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Bitly Logo.png
bitly 2012 logo
Web address
Type of site
URL shortening, bookmarks
Registration Optional
Available in English
Owner Bitly, Inc.
Launched 2008
Alexa rank
positive decrease 293 (April 2014)[1]
Current status Active

Bitly is a URL shortening service. The company Bitly, Inc. was established in 2008. It is privately held and based in New York City. Bitly shortens 600 million links per month,[2] for use in social networking, SMS, and email. Bitly makes money by charging for access to aggregate data created as a result of many people using the shortened URLs.


The bitly URL shortening service became popular on Twitter after it became the default URL shortening service on the website on May 6, 2009.[3] It was subsequently replaced by Twitter's own service.[4]

The company behind bitly launched a similar service, but for online videos, to determine what videos are the most popular on the web.[5]

The company uses HTTP 301 redirects for its links. The shortcuts are intended to be permanent and cannot be changed once they are created. URLs that are shortened with the bitly service use the domain or any other generic domain that the service offers.[citation needed]

The company offers a paid solution called Bitly Enterprise that provides advanced branding features. Companies can use their own custom domains to generate shortened links; for example, The New York Times uses, and Pepsi uses This allows the company to push brand awareness on services such as Twitter but use the bitly engine to generate the shortened URLs and track marketing metrics.[6] Bitly Enterprise also has advanced analytics features and uses bitly data to provide advanced social insight tools for companies and brands.

Information about any short bitly URL is available at (that is, the URL with a plus sign appended), for example[7] This allows users to see and check the long URL before visiting it.

Since October 12, 2010, users can automatically generate QR codes that, when scanned with a mobile QR code reader, automatically direct users to shortened links.[8]

On May 29, 2012, bitly announced "Bitmarks", a new search feature, with enhanced public profiles and an iPhone app.[9]

Alternative domains[edit]

.ly is the country code top-level domain (ccTLD) for Libya. In 2011, the address was set to redirect to[clarification needed]

There are potential issues with the domain since it is controlled by the Libyan government, which has previously removed domains deemed incompatible with Muslim principles.[10]

Any shortened URL generated with bitly can also be accessed by replacing that domain with any one of the following:

  • (registered to bitly, and the top-level domain of the Northern Mariana Islands, a commonwealth of the United States).
  • A custom domain, registered separately by the user and redirected to bitly's servers via the DNS record.


On July 10, 2012, bitly announced it had raised $15 million in new funding led by Khosla Ventures.[11] Seventeen days later, it announced a project called realtime, which is an "attention ranking" engine. It allows users to navigate through websites that are currently receiving the most 'attention' (visitors). These websites can be filtered by location, network, language, and topic. [12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ " Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2014-04-01. 
  2. ^ Newman, Andrew Adam (1 December 2014). "Bitly Helps the Red Cross Get to". Archived from the original on 3 December 2014. Retrieved 22 December 2014. 
  3. ^ Wauters, Robin (May 6, 2009). "URL Shortening Wars: Twitter Ditches TinyURL For". TechCrunch. Retrieved July 4, 2010. 
  4. ^ "Twitter Help Center | About Twitter's link service <>". Retrieved 2014-03-19. 
  5. ^ Schonfeld, Erick (December 17, 2009). "Watch The Buzz On Bitly.TV". TechCrunch. Retrieved July 4, 2010. 
  6. ^ Ali, Imran (February 6, 2009). " Create Short URLs With Your Own Domain". GigaOM. Retrieved November 6, 2010. 
  7. ^ "What is bitly?" in the bitly Knowledge Base available at the http:/
  8. ^ Indvick, Lauren (December 17, 2009). "URL Shortener Now Generates QR Codes, Too". Mashable. Retrieved October 13, 2010. 
  9. ^ Lardinois, Frederic (May 29, 2012). "Bitly Launches New Bookmarking Features, Profiles, Search & iPhone App". 
  10. ^ Horn, Leslie (2010-10-06). "Libya Seizes URL Shortener". PC Magazine. Retrieved 2010-10-10. 
  11. ^ Ha, Anthony (July 10, 2012). "Bitly Announces $15M Round Led By Khosla Ventures, Says Controversial Redesign Increased User Sign Ups". 
  12. ^ Saturday, July 28, 2012 (2012-07-28). "Bitly Announces Realtime, A Search Engine For Trending Links". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2013-07-28. 

External links[edit]