Bitly finally starts taking privacy seriously

by @edent | , , | Read ~226 times.

I've been ranting about Bitly for years! The ubiquitous link shortener had an interesting "feature" - add a + to the end of the URl and you could see all the statistics for the link. How many clicks, referers, location of users. Here's a blog post I wrote about it way back in 2011. I…

Bitly Emoji Links

by @edent | , | 2 comments | Read ~371 times.

Weird symbols in the bitly dashboard.

Popular URl shortner Bitly allows users to customise its links. This means you can have all sorty of weird and wonderful character in there. For example: bit.ly/󾰀󾰀 You can also use Emoji! bit.ly/☹ bit.ly/♐ Well, OK, not all Emoji. If you try to use most of them, the Bitly system craps out and generates broken…

Who is @GCHQ's "barneyrooster"?

by @edent | , | Read ~467 times.

The British intelligence service GCHQ has been on Twitter since January 2016 - however they only sent their first tweet today. Hello, world. https://t.co/SROtSsE8KB — GCHQ (@GCHQ) May 16, 2016 As I never tire of saying, Bitly is a terrible at keeping your data private. Simply add a + on to the URL and you…

Inferring Facebook's Mobile Use Via Bit.ly

by @edent | , | 3 comments | Read ~189 times.

Analysts estimates are always interesting to read - especially if you know the real statistics which they are trying to prophetize. Even when someone releases "official" statistics, they're usually hard to verify independently, and even harder to analyse by region. Benedict Evans - who I've had the pleasure of meeting at Mobile Monday - published…

No One Scans QR Codes - Apart From These 25 Thousand People

by @edent | , , | Read ~578 times.

Earlier this year, I blogged about seeing these QR codes appearing on some train tickets. The campaign itself wasn't that great - a poor call-to-action and a decidedly mobile-unfriendly site - but I was interested in how many people had scanned them. Thanks to bit.ly's practice of exposing everyone's statistics, we can see exactly how…

The Perils of URL Shortners

by @edent | , , , , , | 1 comment | Read ~232 times.

I'm not a big fan of URL shortners - bit.ly, t.co, goo.gl, ow.ly, etc - I understand the need for them, but they seem to offer a fairly poor service in terms of privacy and usefulness. Take this recent example from Vodafone. Aside from the obvious downsides (user doesn't know where the link will take…

Facebook's Mobile Adverts - Real Stats

by @edent | , , , , | Read ~160 times.

Facebook has been getting a lot of criticism for its lack of mobile revenue. A fact it tried to hide from its IPO. Much ink has been spilled, but is it really necessary for Facebook to worry? Here's a quick case study. Facebook has, in its infinite wisdom, decided that I would be interested in…

Train Tickets With QR Codes

by @edent | , , , , , , , | 1 comment | Read ~1,201 times.

No, I'm not talking about Masabi's innovative technology, but of this rather odd bit of advertising found on the back of a train ticket. There's no specific call to action - but there's not much space to play with. Let's give it a scan... *sigh* A non-mobile site. With an Adobe Flash plugin in the…

More Real QR Statistics

by @edent | , , | Read ~177 times.

Wandering through London today, I noticed that Southbank London has put QR codes on its posters. I've mentioned before the dangers of using Bit.ly as a QR code generator - as it allows us to peek at the codes' performance statistics. Here are the codes on the posters - click for bigger. As all the…

Bit.ly Considered Unsafe (for QR Codes)

by @edent | , , , | 5 comments | Read ~4,403 times.

(After Ben Metcalfe's post on the the vb.ly sage). As a mobile Internet consultant, companies often ask me which QR generator to use. There are many worth considering, but I always tell clients to avoid bit.ly. The security of Libya Internet organisations are probably not an immediate concern (you did know that's what .ly stands…