Bit.ly goes pro, giving publishers custom URLs

Just a few hours after pundits were wringing their hands over how URL shortener Bit.ly might soon face challenges from competing services created by Facebook and (in particular) Google, the company announced a new program of its own. So even if other companies take some users from Bit.ly, the company will still bring in money with a customized service for publishers.

There are two components to Bit.ly Pro — custom URLs and improved analytics. With a custom URL, readers can create a shortened link to, for example, a New York Times article using a nyti.ms address, rather than a generic Bit.ly URL. When you see that link on Twitter or elsewhere, you’ll know it’s a link to a specific publication, rather than only finding out after you click.

bit.ly pro analyticsThe analytics, meanwhile, offer a much more in-depth view of where and when people are clicking on a Bit.ly link. Right now, if a user creates a Bit.ly link and posts it on Twitter, they can see how many people clicked on the link from their tweet, and how many people clicked on it overall. The pro service adds tools such as a chart of when those clicks occurred, as well as a geographic map and list of websites showing where visitors came from.

New York-based company has an impressive list of launch partners, including the aforementioned New York Times, AOL, Bing, Foursquare, The Onion, Slideshare, Someecards, and The Wall Street Journal Digital Network. For now, the pro service is free of charge, because it’s still in beta testing.

Bit.ly has raised $2 million in venture funding.


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