I was reading a highly entertaining post by Nathan Yau, What News Sites People are Reading, by State that had the following quote:
Bitly’s dataset, wrangled by data scientists Hilary Mason and Anna Smith, consists of every click on every Bitly link on the Web. Bitly makes its data available publicly—just add ‘+’ to the end of any Bitly link to see how many clicks it’s gotten.
It’s a little more complicated than that but not by much.
From the Bitly help page:
Beyond basics: Capturing data and using metrics
How do I see how many times a bitly link was clicked on?
Every bitly link has an info page, which reveals the number of related clicks and other relevant data. You can get to the info page in a few different ways. For example, to view the info page for the bitly link http://bit.ly/CUjV –
You can also use the the sidebar bookmarklet to instantly get information for your bitly link, or you can see basic information about all of your links on your Manage page.
What do the numbers “x” out of “x” mean next to my links?
The numbers next to your links might say “8 out of 8” or “14 out of 648,” or something else. The top number is the number of clicks that your bitly link specifically generated, for example: 30. The bottom number is the total number of bitly clicks generated for all bitly links created for that URL as a whole, for example: 100. So if you “30 out of 100” next to your link, that means the bitly link you created generated 30 clicks and 70 clicks were generated by other bitly links (from other bitly users) to that URL.
Why does the number on top always match the number of total clicks, even when I’m not the one who was responsible for the clicks?
If someone else shortens the same URL, do we both see the same number of clicks?
It depends on whether a user is signed in. bitly tracks the total number of clicks pointing to a single long link. Signed-in bitly users receive a unique bitly link that lets them track clicks and other data separately, while still seeing totals for all bitly links pointing to the same long link. But users who are not signed in all share the same bitly link.
Is all bitly tracking data publically available? Where can I view it?
To learn more about the life of any given bitly url, simply add a “+” sign to the end of that link and you will be directed to a page with that link’s statistics.
The permanent 301 redirects of bitly mean that multiple bitly urls can point towards a single webpage.
Sounds like having multiple identifiers doesn’t it?
What’s more, I can create a bitly redirect for a webpage and then by adding “+” to the end, see if there are other redirects for that page.