The No Fluffers have been discussing the Lifehacker article on avoiding broken links.
Is this just a hack that email clients agree to grok? Glenn Vanderburg found that this isn’t the case, and that it is in the RFC for handling URLs (RFC 1738)
APPENDIX: Recommendations for URLs in Context
URIs, including URLs, are intended to be transmitted through
protocols which provide a context for their interpretation.
In some cases, it will be necessary to distinguish URLs from other
possible data structures in a syntactic structure. In this case, is
recommended that URLs be preceeded with a prefix consisting of the
characters “URL:”. For example, this prefix may be used to
distinguish URLs from other kinds of URIs.
In addition, there are many occasions when URLs are included in other
kinds of text; examples include electronic mail, USENET news
messages, or printed on paper. In such cases, it is convenient to
have a separate syntactic wrapper that delimits the URL and separates
it from the rest of the text, and in particular from punctuation
marks that might be mistaken for part of the URL. For this purpose,
is recommended that angle brackets (”<” and “>”), along with the
prefix “URL:”, be used to delimit the boundaries of the URL. This
wrapper does not form part of the URL and should not be used in
contexts in which delimiters are already specified.
In a little testing it appears to work in a fair few email clients. The only problem I have had was in Gmail for Mobile (Cedric will fix that I am sure ;)
Of course, you can always use tinyurl.com, xurl.us, and the myriad of other services.