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Posts Tagged ‘Bit.ly’

Twitter Launches Internal URL Shortener, Throws Bit.ly A Bone

From the official blog:

Since early March, we have been routing links within Direct Messages through our link service to detect, intercept, and prevent the spread of malware, phishing, and other dangers. Any link shared in a Direct Message has been wrapped with a twt.tl URL. Links reported to us as malicious are blacklisted, and we present users with a page that warns them of potentially malicious content if they click blacklisted links. We want users to have this benefit on all tweets.

When this is rolled out more broadly to users this summer, all links shared on Twitter.com or third-party apps will be wrapped with a t.co URL. A really long link such as http://www.amazon.com/Delivering-Happiness-Profits-Passion-Purpose/dp/0446563048 might be wrapped as http://t.co/DRo0trj for display on SMS, but it could be displayed to web or application users as amazon.com/Delivering- or as the whole URL or page title. Ultimately, we want to display links in a way that removes the obscurity of shortened link and lets you know where a link will take you.

In addition to a better user experience and increased safety, routing links through this service will eventually contribute to the metrics behind our Promoted Tweets platform and provide an important quality signal for our Resonance algorithm–the way we determine if a Tweet is relevant and interesting to users. We are also looking to provide services that make use of this data, an example would be analytics within our eventual commercial accounts service.

Already using your own URL shortener for analytics? Don’t worry – they’ve got that covered.

If you are already partial to a particular shortener when you tweet, you can continue to use it for link shortening and analytics as you normally would, and we’ll wrap the shortened links you submit.

Sounds sensible. And the wrapping means that reports of bit.ly’s demise might have been greatly exaggerated. Which is good news for me, as my tailored URL shortener is ticking along nicely.

(Source: Twitter blog.)

I'm Experimenting With A Custom URL Shortener On Twitter

I set up my own URL shortener earlier today – sheam.us.

(See what I did there?)

I’ve also made this my default on bit.ly, via bitly.Pro (which is a free service), and this means all the links I share on Twitter will now be under the sheam.us umbrella. Okay, this is a little egotistical, but it’s cute and when I saw it was still available, it was impossible to turn down. It’s all in the name of science, after all.

(Note that is just for links I share myself on Twitter. At the moment any retweets done on Twittercism via the Tweetmeme button will still use the standard bit.ly URLs.)

This is possibly temporary. I’m a huge believer in the power of the pure bit.ly link (see why here), but I’m curious as to what the impact might be, either adverse or positive, of using your own URL shortener on Twitter. Is it a service that really only works for the big boys, or can anybody play?

What do I mean? Even though my new shortener is still 100 per cent powered by bit.ly, readers will be unaware of this and might view the sheam.us link with suspicion. This might mean less clicks, at least until enough people get used to it and hear my side of the story (through articles like this one).

Hopefully the obvious connection between my username and shortener will ease people’s fears. Lots of popular accounts on Twitter use a custom URL shortener through bitly.Pro, including the NY Times (nyti.ms), TechCrunch (tcrn.ch) and The Huffington Post (huff.to). Dave Winer also shortens a lot of his links through his r2.ly service, which I think works through Adjix. I’m small potatoes compared to these guys, but I don’t see custom URLs doing them any harm.

Using sheam.us, I’ve had a ton of retweets today so it doesn’t look like an issue at the moment. But the long term picture might be different, and I reserve the right to go crawling back to bit.ly if it all goes pear-shaped.

Bah, @HootSuite – We Wanted Bit.ly, Not Ht.ly

There’s a small but important update to HootSuite this morning – when you first load up the site, you’re presented with a pop-up window that lets you choose from one or two internal URL shorteners: ow.ly, which HootSuite has always used, and the new ht.ly.

Bah, @HootSuite, We Wanted Bit.ly, Not Ht.ly

I have to say, when I first saw this screen I was initially quite excited, as I thought it was letting me choose from ow.ly and my URL shortener of choice – which of course would have been bit.ly, as despite Twitter’s recent shenanigans, bit.ly is the only URL shortener any serious Twitter devotee should be using.

(Unless, that is, you don’t really care if people click on your links, visit your website, buy your stuff, etc.)

Instead, what HootSuite has given us is essentially what we have now. Ow.ly has long provided the option to remove the (wildly unpopular) social bar on a permanent basis – it’s now been taken away completely and simply passed over to ht.ly. So, ht.ly is what ow.ly was, and ow.ly is the same as ht.ly, but without the awful bar.

Wow.

Let’s hope HootSuite Pro raises the bar just a little bit higher.

Twitter To Launch Their Own URL Shortener Soon (And Won’t Be Giving Users A Choice)

Twitter CEO Evan Williams on Twitter’s lack of an internal URL shortener:

Twitter To Launch Their Own URL Shortener Soon (And Won't Be Giving Users A Choice)“We want to solve that problem. Everyone else has solved that problem. We are probably not going to give people a choice. If they want to use a different shortener, they can use a different app.”

Ouch. Is this the end for bit.ly? Or is this undeniably insular (and dare I say, Apple-worthy) attitude simply going to drive more people away from Twitter.com in favour of clients like TweetDeck and (assuming they open the barn door a little) HootSuite?

Source: TechCrunch

Twitter Tried (And Failed) To Buy Bit.ly (Who Had Already Turned Down Google)

Interesting report over at Business Insider that details a failed attempt by Twitter to buy bit.ly in January.

Why? Price, of course. Bit.ly’s was too high for Twitter. One source tells us Bit.ly’s asking price was under $100 million, but still a “big f—ing number.”

Twitter and Bit.ly were far apart on price in part because the people running Bit.ly view it as a service that extends beyond Twitter. One source close to Bit.ly tells us that of the 3.5 billion clicks on Bit.ly links in March, 100 million went to Facebook.com. This source tells us that only 30% to 40% of Bit.ly’s traffic is Twitter related.

Another reason Bit.ly probably felt like it could demand a high asking price is that four months prior to its talks with Twitter, it turned down an acquisition offer from Google.

Read more.

Bit.ly remains the network’s default shortened URL, but now Twitter has bought its own URL shortener, acquired Tweetie and made an official Blackberry app, turning down this acquisition might prove to be incredibly short-sighted.

I’m a huge fan of bit.ly, and would hate to see them disappear into the ether. But given that Twitter’s own shortener will inevitably have access to all the internal goodness (most of which one assumes Twitter keeps under wraps), it doesn’t look all that promising.

Maybe @HootSuite Pro Is The Answer?

Maybe @HootSuite Pro Is The Answer?I’ve written before about how much I love HootSuite, and that the only thing that stops me from rating it as the perfect Twitter client is that it doesn’t allow users to choose which URL shortener they want. Instead, you’re stuck with ow.ly, which has some nice stats and things like that, but because of the frame ow.ly adopts is pretty unpopular with a lot of users.

End result? Your retweets suffer. Massively.

Jonathan proposes that a Greasemonkey script might be a workaround solution, and has found one here.

But hacks are never ideal. HootSuite has a big-enough user base – and is close enough to being perfect – that a premium version of the software could be well-received by a lot of fans, particularly the Twitter power-users and brands that love the superb features of the client.

For a few dollars a month – and I mean a few – HootSuite Pro could give us:

  1. A choice of URL shortener (of course, everybody should go for bit.ly, but having a choice is the way to go) with full integration, including the stats
  2. More profiles
  3. Better management of our HootSuite team (i.e., being able to see stats for each)

Of course, this would all sync perfectly with the HootSuite iPhone app (which is highly recommended) as it does now (but you’d lose the ads). It would be nice to see things like Twitter-style retweets appearing in our stream, too.

Where’s the downside? HootSuite gets a revenue stream, and lots of us get what we want.

Why are desktop-based Twitter apps so scared of charging for their fine products? Hasn’t the success of Tweetie et al taught us anything? If you make your client absolutely first class, people will pay. They won’t pay a lot, but enough of them will pay something to make a difference for you. And you can still fund everybody else with adverts and ow.ly.

Here’s the thing: for me, stuff like Facebook and Foursquare implementation within my Twitter client is not important. In fact, I don’t care. If I want Facebook, I’ll go to Facebook.com.

However, if I want Twitter, going to Twitter.com isn’t really the best solution. That’s why I go to HootSuite. But if I have to co-manage HootSuite with bit.ly sidebar (for links) and Twitter.com (for retweets) then the process is broken.

And when somebody comes along who fixes all of this, I, like a ton of other people, will inevitably jump ship. HootSuite’s in a position here to do something really special. Let’s hope they make their move in time.

HootSuite Announces New Features, Including Klout Integration. Is This (Almost) The Perfect Twitter Client?

HootSuiteI’ve used and enjoyed HootSuite for about six months. Initially, this was entirely at work, because the platform is (comfortably) the best and most feature-rich way to manage multiple social media accounts, notably on a multi-user basis. It’s web-based, works out of the box, is fast and efficient, and gives you tons of control over your columns, allowing the end user – and their business – to see exactly what they want to see.

Lately, I’ve found myself drifting over to HootSuite at home, largely because of issues I’ve been having with Seesmic Desktop, which had been my Twitter client of choice for as long as I can remember.

Earlier today HootSuite was down momentarily while they added some new features to the platform. This included a welcome People tab, which allows you to quickly manage your new followers, as well as those you have recently followed yourself.

Interestingly, it comes with integrated support from Klout, which while not a flawless system is probably the closest thing we have right now to a reliable measure of an individual’s online influence and social status.

Read more

Seesmic Desktop 0.3 Released – Now With Full Bit.ly Support, ‘Smart Accounts’

Version 0.3 of Seesmic Desktop has just been released, and with it a bunch of super-cool new features, including:

  • Multi-Account Posting with Smart Account Enabling. You can now send tweets to multiple accounts simultaneously. Moreover, Seesmic’s new ‘smart account’ feature automatically works out which account you should be replying from, based on whom you are replying to. Clever!
  • Authenticated bit.ly Integration. This is the one I’m the most pleased about – you can now add your bit.ly login information to Seesmic so that any links you post using the service are automatically tracked at bit.ly’s website. VERY useful.
  • Services Panel. The new Services Panel allows you to manage your accounts for sending images, and Seesmic now supports Pikchur, Posterous, TwitPic, Twitgoo and Yfrog.

Version 0.3 also includes the following user interface modifications:

  • The messaging panel auto-minimises until you start entering a tweet, which maximises the space available for your streams
  • It also includes an inline reminder of the account(s) you are posting from
  • Replies have been enabled in your Facebook friends’ avatars, so you can quickly add comments
  • An added “Cancel” button to erase your messages in the message panel
  • Updated scrolling arrows for enhanced browsing
  • Ensuring all replies appear in your integrated timeline

Check out this video, featuring Seesmic founder Loïc Le Meur for more detail on these new features:

Download

Click here to download version 0.3 (direct download; requires Adobe AIR; works on Windows, Mac, Linux).

Further Information

To keep up to date with the latest Seesmic news, and for any questions or problems you might have, I recommend following @askseesmic on Twitter. The account is managed by Loic and John Yamasaki, and they’re an incredibly friendly and helpful team.

For tips on how I configure my Seesmic Desktop, check out my article, “How To Configure Seesmic Desktop For Fun And Profit“.

See Where Short URLs Really Go With ExpandMyURL.com

I’ve written previously on this blog about issues with shortened URLs and with the various worm exploits on Twitter that we’ve seen of late it is definitely becoming something of a concern. It’s even an option in the latest release of TweetDeck.

Earlier this week I wrote about LinkNark, a website that allows you to preview shortened URLs to ward off nasty surprises. Another alternative to LinkNark is ExpandMyURL.com, and it works in similar ways. Punch in your shortened URL – it accepts all the leading formats – and hit the ‘expand url’ button, and away you go.

It’s very quick and very simple, and does exactly what it says on the tin. But so far, so LinkNark.

Read more

Your Office Doesn't Like URL Shorteners. Now What?

Bit.ly is a popular URL shortener with a difference – it allows you to track links. This is very useful for many Twitter users and Bit.ly has a smidge over thirteen per cent of the URL shortening market share (behind the wildly popular, but less useful, TinyURL).

Bit.ly

I use Bit.ly, for two reasons. One, it’s built into TweetDeck, and two, from time to time I find the link-tracking part of the service extremely useful (for example, if I’m using Twitter to promote a guest post I have written and don’t have access to that web site’s traffic).

However, this week I changed to another URL shortener (is.gd) and here’s why: with increased frequency, Bit.ly is being blocked at places of work.

Read more

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