Many of you will have seen a bit.ly URL but not thought too much about it. I have been using bit.ly for about a year now after year years of using tinyurl.com when I realised they were never going to improve their service. Bit.ly is probably the most popular URL shortening service around today (they perform 500+ shortens a second). Bit.ly shortens your long URL’s into really short ones that are easier to deal with (they don’t wrap in emails, they fit in SMS messages, etc).
Where biy.ly excels is the statistical analysis of your links. They will tell you how many people click on your link, how many people click on other people’s (version of the same) links as well as where, who, how, when, etc. They will even show you all the Twitter tweets which reference the same URL as you you. What I find of particular value is it keeps the archive of all your shortened URLs so you can go back and look at them in the future. There are a bundle of tools such as browser plugins and automatic converters but the real value is in the web site.
You can use the shortened links on any website or blog as well. For your efforts you get free analysis of every click (even when your link has been forwarded to someone else) for all time. However, I urge you to consider the environment next time you are sending an SMS or Email and shorten your URL’s. Then some time later go back to the bit.ly website and find out if your friends and family opened the links.
For a nice example …. imagine this as a tweet: “What will happen to http://bit.ly links if Gaddafi shuts down the Internet in Libya due to protests? – Quora http://bit.ly/oTkqVi” and then follow the statistics of this URL here: http://bitly.com/oTkqVi+
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