seems willing to say why they use ht.ly

  6. It’ll be to do with how they gather, package and sell data on social traffic and attribution.

    I imagine there are technical reasons why they would occasionally have to use iFrames to do so – some content such as cookies can only be triggered when presented in the page environment. Which is, of course, why iFrames are a risk in the first place, but in this case is harmless.

  7. Thanks for your comment Phillip!

    I can’t think of any technical reasons for requiring iframes, other than to artificially boost your own traffic and be able to serve ads on the iframe surround… but more than happy to be shown one :)

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