I just got an email and the person sending it was promoting (spamming) a product but I was curious about what it was.
After my recent virus after opening a Google Alert email I did not want to look at the URL direct, so I Googled a solution
How To View TinyURL’s Without Visiting the Website
The solution is provided by http://longurl.org/. There are some browser based URL lengtheners and TinyURL have a cookie thing that allegedly makes URLs long again, these require the URL to be on a webpage (mostly used for Twitter really). No good if you get one on an email.
Here is an example (using a TinyURL I just made, not the one that triggered this little bit of fun):
Long URL not only tells you where the short URL goes to, it displays each step along the way and provides a small image preview of the site.
The only criticism is that the preview is a bit too small to really work out what the site is about.
The URL I was emailed redirected first to a shopping cart, then to a tracking domain, and finally to an affiliate page for weight loss eBooks. I can only assume that the person sending the email either thought I would buy the product or give them some exposure on my own website.
Anyway, there you go. An excellent service.
Ideally Avast! or one of the other Anti-Virus outfits should provide something like this to check a URL before you visit. Now there is an idea!