The brief below was filed in the Second District yesterday. As you can see, at least 17 times the brief cites to a web address shortened through the "Google url shortener" which significantly shortens web addresses. For example, the Google url shortener changes "http://www.floridalegalblog.org/2010/12/fourth-district-on-invited-error-and.html" to "http://goo.gl/fb/HceD7."
It certainly looks better to cite to the shorter address. and it makes formatting significantly easier. However, is it proper? It does not indicate who is actually hosting the web site and, technically, is not the source of the information cited. A website can always be taken down, however, when you cite to a shortened address you have the potential that the actual web site stays available but the shortener is not. The New York Times had a service Nyturl, however, the New York Times shut down the service due to abuse and all links became unavailable. THIS article stated:
Enter NytUrl, the ‘trusted’ URL shortener for NYtimes.com articles. Update: The site and all the redirects were taken down “due to abuse.”
I am not sure if there is an actual answer to the question in the title of this post or not.