Pet Peeve Number 1
Okay, something bugs me, and it’s somewhat irrational, and somewhat rational. I totally hate really long URLs needed to “verify” that the sign-up is valid. There are more than one type of these, sometimes they are required to continue into the site, sometime just for extra features, but they are more often that not, very long. Now, I don’t like long URLs in general in emails, because there are manyservices which allow you to shorten them for public use. Recently I signed up for 30 boxes and they sent me this monstrosity:
http://30boxes.com/signup.php?action=finishSignup&d=aSDFJKLa43da safjdAL5RLKj4afjrafa45J5kljtyTGJrALKJgFKLsaj5klJ4jkljakljdkalflk fASJKjdfa4r23890fdfjskl342390fakjlei309dk390ujkal39032kd03j9djd9
Okay, so lets look at this rationally for a bit. How many unique strings can they have from that huge behemoth of an identifier. There are 145 characters. They are using the entire uppercase (26), lowercase (26) and numbers (10), so there are a total of 62 unique symbols for each spot. That gives us a total of 62145 different strings. That’s 7884877985816054063923340812443632867980747435265064547440365297877812230999983634922053904324829205441837830921209410767866820350392591496465345718879667228701033177516338179747430870298820209307821377548903252404736464300144342990107276174332102635697681203 different combinations. In scientific notation, thats 7.8 × 10259. Just for comparison, the entire number of atoms in the universe is high-balled at 6 × 1079 (on this page). That’s more than a googol of identifiers for EACH ATOM, EVERYWHERE. Isn’t naming each atom once enough? Then you would only need 45 characters, which would nicely fit in one line of my email client if you just shortened your “finishSignup” to “fS” and action to “a”. As a bonus, it also saves you approximately 117 bytes of bandwidth per email.
UPDATE: Apparently it has ALL the information, in addition to being completely too long. I replaced it with random crap.