StumbleUpon has launched a new URL-shortening service to compete with Bit.ly et al, called SU.PR. Om hypothesized earlier this year that services like Bit.ly could challenge Digg for social news supremacy, in part because Bit.ly tracks how many users click each particular link — allowing the company to rank (if they chose to) the most popular links in its network. SU.PR does that and more. Read More about StumbleUpon Launches Super URL-Shortener, SU.PR
Yesterday, New York-based startup incubator Betaworks raised $2 million in funding for its URL-shortener project, Bit.ly, and spun it out as an independent company. The funding raised some eyebrows, with some speculating if Bit.ly, one of the dozens of link-shortening services, was worth a rumored $8 million. I fall in the camp of those who think Bit.ly is worth the money. Read More about Why Bit.ly Will Upstage Digg
If you’re an active Twitter user, then you’re already familiar with Bit.ly, a web service that not only allows you to shorten URLs to meet the 140-character limit of the Twitter system, but offers up analytics, such as how many people clicked on the link and also talked about it somewhere on the web. Use of the service has been growing like wild mushrooms after a heavy downpour. Last week alone, 20 million folks clicked on Bit.ly-shortened URLs (though TinyURL is still the biggest URL shortener on the web).
That popularity has helped Bit.ly’s creator, New York-based incubator Betaworks, to raise close to $2 million in Series A funding from O’Reilly Alpha Tech Ventures, Jeff Clavier, Mitch Kapor and Howard Lindzon to spin it out into an independent company. Bit.ly will use the new funding to compete with a growing number of rivals, including StumbleUpon and Digg.
Betaworks has been actively building and or investing in Twitter-specific products; it sold the Twitter-focused search engine, Summize, to Twitter last year. Since then Betaworks has invested in Tweetdeck, a Twitter client built with Adobe AIR.
[qi:004] Some days you read something that makes you go: What the…? I got that feeling when I read Peter Kafka’s report that Tweetdeck, one of the many Twitter desktop apps that use Adobe Air and has been downloaded 250,000 times, is getting just shy of half a million bucks from New York-based incubator Betaworks. I’m not quite sure why! Though I think I understand — it uses Bit.ly, a service that shortens URLs to be exchanged on Twitter and is also backed by Betaworks. Since Bit.ly wants to mine the information associated with URLs being swapped around and build some sort of a value-add experience, this is a good way for them to get data from Tweetdeck. Maybe they want to flip this to Twitter — after all, Betaworks sold Summize to San Francisco-based Twitter last year and are shareholders. Otherwise, this investment doesn’t make sense. Why won’t someone else build a Tweetdeck-like offering? Or maybe it’s just a sign of Twitter-related insanity.