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+
This is not a product that is relevant to the everyone but certainly relevant to myself and to every company that has a web page (who doesn’t?)
This month’s statistics on smartphone purchases and usage have blown experts’ preconceived ideas about where the Australian marketplace is with mobile browsing. 46% of Australian mobile phone owners now have a smartphone and 79% of handset sales were smartphones this quarter. Apple iPhone’s penetration is growing (40%) and Google Android powered phones are skyrocketing (30%) (Source: IDC Report, May 2011). In the USA mobile app usage has surpassed desktop browsing. The era of “I will deal with mobile later” is gone. Any business that doesn’t provide a mobile presence within the next 12-24 months is going to pay a heavy price.
The problem is most companies simply don’t know what to do or don’t have the budget to do it. There are a bunch of tools that will either help you make mobile websites or convert (mobilise) your pages, one at a time. This approach works ok for the tech savvy or those with a budget (either for the tools or the man-power to use them). But what do you do if your website has thousands of pages? And what about if it is littered with Flash animations and menus?
That’s where Modapt steps in. Modapt claims it can automatically and on-the-fly convert your webpage to support the mobile handset that is reading it. You don’t have to do anything on your website to make it work, other than redirect mobile users away to Modapt. It doesn’t matter how complex your website is, Modapt will render each webpage visited for each handset visiting. Here is an introductory video to explain the process: http://bit.ly/p9hEfm.
My approach to date has been to “make it look ok on the phone” which has bought me a little extra time. But as the mobile device becomes the primary means for browsing that attitude will need to change. There is an ongoing debate over applications (that execute on the phone itself) or web-apps (that are delivered as web services) will win the SaaS war. Currently the quality of applications is far superior to web-apps but HTML5 appears to be shifting that rule. I am betting on web-apps and not spending more than a minimal effort on applications. As long as I am delivering a solid experience for all mobile users, I believe this is the right approach. Your milage may vary.
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