Website of the week 5/6/2013

Shorten, share and track your links.

Click the pufferfish mascot to visit bit.ly
Click the pufferfish mascot to visit bit.ly

https://bit.ly

This is another one of those websites that is so often used it is as common as email so it has effectively slipped under the radar.

Bit.ly is a great free service that saves you from having to share horrendously long web addresses known as URLs (pronounced You Are Elles), organise them into groups or bundles AND track how many times the bit.ly URL has been clicked.

Did I mention that this is free?

Registration is pretty easy (and still free) and when registered you can even customise your shortened URLs to something more memorable like https://bit.ly/ORAAus making the distribution of your project or favorite web page simpler and much easier to type into an SMS, twitter or in any other media where you need a short, simple and rememberable link to a URL you want to share.

You can create your account with your existing facebook or twitter account if you do not want to create your own account directly with bit.ly.

Does bit.ly make money?

Yes, it does. Either through venture capital or through selling information about how it is used to companies that use “big data” for research purposes. Things like traffic/clicks, user profiling and how social media mixes with shortened URLs.

So in the same sense that twitter and facebook both gather information on the people that use the free services offered by those sites, bit.ly also gives end users free access to URL shortening services and in return gathers information on how you use the service.