URL shorteners were all the rage about 15 years ago. The reasons for them were extensive and varied. Email programs had bad limitations at embedding or wrapping pasted URLs, and a URL longer than 70 or 80 characters might break. Some characters didn’t encode properly. Marketers wanted you to click on a link that hid tracking codes—or even type in a very short URL from printed material or a TV ad.
Oh, and text messaging cost by the message, was expensive and limited, and URLs could wrap across more than one message. Even when the message went through, any phone that could open it up used a terrible browser before the iPhone and a handful of Nokias. (Remember WAP, anyone?)