Tag Archives: bitly

‘Iterating Grace’: Ex post factoid, Part I

If you arrived here from the link in Charley Locke’s December 6th Wired article, I encourage you to begin with Part II instead. Really. Stop. Koons will be much more gratified if you read about the book in Part II (and links therein) than about boring Twitter analytics, which is what you will get if you continue below. Really. Go to Part II.

OK, I warned you. No deadly vicunas below, only boring stuff about Twitter traffic.

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Ducking out on bitly

When I wrote my first three posts on bitly (as “bit.ly”) nearly five years ago, they offered a serious-yet-humorous attempt to answer a simple question: Given that bitly’s shortened URLs were only 6-character strings and given the effort by 301Works (through the Internet Archive) to preserve those “mappings,” how long would it be before bitly ran out of strings? My assumption-dependent answer back then — roughly the year 2030 — is now as irrelevant as 301Works seems to be invisible, but you can find the third post here with backlinks to the first two: “Soooo big!” Counting on bit.ly, Part III.

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Long day’s journey into bitly

…with apologies to Eugene O’Neill.

For the past two years, I have checked in from time to time with bitly and added to my posts about what I found. What started as an amusing projection — how could the URL-shortening service evolve as they began to run low on 6-character hash strings? — turned somber, morbid, even sepulchral. Most recently, I wrote in The bitly dea(r)th watch that, because of Twitter’s DIY shortener, t.co,

…it was [now] less a matter of when bitly would run out of unique hash strings and much more a matter of when the world might run out of bitly. Would the dearth become a death, not to put too fine a point on it?

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The bitly dea(r)th watch

This is my fifth post about bitly (bit.ly, bitly.com), the URL-shortening service, in the past 18 months. The first three, written in early July 2010, were focused on two simple questions: (1) how large was bitly’s pool of unique hash-string URLs; and (2) at the then-projected rate of growth, when would that pool be exhausted? Or, more to the point, what could they do to avoid running out? The respective answers were 62^6 = 56,800,235,584 (see Part I); and roughly the year 2030 (see Part II).

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