bit.ly waited a very short time to respond to advances into the URL-shortening arena by Google and Facebook, introducing bit.ly Pro, which, as reported by TechCrunch, allows established Web publishers to incorporate their brands into their shortened URLs—nyti.ms for The New York Times, 4sq.com for foursquare, mee.bo for Meebo, tcrn.ch for TechCrunch.
According to TechCrunch, publishers will also be able to access an analytics dashboard offering real-time data such as total number of clicks and distribution by geography or referring sites.
bit.ly offered more details on bit.ly Pro in a post on its blog:
As part of our initial beta program, we’re making custom URLs available to a limited number of large and medium-sized Web publishers and bloggers, including AOL, Associated Content, Bing, Clicker, The Daily Telegraph, foursquare, GDGT, Hot Potato, The Huffington Post, IGN, kickstarter, Meebo, MSN, /Message (Stowe Boyd), The New York Times, OMGPOP, oneforty.com, The Onion, slideshare, someecards, TechCrunch, The Wall Street Journal Digital Network—which includes WSJ.com and MarketWatch.com—and blogger Baratunde Thurston (baratunde.com).
Users and publishers benefit from the additional transparency that this private-label service provides. When you see a short URL like nyti.ms, you know the destination Website before clicking on the link. The service includes all of the bit.ly features users and publishers have come to expect. Placing a simple “+” at the end of any bit.ly link (including these white-label, bit.ly-powered links) takes you to real-time information about that page and how it is being shared: how many people clicked on that particular link, where they came from and more. For publishers, the new service allows them to keep their brand visible while maintaining access to bit.ly statistics.
We’re also excited to be introducing a unique real-time dashboard that will provide publishers with even more information about their bit.ly traffic. It’s a real-time view of how a given publisher’s content is being distributed across networks like Twitter, Facebook and MySpace and services like email, SMS and instant messenger.