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Bit.ly Gets Better with New Data…Are You Using It Yet?


Lately, I’ve been using bit.ly for shortening the URLs I tweet, on the advice of Marshall Kirkpatrick at ReadWriteWeb. I started using it instead of is.gd, which had been my previous favorite.

Why? Because bit.ly offers an array of useful data. Who knew that a simple URL shortener could open up so much interesting data?  I can’t believe people still use tinyurl and other services that “only” shorten URLs. The tracking of metadata around a posted URL – for free – makes bit.ly really powerful.

Here’s what bit.ly was offering before the latest data features…

  • Last 15 URLs: Bit.ly knows your last 15 shortened URLs, courtesy of a cookie.
  • Post to Twitter: Post shortened URLs from bit.ly to your Twitter account
  • Archived web page: Yup, see that page anytime because there’s a cached version of it, even if the source link changes or disappears.
  • Traffic sources: See how much click action that bit.ly URL got once you put it out there. And from what apps.
  • Conversations: Tracks which users on Twitter and FriendFeed put the URL out there. This is really cool, as you can see others who liked the same thing you did.
  • Browser bookmarklet: Easy way to create a shortened URL, stay on the page you’re reading.
  • Semantic metadata: According to Marshall’s July post, bit.ly was going to add semantic analysis via Reuter’s OpenCalais API. Looks like it’s there. Cool to see per link, probably more interesting with a critical mass of URLs.

On October 30, bit.ly announced several nice additions to their service.

  • Full referring domains: Not just the top-level domain.
  • Graph of click activity by time: The dates and times that a URL got clicked.
  • Clicks by Country: The countries of people who click on your URL. This is really fascinating.

Seriously, if you’re not using bit.ly, why not?

*****

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About Hutch Carpenter
Chief Scientist Revolution Credit

8 Responses to Bit.ly Gets Better with New Data…Are You Using It Yet?

  1. Nathan says:

    Thanks for the great post, and for using bit.ly! Thought I’d mention a few other features.

    Users who create a bit.ly account can access their entire history. Anonymous users are limited to the last 15 items shortened.

    When you shorten a URL as a signed in user, the short URL generated can be tracked separately. So, for example, if you shortened http://apple.com, you’d be able to see both the traffic for that specific user short URL, as well as the aggregate for everyone else who had also shortened http://apple.com.

    Lots of great new features planned and in the works. http://blog.bit.ly/ for the latest!

  2. klecu says:

    Check out the info for this blog post http://bit.ly/info/1Iybzu

  3. Pingback: Why Bit.ly is my Favorite URL Shorterner | dmiessler.com

  4. It sure is a nifty little thing. I’m shifting from tinyurl to this. Thanks for pointing it out.

  5. URLBarExt makes it easy to get bitlies for everything. woo hoo!

  6. Pingback: How to Integrate Social Media into Product Marketing « I’m Not Actually a Geek

  7. Pingback: Power Twitter Gets More Powerful with Latest Release « I’m Not Actually a Geek

  8. Pingback: Something Is Very Wrong with Bit.ly’s Click Counts « I’m Not Actually a Geek

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