In the past couple of weeks, I have become an enthusiastic user of Bit.ly – after a long and fairly healthy relationship with tinyurl.com. I like Bit.ly for a couple of reasons: It’s easy to post updates to Twitter using a browser toolbar or a widget such as Shareaholic; and the statistics showing the number of clicks on the linked created is interesting, although I think the data could be displayed a much more user-friendly way.
The question facing Bit.ly, its URL-shortening peers (and many other online services) is how to make money. In a paidContent post, Tameka Kee talks about how Bit.ly could launch a premium analytics services for businesses looking for more information, which makes a lot of sense.
bit.ly has also talked about launching a news service, tracking breaking and popular stories. This strikes me as a service rather than a business given the free competition out there.
No doubt, Bit.ly has a huge opportunity given it’s popularity (and a sweet partnership with Twitter), which saw the number of unique visitors climb 40% last month to 4.2 million, compared with 5.7 million for tinyurl.com.
bit.ly, which began as a project at Betaworks, has an investor group that includes O’Reilly Alpha Tech Ventures, Social Leverage, The Accelerator Group, SoftTech VC, Ron Conway, Josh Stylman, Pete Hershberg, David Shen Ventures, Jeff Clavier, Mitch Kapor, Howard Lindzon, Chris Sacca, and Founders Fund (Dave McClur