Exit This Way
Bitly, the New York-based link-shortening and data analytics service, announced two big changes at the executive level this week. Yesterday, chief scientist Hilary Mason, who is arguably Bitly’s most visible employee, announced she would be moving on from the company to become the first ever data scientist in residence at venture firm Accel Partners. Though she’s been an advisor to Accel’s Big Data Fund since 2011, Ms. Mason is leaving Bitly to join Accel full time, where she will help to advise portfolio companies and evaluate potential investment areas.
Sometimes Silicon Alley can make your head spin: out of the blue, in a terse blog post, Bitly just announced that CEO Peter Stern has resigned in order to “pursue other interests.”
The Data Deluge
We’ve expected some big (data) developements from Bitly since the New York startup announced a $15 million Series C led by Khosla Ventures July. Today, chief data scientist Hilary Mason is finally ready to show you what they’re working with, empirically speaking.
The company announced the launch of three new data APIs that will radically boost the utility of the service for consumers and business clients. And it’s not even your birthday, data nerds!
Bitly CEO Peter Stern, who once told Betabeat he’s been in the process of raising funds ever since he joined the company, finally has a milestone to announce. The company has raised a $15 million Series C led by Vinod Khosla at Khosla Ventures.
“[Mr. Kholsa] has been fascinated with the growth of Bitly all along,” Mr. Stern said by phone this afternoon. “Fascinated with this kind of invisible glue that enables people to share in social media and the insight that you can extract from doing that at scale and thinking about what kind of services and products you can offer consumers to grow that set even more.”
Mr. Stern said he has been in contact with Mr. Kholsa for a while. A Series C has been expected since Bitly raised a $1.4 million convertible note in March. Previous investors RRE and OATV also participated in this round.
We have to hand it to Bitly–instead of recoiling from the massive outpouring of distaste for its new redesign, the link-shortener-turned-social-network has translated user feedback into site design action. The company already responded to user complaints with bitmark revamps last week, but in a post on its blog today, Bitly announced that it has reinstated easier link shortening, effectively squashing the majority of complaints users had about its redesign. That means you, Roger Ebert.
According to the Bitly blog:
In the week since our release, we’re already making adjustments, so that saving and shortening links in the new bitly is a whole lot easier. Now, when you paste a link into the “Paste a link here…” box at the top of the page, it will be instantly saved when you paste it (no second click needed)— and the shortlink will be right there ready for you to copy.
Less clicking! That’s all an avid Internet user can really ask for, right?
Bitly taketh away, but bitly also giveth. That redesign inspired the wrath of the Internet, but, as though to placate professional scourers of the Internet, the link sharing service is now integrating with IFTTT (If This Then That). You guys happy now?
IFTTT allows users to create tasks so that if something happens, the service will do something else. So you could set an IFTTT to get an email when it rains, or receive an alert whenever someone specific tweets. The bitly integration makes it possible to automatically tweet any link you shorten (that is, provided you’ve figured out how to shorten links on the new bitly).
Already popular: saving starred Google Reader items as private Bitmarks and sharing Bitmarks on Tumblr. By God, you will learn to use Bitmarks and, what’s more, you will learn to love and appreciate them.
Only tangentially related: We kinda miss the hapless-looking old puffer fish. Who is this smiley new guy?
UPDATED: Turns out there’s a kink worth mentioning. This reporter’s Twitter just spat out a Bitmark for a National Geographic article regarding puffer fish. Presumably, this is the sample Bitmark awaiting every new bitly user, and when we created our IFTTT task to test all the aforementioned processes, out popped the puffer, thereby inspiring at least one fellow Betabeat writer to burst out laughing at our sudden, random taste for nature reporting.
Link sharing service Bitly angered the Internet earlier this week with a convoluted redesign that obscured one of its most favored functionalities, URL shortening for Twitter. Even Roger Ebert was really mad about it, and if anyone is an accurate portrayal of the zeitgeist, it is clearly him.
Following the debacle, Bitly took to its blog to defend itself against the hoards of furious Internet types, writing, “We’ve clearly heard the concerned feedback of our users who were used to the old bitly and relied on our service for daily usage….We’ll continue to quickly iterate based on what we hear from all of you, so keep the feedback coming!”
New York-based Bitly is determined to establish itself as more than just a link shortening device and today unveiled a redesign to position itself as a bookmarking tool. Unfortunately, it’s been a terrible flop so far, at least according to the reactions on Twitter. Some were intrigued by the souped-up analytics and sharing mechanisms, but people who were used to navigating over to Bitly for a split second just to shorten a link were annoyed by the unnecessary changes. Even Roger Ebert was pissed! See for yourself.
So Refresh and So Clean
New York-based link shortening service Bitly just launched a major redesign that emphasizes link sharing similar to Twitter or the once-popular bookmark service Delicious.
The old Bitly centered around shortening links and publishing them to Twitter, Facebook and other social networks. Log into the new Bitly and you’ll see something that looks more like a social network itself. You’ll see a stream of your own share-worthy links and a separate stream of links from your network. Bitly is now calling these shortened links “bitmarks,” a souped-up version of bookmarks.
UPDATE 5/17: Bitly CEO Peter Stern reached out to Betabeat Thursday to dispute much of what was reported in The Verge yesterday. “While I would be delighted to report that we raised a significant amount of money, I’m not in a position to report that just yet,” said Mr. Stern, who did acknowledge that he is in the process of raising funds, but said that has been true since he started his tenure as CEO. The company raised a $1.4 million convertible note in March.
Mr. Stern said Bitly is at work on a consumer product, but the company is not yet willing to discuss it. Last October, Bitly blogged about developing a real-time search engine that lets the company “see into the future.” However, Mr. Stern said, “A Bitly revamp is in the works, but it doesn’t include a viral search, which is only available for business customers.”
Link shortening service Bitly is moving up and out–literally and figuratively. According to The Verge, the company moved out of Betaworks’ offices this week into its own space
, and has also landed $20 million in new funding.