Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Spying On Competitors with Bit.ly

I see a link on Twitter that I’m not interested in retweeting personally, but I’d like to see how well it’s doing.  In this case it’s a work-related URL that’s not appropriate for my personal Twitter account.  But couldn’t it just as easily be my competitor that I want to check up on?

Bit.ly is my URL shortener of choice because it lets you track the action that your links are getting – as well as how many other people have used bit.ly to track that same link.

* Click on the bit.ly link to get to the original source.

* Now, use bit.ly to shorten it yourself.  Make sure you’re signed in.

* When your new shortened link appears at the top of your history, it’s going to say something like “0 out of 50”.  The 0 represents your copy, because you haven’t done anything with it.  But if that second number is anything greater than 0?  It means that other people have used bit.ly to shorten and publicize that URL.

So for instance if you run a blog, sending your headlines out to Twitter, and you’re following your competitors wondering how much traction their headlines get?  Now you can check up on them.  You can even delete your own copy of the links if you don’t want to clutter up your own list.  Just use this trick to take a peek.

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