We’ve been using Bit.ly a lot here at Sunlight Labs– I’ve become somewhat of an evangelist of using it over many similar shortcut services. What gets me excited about bit.ly is the advanced tracking capabilities it has. Did you know….
- Bit.ly tracks friendfeed and twitter conversations?
- It tracks each individual click and tells you where they’re coming from?
- It actually scrapes the page you link to with it and provides you with semantic data on the page?!
- All of this is completely “transparent?” You can view the stats of any bit.ly link
All you have to do is put /info/ in between bit.ly and the random characters it assigns to your link. So for instance, the bit.ly link to our recent “Redesigning the Government” post was http://bit.ly/LONF But if you just put that magic /info/ in it, you can see the stats: http://bit.ly/info/LONF
We’ve been using it to track Twitter’s effectiveness at driving traffic to the Sunlight Labs website we’re quite excited to see it using OpenCalais to scrape semantic data off the page as well. It is quite a unique blend of interesting information about something as simple as a link.
Also: I highly recommend the Firefox extension. It allows you to see some basic information about a bit.ly or other shortcutted link when you mouse-over it like how many clicks it has received and more importantly, what the full URL is.