/// The Reinvention of Bitly: A Social Bookmarking Site for Mainstream Users

May 29, 2012  |  All Things Digital


Over the past four years, bitly has become an important online utility, helping people save, shorten, share and track 80 million new links per day. But Bitly wants to be more than a souped-up link shortener, and today it is relaunching its site as a social bookmarking aggregator a la Delicious or Pinterest. Bitly is already at the center of lots of online activity — but only as a conduit. It has become a massive infrastructure project; more than 25 billion total Bitly links have been created, and they get clicked on 300 million times per day. Following Bitly’s lead, Twitter, Facebook and Google all launched their own link shorteners. The new Bitly site, which is rolling out to users starting today, is now centered around personal pages of saved links — kind of like the simplest blog you could imagine. Instead of bookmarks, Bitly calls these “bitmarks.” Users can create bundles of bitmarks on a certain topic, write personal notes about them, and make them public, private or co-curated. Then, there are a bunch of things people can do with their links and other people’s. They can search through them with a very fast search engine. They can save them for nicely formatted reading offline in an iPhone app. They can tell Bitly to add any link they post to Twitter to their bitmarks, even if it wasn’t originally saved through bitly. They can look through an aggregated “network view” of all the things their Facebook and Twitter contacts have shared, like a Facebook News Feed but just for interesting links. (Note: This network view currently can’t be viewed on mobile, which is too bad as it could be a nice way to gather offline reading materials, but I suppose might be a copyright issue.) They can see all sorts of interesting stats about who was first to share each link and how much it has been viewed globally. Unlike the current Bitly, which is a tool for power users and paying enterprise customers, the redesigned site is explicitly meant to be a mainstream consumer product, Bitly Head of Product Matthew Rothenberg told me. “The URL is the basic unit of currency for the Web

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The Reinvention of Bitly: A Social Bookmarking Site for Mainstream Users



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