Tag Archives: bitly

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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Maybe not “Soooo big!” But still counting on bitly

[This was originally posted on August 13, 2011, but had to be “reconstructed” following the crash of a MySQL server at my Web hosting service.]

About this time last summer, I wrote three back-to-back posts about the URL-shortening service bit.ly, now routinely re-directed — how ironic! — to bitly.com and self-referenced as simply “bitly.” The posts were entitled “Soooo big!” Counting on bit.ly and were focused on estimating when bitly might run out of unique URLs:

Part I calculated that the available 62 characters (26 upper- and 26 lower-case letters, plus 10 digits), taken six-at-a-time with repetition allowed, yielded a pool of 62^6 = 56,800,235,584 unique hash strings available for assignment in URLs.

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