With more than two billion links a month passed through its link shortening service, bit.ly can see what is some of the most buzzed about and shared content on the Web. Today, it is exposing the most popular videos people share through bit.ly on Bitly.TV, which is the second project under bit.ly Labs (the super-short j.mp URL shortener was the first).
With bit.ly being the main way people share links on Twitter, Bitly.TV might as well be called Twitter TV. The videos featured are based on bit.ly’s bitrank algorithm. ‘The algorithm looks at velocity, popularity and persistence,’ says general manager Andrew Cohen. ‘We’re examining the social distribution history of each video to determine what is trending, and to predict what will go viral.’
When you click on a video it opens up in a lightbox player along with a live stream of Tweets about that video and the ability to share it again on Twitter, Facebook, or via email. As you are watching, you get the realtime commentary in a box on the right and a retweet number so you can get a sense of how viral it is and why.
Just last week, the startup released Bit.ly Pro, which allows Web publishers to send out short links with their own branded (short) domain names such as nyti.ms, 4sq.com, mee.bo, or tcrn.ch. Publishers also get an analytics dashboard which shows realtime stats like the total number of clicks, and their distribution by geography and referring sites. The data around URL shorteners is incredibly valuable, and even Facebook and Google are jumping into the game with goo.gl and fb.me. With Bitly.TV, bit.ly seems to be upping the ante by providing a way to see the most popular videos on the web.