bitly 2012 logo
Type of site
|URL shortening, bookmarks|
|293 (April 2014[update])|
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, 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. It was subsequently replaced by Twitter's own t.co service.
The company behind Bitly launched a similar service, but for online videos, to determine what videos are the most popular on the web.
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
bit.ly domain or any other generic domain that the service offers.
The company offers a paid solution called Bitly Brand Tools that provides advanced branding features. Companies can use their own custom domains to generate shortened links; for example, The New York Times uses
nyti.ms, and Pepsi uses
pep.si. 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. Bitly Enterprise also has advanced analytics features and uses Bitly data to provide advanced social insight tools for companies and brands. Companies like StudentCrowd use Bitly links to strategically design and monitor social media campaigns.
Information about any short bitly URL
http://bit.ly/x is available at
http://bit.ly/x+ (that is, the URL with a plus sign appended), for example
http://bit.ly/QtQET+. This allows users to see and check the long URL before visiting it.
On May 29, 2012, Bitly announced "Bitmarks", a new search feature, with enhanced public profiles and an iPhone app.
The .ly TLD is controlled by the Libyan government, which has previously removed one domain deemed incompatible with Muslim law.
Any shortened URL generated with bitly can also be accessed by replacing that domain with any one of the following:
- j.mp (registered to bitly, and using 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. 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. 
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- Horn, Leslie (2010-10-06). "Libya Seizes URL Shortener Vb.ly". PC Magazine. Retrieved 2010-10-10.
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- Saturday, July 28, 2012 (2012-07-28). "Bitly Announces Realtime, A Search Engine For Trending Links". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2013-07-28.