Bitly snags $15M for newly redesigned discovery service

The link-shortening service recently expanded its offerings, experienced a 300% bump in usership

Technology trends and news by Krystal Peak
July 10, 2012
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/283f

The link shortening startup Bitly  announced Tuesday that it has raised $15 million in a Series C round of funding led by Khosla Ventures. 

Many have been anticipating a substantial Series C to happen since Bitly raised a $1.4 million convertible note in March. 

This investment brings the company's total money raised to near $30 million in venture and debt. Previous investors RRE, AOL Ventures, OATV and Founders Fund.

Just a few weeks ago, in May, Bitly unveiled a major redesign that made its link-sharing service a more viable tracking service to improve curation and discovery. 

The Internet public lashed out against Bitly for the change that was designed to make it easier to save links, curate items that are similarly tagged, and see what people are sharing across various networks. Unlike many other Internet brands like Twitter and Facebook, Bitly responded quickly to the outpouring of concern about these changes by continuing to allow their standard link shortening service for those that wished for more simplicity.

So dispute some pushback and thanks to the desire for many people looking for better discovery tools, Bitly's usership increased by 300% since the change.  In fact, this change also resulted in 200,000 new people registering for the service in the past month.

And when it comes to monetization, Bitly monetizes exclusively with a paid option for business customers, and this growth of usership and content that is tagged and shared is adding value to the service and those paying the premium price.

The Series C will go toward further developing Bitly into a leading discovery platform and focus on growing the team to expand more social Web products.

The addition of search, tagging and discovery features has been a hot issue as of late. 

Just days ago, announced that it was working on an advanced search and discovery update to help increase the time spent on the site as well as the value of using the service as a tool.

Many companies have been focusing lately on their discovery portals so that people will spend more time (and quality time at that) on a given site -- this is especially common with video sites like YouTube, Ooyala, and Telly, but has also been a large component in the FourSquare update.

As data-collection and algorithms continue to improve, more companies want to retian their audience by giving them the best recommendations and content for seamless programing catered to their every interest and media consumption pattern.

Back in May, Twitter announced that the "discover" tab on its website and that mobile apps would display stories with more personalization based on the accounts users follow. Then, just a few weeks ago, Twitter updated the "trends" feature with more information relevant to any given user.

According to comScore numbers earlier this year, Pinterest users from America spend an average of 1 hour and 17 minutes on the site per month, well ahead of Twitter (36 minutes), LinkedIn (17 minutes) and Google+ (6 minutes) but none can match with the average monthly time spent of Facebook of 6 hours and 33 minutes. 


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