When I started my sojourn in the Internet in 1998, I think there was only one re-directional URL service. It was the ubiquitous tinyurl.com
Generally affiliate URLs provided many companies like CJ used to be at least two lines long. It will be quite awkward to type in web form while promoting in the Web. Sometimes, it used to bleed over the box/frames in free classified sites.
To make the long the story.. I am sorry, to make the long URL short, there are free services in the Internet. 301 URL is one such service where you are offered a shortened URL and at the same time, a SEO friendly re-directional URL.
"A 301 redirect tells search engines, like Google for example, that the requested content has been permanently moved to a new location. Search engines then adjust their search engine results to reflect the new location and dump the old URL."
This service is launched by PRWeb, a leading press release company online.