A single, customized solution to manage a chaotic situation

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This research university has thousands of workgroups across multiple departments and creates a massive amount of URLs under each of its domains. When they reached out to BL.INK, they were unsuccessfully trying to use an internal URL-shortening system that was proving difficult to manage and even harder to scale. 

The result was millions of clunky URLs with no index or indication of what they pointed to. They desperately needed a link management system to solve these problems, but migrating their links was nearly impossible without knowing how many URLs existed.



BL.INK came up with a unique "recipe" workflow for each domain that was fully managed via API. Within this system, short links serve as aliases for long, difficult-to-manage URLs. The solution made all of the university's old links instantly and easily accessible and enabled students and faculty to effortlessly create new domains and URLs on an approachable, easy-to-use platform. Not only was our solution capable of accommodating their massive scale, but we also provided our client with around-the-clock broken link monitoring.

Growth opportunities


A big-name university reached out to BL.INK looking for a unique solution to its link management problem.

BL.INK developed a custom recipe for each domain and URL, shortening links to manageable lengths and allowing them to create new domains and links on a self-service platform.

The result was a custom link management system that helped streamline the creation, standardization, and monitoring of millions of short links and over five thousand domains for the university’s workgroups and academic staff.

How BL.INK Streamlined Short Link Creation & Management For One of the Most Prestigious Universities in the US

A major research university needed a URL shortener and link management system for a massive amount of links associated with the thousands of workgroups across its campus. 
Their in-house system was coming up short in many crucial ways: with no index of their URLs or naming standards for the pages contained, migrating all of them to an external platform wasn't an option. 

BL.INK's customized model improved accessibility to existing links and provided the university with a "recipe" to standardize short link and domain name creation. 

About Our Customer

Our client is a prestigious, private research university established in 1891 and located in California's Bay Area. It employs over 18,000 people and enrolls around 17,000 students across its seven schools on campus.

This university also has 16 independent laboratories, centers, and institutes focusing on various subjects, from STEM to social sciences. The school conducts over 7,500 externally sponsored research projects.

The Problem: Managing Millions of Links They Didn’t Even Know Existed

This revered school in the California Bay Area hosts thousands of workgroups and projects across various departments. Each workgroup owns one or several domain names or unique websites to publish their documents and research papers, or to collaborate online. 

Having a functional URL creation platform was crucial. Although the university had an internal URL shortener in place, it was proving difficult to manage, harder to upgrade, and was not scaling to meet the growing needs of a complex organization

Not only did they need to address the problem of lengthy URLs, but each of these workgroups had created hundreds of thousands of them over the years. Since their internal platform had no index, it translated into a complex and somewhat chaotic scenario. 

The school knew they desperately needed an overhaul of their system, but moving their links elsewhere would prove nearly impossible without a scope of how many URLs they had to begin with. 

Andy Meadows, BL.INK's CEO explains: "They were trying to manage all these existing domains, but they didn't know every URL created because their system didn't have an index. So there were millions of URLs with no way to migrate them because the source was null."

In short, they needed a solution that didn't exist yet. 

Fostering Collaboration Required Accessibility

On top of managing domains and sorting out messy URLs, they also wanted a platform that would be easy to use for students and faculty. 

Collaboration was crucial throughout this university's various research fields, so they wanted to ensure users could access the new system easily. The best way to facilitate this would be with a self-service interface.

The Solution: A Recipe for Link Creation & Management

When this university reached out to us in 2020, they had a tangled web of problems they needed to unravel. With around 5,000 domains and potentially millions of associated URLs, an outside-of-the-box solution would be the only way to do it. 

BL.INK had tackled unique problems before and was up to the challenge. We came up with an entirely new approach to address the unknown amount of URLs.

"Rather than changing every single URL, what we did is create a recipe for each one of these domains and allow them to manage everything through our API," says Andy.

Our customized recipe automatically creates shorter, more concise aliases for existing URLs. The links use keywords to ensure they still make sense and point to the right page. 

"We know how to translate whatever comes in the door to get them where they need to go. It allows them to move seamlessly from one place to another without knowing every URL that should be redirected. We took the logic they already had in place and were able to apply it to create a solution that did not exist," says Andy."

Not only did our solution make all of their old links accessible, but it also allowed the client to create their self-service interface. Using BL.INK's API, students and teachers can create new domains or short links on the spot without ever having to access an external system. 

Seamless Migration from Internal System to 3rd Party Service

The first step was migrating a hefty list of domains to our platform. We had to pay attention to the security certificates used in the new long-form to short-link recipe during the process.

Andy explains, "We had to coordinate to get a release from Let's Encrypt because we were migrating thousands of domains over the course of a few days. We went from the old system to the new one completely seamlessly and without any interruption to an audience largely unaware of what was happening."

Custom Interface & Self-Service Platform

A part of the solution to this multi-layered problem was letting the university write its interface. Doing this gave them the power to create everything they needed at the drop of a hat while BL.INK dynamically managed the automatic response through the use of API. 

"They actually wrote their interface with our API to manage this internally. If people request something and it gets accepted, it automatically gets provisioned. They have full control and can add and remove domains anytime they want to, 24 hours a day," says Andy.

The interface is entirely self-service, giving them the freedom and flexibility to use it with ease. "It allows them to create their own short links and custom domains for every workgroup inside the school," says Andy.

The self-service factor also means it requires zero training for new users. Students and faculty don't have to log in to a separate backend and can instead use an entry-level system that's familiar to them, making collaboration effortless.

Massive Scale

With an ever-evolving research department, this university constantly creates URLs for various projects, groups, and documents. They needed a link management platform to keep up with the sheer volume, so scalability was crucial. 

BL.INK's platform seamlessly accommodated their link creation and management needs. Our system is used to flexing and adapting to future changes, where no project, whether small or insanely large, is out of scope.

Broken Link Monitoring

We also provide them with 24/7 link monitoring so our client is always aware of link issues. Our service emails them if any intentionally created links are broken.

Andy elaborates, "One workgroup could change locations, or it might get shut down, and they need to know if they have links going to a place that doesn't exist. So we highlight if a destination is no longer functional. It allows them to take action internally and route that traffic wherever they think is best."

With our around-the-clock service, this prestigious university can be sure broken links never get in the way of its goals.

Multi-Year Partner

Established in 1891, this successful university has always looked to the future. They wanted to be sure the link management platform they paired up with would grow with them for many years. 

"They were looking for a multi-year partner, and we were able to provide them with a multi-year solution," says Andy.

With BL.INK, they know any issue that may arise will always be met with a helpful response and an accommodating solution, no matter how challenging. 

The Takeaway: A Link Management Platform That Provided the Recipe for Success

This globally-known university had a problem lurking under the surface affecting its day-to-day operations. They were struggling to use an internal URL shortener that wasn't up to par. 

As a prominent research facility with thousands of workgroups, keeping their individual domains and subsequent URLs organized was crucial, but their system had no index. The result was an unknown amount of mysterious URLs floating around in the ether and no way to sort out the chaos. 

BL.INK came up with the perfect solution. By creating a recipe for each domain, we were able to shorten and redirect URLs to the correct locations automatically. We also worked with the university so they could write an interface that meshes with our API to provide lightning-fast response time and allows them to have an internal easy-to-use system.

BL.INK is always ready to go above and beyond for our clients, even when it means thinking outside the box. We offer versatile, adaptable, and sometimes unique solutions to any problem that comes our way. 

Learn how BL.INK can help you manage your links more efficiently!

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