by Mike Masnick
Mon, Aug 3rd 2009 7:56pm
A lot of folks have been mistakenly mocking Bit.ly, the popular URL shortening service, which some dismiss because the functionality is quite simple to replicate (and, in fact, it was hardly the first or last such service). But, as has been discussed the real value in Bit.ly isn't so much the fact that it shrinks URLs, but in all the data it collects. The fact that it's become such a popular URL shortening service, means that it has all sorts of data on what's popular online at any given time -- including how many times something is added to a social network and how many clicks it gets. Part of the reason the service itself has been so popular already is the datamining it lets users do, so they can see how many clicks something gets, and apparently, the company behind it is planning to use that data to create its own news site, highlighting what's popular out there. Who knows if this will work (being a news aggregator hasn't made many companies very much money lately), but it does show how something as simple as a URL shortening service actually could have more going on behind the scenes, and shouldn't be written off because it can be replicated in just 10 lines of code. If you can get people to use your ten lines of code, the data itself can be quite valuable, if you know what to do with it.
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