I’ve decided recently to try bitly, the famous URL shortener which is great and cool but you better be careful. Sure it’s good to shorten your url, specially in Twitter where you are pretty limited on the number of characters you can use but the BIG problem with these bitly links is that not only the links become public but also their statistics. Yes, each time you use bitly to shorten a link, it becomes available publicly along with all the statistics collected with it and this permanently.
To help you better understand, here is a great example about the kind of link you SHOULD NOT USE with bitly based on my personnal mistake. Here’s a URL that I have shortened recently with bitly, concerning a promotional post on Facebook for one of my Google AdWords services: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=599773776752053&… So I thought it would be good to shorten this long url with bitly. That’s what I did and the new url now looks like this:
Few minutes after being shared, I start receiving some stats. Everything sounds great until I notice the url used to show up the statistics page for my newly created bitly link. It’s simply the same url as the one I shared but with a (plus sign character) added at the end, like this:
Few minutes after, I realize that these stats are also available to everybody on the net, even for those who doesn’t have a Bitly account. Damn, no good, I need to remove this link quickly. So I tried to remove it. I then realize that this Bitly link is PERMANENT! Damn, no way to delete it or to hide it. Yes you can create a profile and hide all your links by making them private but this doesn’t hide them on the web and all your links are still available publicly.
So my advice is this: don’t use Bitly for your promotional offers because this way you reveal to everyone, including your competitors, your valuable statistics that can simply KILL all your marketing efforts in just a snap and lead you to lose your competitive advantage.