Tag Archives: bitly

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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“Soooo big!” Counting on bit.ly, Part III

In the two previous posts on this topic, I calculated that, all other things being equal, the pool of 62^6 = 56,800,235,584 six-character strings from which bit.ly is currently assigning shortened URLs has a projected “exhaustion date” somewhere around the year 2030.

This inexact prediction is more than an idle curiosity because of the nascent effort of 301Works, under the aegis of the Internet Archive, to preserve re-directs even if, especially if, a URL-shortener goes belly-up or merely stops supporting already-issued links. More than 20 companies have joined 301Works, and bit.ly made this commitment on its corporate blog last November:

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“Soooo big!” Counting on bit.ly, Part II

In Part I, I calculated that bit.ly is currently using a pool of 62^6 = 56,800,235,584 six-character strings that it can assign as re-directs, for example, to provide URL-shortening for tweets that are up against Twitter’s 140-character limit.

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“Soooo big!” Counting on bit.ly, Part I

The URL-shortening service, bit.ly, is heavily used on Twitter to help members stay within the 140-character limit for each tweet (post). According to a brief story by Ben Parr in Mashable, bit.ly took over first place in this market from TinyURL last August. If you are wondering how this could possibly be a “market” or why anyone would care, see the longer piece by Michael Arrington in TechCrunch from almost exactly a year ago.

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