If you use Twitter or frequently send website links to others then you have probably discovered the multiple service offerings to shorten web addresses. For example, https://sophisticatedfinance.typepad.com becomes https://tinyurl.com/653hog using the TinyURL site. Such services obviously reduce the number of characters for a website address and reduce the possible errors in using the address. TinyURL is even available as an add-on to Firefox. All in all a nice little web service, but how does this relate to data mining--a topic dear to my heart and a future source of infinite new business possibilities.
As ReadWriteWeb reports, a new group of prominent investors has invested $2 million in Bit.ly, another service that shortens web addresses.The purpose of the investment is for Bit.ly to capture statistics on the 20 million website addresses that it shortens per week and keep track of the hits on each website in real time. This information, which would be more current than Google Analytics, would then be made available to developers through an API, presumably for a fee.
Another interesting feature of Bit.ly is that it uses Calais, which I posted on in February 2008. Calais is the Reuters technology that extracts semantic tags out of web pages, thereby allowing Bit.ly not only to provide database search and statistics by web page but also by topic, e.g. "Miami Heat".
Prominent tech investors, Calais technology, huge statistics database, cost of data capture--nearly zero. Sounds like a winner.