What is it? Like TinyURL, is.gd, and others, Bit.ly takes a long URL and makes it shorter, ideal for Twittering, emailing, IMing, whatever.
Unlike all the others, Bit.ly includes a handful of bonus features, including:
- A cookie in your browser that remembers the last 15 URLs you’ve shortened. (So you don’t have to re-do URLs more than once.)
- Custom, vanity urls, like these two we’ve created: http://bit.ly/sai and http://bit.ly/iphone.
- Click tracking so you know how many people used your shortened URL.
- An API to build Bit.ly into other services.
- A backup of every page whose URL you shorten.
- XML and JSON interfaces for developers.
There’s also a bunch of data under the hood that Bit.ly will expose over time, says John Borthwick, whose Betaworks (don’t call it an incubator!) created the service. Leading the project: Nate Folkman, with help from Web guru Dave Winer.
Revenue? Winer says there will be a way to make money, and he’ll “be ready to talk about it in a couple of weeks.” But there isn’t any now. Perhaps someday someone will find some value in Bit.ly as an acquisition — just like Twitter is likely to do with Betaworks project Summize.