DoubleClicks.info About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

May 4, 2010

Just a Little Bit

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , — Ron @ 4:49 am

Thanks for the many questions this week that all dealt with the same thing.  Many readers wanted to know about all the references I have given out over the past several weeks.  Most everyone wanted to know what the ‘bit.ly’ links were since they accessed different sites.

First, allow me to give a short explanation about top-level county code domains.  You are familiar with the “.com” (commercial), “.info” (information, like DoubleClicks.info) and “.gov” (for the US government) top-level codes.  The code is not necessarily indicative of what the site is used for. For instance, I could sell items on an “.info” site that provides absolutely no information.  However, “.gov” is only to be used by the US government.

A few years back a new domain level started, “Country Code” top-level domains.  This allows some countries to have their own top-levels.  The first I remember seeing was “.to” which represents the very small island of Tonga in the South Pacific.   Do not ask me why they get one and others do not.  If you are interested in a site with more detail, including a country list, try http://bit.ly/a7Vmpo.

If you notice the link above it is a “.ly” top-level domain which is the country code for Libya.  This does not mean that the site has anything to do with Libya other than the “.ly” at the end.  As a matter of fact I checked the owner of Bit.ly and it appears to be someone in New York.

imageOK, now to Bit.ly and what it does.  This designer had a great idea.  Sometimes you have a site address that is very long and cumbersome.  Bit.ly allows you to shorten a long URL address into a much shorter address.  For instance the one I typed two paragraphs up is actually the shortened bit.ly code for, “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Country_code_top-level_domain”.  See the difference in the amount of space they take up.  In case you didn’t count that is 20 characters compared to 54…no question about which is easier to use.

If you go to http://bit.ly and enter a site address it will convert it to the short one. You can then give it out to others.  This makes a large address much easier to deal with.

One final interesting feature offered by the “bit.ly” site, is that it lets you know how many people use your link.  For instance, the link I gave last week for a dropbox.com account was clicked on by 35 people the first day it was printed and 12 actually signed up.

I made a bit.ly link that has received 1,876 views (my largest) since I posted it on Twitter.com, January, 2010.  It is http://bit.ly/9tqtAN which concerns the defunct TV show, “Firefly” (yeah, my favorite too).

There are other sites which provide similar services but bit.ly is the one I prefer.

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