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Meet Brian Eoff, our Lead Scientist.

Bitly has a lot of data, and our science team is on the front-lines working to make sense of this information and help answer questions about how we use the social web. This month’s employee profile highlights our Lead Scientist, Brian Eoff.

Brian hails from the south and never pictured himself living in NYC. He’s currently on hiatus from his Ph.D at Texas A&M and came to bitly for what was supposed to be a three month stint back in 2011, but has stayed on the past two years.

Brian Eoff, Lead Scientist at bitly

What are your main responsibilities as the Lead Scientist?

I help determine the research direction of the company, thinking about where our data can lead us, what new technology there is and approaches to presenting data in insightful ways. I give the science team space to explore ideas they find interesting.

What cool things are the Science Team working on?

We are currently working on using bitly for content discovery.

We are also taking some of the static analyses we have previously worked on and looking into making them real-time, which can be difficult. Visualizations work if you are sitting on their page and watching them change, but if you are coming back over the next few days, how can you see what has changed? How do you give historical context to it? If you come to the visualization once, how do you give the viewer the ability to explore more? We are working with the design and UX team to have a handle on that.  

Can you talk a bit about the development of Realtime?

We were very interested in this idea of recency, and asked the question “what unique insight does bitly have?” We knew what people were clicking on at that time.

A lot of work went into this idea of “bursting” [content]. Certain things always pop up, like Obama and Justin Bieber. Everyday there are 30 articles about what Obama did that day. [We had to figure out] how to not always display that content, but [instead show] what is surprisingly getting a lot of attention today.

How did you get started at Bitly?

A little over two years ago I was doing my Ph.D with James Caverlee at Texas A&M. I didn’t want to spend summer in Texas, it’s quite hot, and I had also decided I didn’t necessarily want to go into academics. It was a moment to ask questions about where I wanted to go. I [made a list of] five places I wanted to work and wrote them each a letter, including [current scientist emeritus] Hilary Mason.

I was only supposed to be here 3-4 months, but my project was interesting and I wasn’t done with it. Hilary sat with my advisor and negotiated for my services. I still meet with my advisor every other week. I’ve been very blessed to know amazing people, him and Hilary are incredible and have really helped my career.

What have you learned working here?

A lot. I’ve gotten a lot faster at programming, taking ideas and turning them over. Hilary and [former bitly scientist] Mike Dewar made me better at the science approach. I’m surrounded by infrastructure and dev guys that can do amazing stuff very quickly and they just make you better at what you do. It’s a weird accomplishment when they tell me something i did was good, it’s like “yes!”

I’ve learned how to take something that is heavily mathematical and complicated and know it well enough to explain it to a diverse audience and relate what you do in a simplistic form. Some people worry that when you make something simpler you make it less precise, but I don’t think that. You can be precise but still be understandable.

You often speak at conferences, what have you talked about?

Normally it’s whatever I want. It’s sometimes on “What is data science?” or “What is big data?” Or it’s about what I’m interested in the month or two prior. I once talked about finding your worst enemy online. I never reuse material for talks, I like to make it new each time.

I previously gave talks in academia, but here you are talking to a broader audience, [and you have to think about] how [the talk] is perceived and how that affects the company.

Do you have any projects outside of bitly?

I advise Mahaya, a startup co-founded by Cornell professor Mor Naaman and Tarikh Korula, for a few hours each week. I met Mor when he was doing his Ph.D at Stanford.

I also do jujitsu. I always have to have something physical to do otherwise i get bored. When I came to New York I thought “what’s a sport I’ve always been interested in?” There are tons of amazing schools in Manhattan for jujitsu. Some of the best guys in the world have schools here. I’ve done a few tournaments while here. I try to train after work if I’m not too tired.

You can learn more about all the bitly employees here, and hey- we’re hiring

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Connect bitly to your favorite online tools!

We’re very proud that over the years the Bitly APIs have been used in hundreds of different web applications from Buffer to WordPress.

Connecting your Bitly account to other 3rd party platforms gives you the best of both worlds- you can use your favorite tools while still taking advantage of many great Bitly features.

For example, when you connect Bitly to a share tool like Buffer, the links you share from that platform will automatically save to your bitly account. This means you can track click count stats on these links, have your custom short domain attached, and your links will be stored in your Bitly account to find and share again later.

Interested in getting started? We now we have a list of API integrations along with their instructions to help you integrate Bitly onto your favorite social and analytics platforms.

Don’t see your favorite application? No problem! We are constantly updating and revising this list to incorporate more partners and keep it up to date. Have instructions on how to integrate your favorite application with Bitly? Please email us at support [at] bitly.com, and thanks for the tip!

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Bitly Announces Mark Josephson as CEO

Mark Josephson, Bitly CEO

We are delighted to announce that Mark Josephson will be taking over as Bitly CEO. Mark is a preeminent startup executive with a proven track record of building great teams and great products.  

Mark comes to Bitly from Aol’s Patch, where he ran revenue and marketing. Prior to Patch, Mark was CEO of Outside.in, which was acquired by Aol in 2011. Outside.in was a leading hyperlocal platform that organized the web around neighborhoods for consumers, publishers and advertisers across the country. 

Prior to Outside.in, Mark was President and CMO of Seevast Corp and held various positions at About.com, including General Manager and Executive Vice President of Marketing and Business Development. 

Here is what Mark has to say: “The team at Bitly is world class and I am excited to join them. Bitly has achieved true web scale by providing an essential service that makes the entire internet work better. Bitly’s potential is even bigger though, because it is positioned to add significant value — in the form of intelligence on top of its unique data set — to consumers,marketers and publishers.  I can’t wait to work with the team at Bitly and our investors to make it happen.”
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Meet our summer interns!

We’re lucky to have a great team of interns joining us for the summer. Hailing from schools all over the country - or even outside of it - they’re helping us out with everything from engineering projects to sales systems, and quickly showing us they’re as interesting, diverse and talented as we are. Meet our summer interns!

Vishal Atri, success intern

Vishal Atri, a senior at New York University majoring in Political Science and Middle Eastern Studies, is interning with the Enterprise Success Team. Originally from Lowell, Massachusetts, Vishal is expanding his skill set by helping out the Product Development Team as well during his time with us.

What are you working on?

I do a lot of data analytics and marketing intelligence. It’s my job to compile information on our clients’ bitly accounts for scheduled reviews. For example, I’ll go through a client account and see where their strong points are, identify trends in their performance and make suggestions on how they can better serve their audience. I also work on streamlining customer feedback between our Success and Product Development teams and research ways to make bitly more accessible and useful on a larger scale.

How’s your experience been?

My experience at bitly has been awesome and my team is so helpful. One of the key benefits of working at a smaller company is that it is easy to move around and get all sorts of experience. Because of that, I’ve had the opportunity to meet so many great and intelligent people as well as expand my skills to new and exciting projects.

What are your plans for the future?

My real passion in life is to use the skills and expertise that I’ve learned and apply those to charitable causes. In the world we live in today, where technology is so important, I believe we can harness these concepts and apply them in ways that have traditionally been reserved for the nonprofit sector. Working at bitly and seeing the impact that our platform has in real-time has definitely raised my personal aspirations for how technology can be applied to achieve utilitarian goals.

Tobias Domhan, science intern

Tobias Domhanis adding some international flavor to the Science Team this summer. He’s a graduate student studying applied computer science at the University of Freiburg in Germany. Last year, Tobias took part in the Allgäu-Orient Rally, a fundraising event where participants race old cars from Oberstaufen, Germany to Azerbaijan. More than one hundred teams participated and Tobias’ team won second place - which was OK with him, because first prize was a camel.

What are you working on?

I’m mainly working on stories with our new Story API. We know how links behave, so now I’m working to see if stories behave differently and keeping track of how they behave over time.

I recently built an animated gif visualization of bitly clicks around the world in a day. People don’t seem to sleep a lot - you can always see traffic all over the place, especially in New York City.

How has your experience been?

It’s really interesting, I’ve had fun and I like the startup atmosphere. It’s great being able to get my hands dirty using actual data and being able to work with large amounts of data.

What are your plans for the future?

I’ll go back to Germany, maybe work for a startup in Berlin. I’d like to continue analyzing data, studying data science or machine learning.

Whitman Schorn, front-end intern

Whitman Schorn is a 2013 graduate of Oberlin College, where he majored in computer science. He’s working with the Front-End Development Team as a 2013 Turing Fellow. Whit’s from Lockhart, Texas, but his accent was “trained out of him” thanks to his involvement in theatre when he was younger. Lockhart’s been a location in several major movies (right now, it’s the home to a film crew for ‘Transformers 4’) and Whit’s marching band was even featured in the movie ‘Stop Loss.’

What are you working on?

Right now, I’m working on the front-end stuff, mocking up ideas for visual UI. It’s challenging because when it’s wrong, it’s really wrong - but when it’s right, it’s very satisfying. I worked on pages for users to verify their email address, so now everytime I get a verification email, I’m like “I can do that!”

How has your experience been?

It’s been great and there are a lot of things to learn, but also a lot of things to play around with. There’s so much cool stuff on the tech side, especially with data. Usually a company that handles this much data has hundreds of people but here, I can see if someone’s in the office if I stick my head up over my desk. I really like that.

What are your future goals?

Moving to New York was definitely one of them. I hope to stay [in the tech scene], I really dig it here and it’s exciting.

Jackie Serame, sales intern

Jackie Serame is a May 2013 graduate of the NYU Stern School of Business, where she double-majored in economics and information systems. Former class president and avid traveler (she’s been to 28 countries), she’s currently interning with the Enterprise Sales team and sneaking in weekend trips when she can.

What are you working on?

Right now, I’m helping client services by figuring out how we can position ourselves to best address each industry’s needs based on the features and changes of Bitly Enterprise.

How has your experience been?

There’s definitely a community feel here, which I really like. There’s a huge range of people here in different stages of their career and their lives and I really enjoy meeting these people and hearing about what they want to do. I feel like I learn a lot through that and love working in strong team environments.

What are your future plans?

One of my big goals is to work abroad in the next few years - that’s always been a dream of mine. After this internship, I will be a sales analyst in an investment bank and hope to go back to school when the time is right.

Krista Harbold, science intern

Krista Harbold is a senior computer engineering major at George Washington University who is helping out the Science Team this summer. She built and wrote the software for her own machine that drills things out of wood, pre-3D printing days, and has experience flying fighter jets.

What are you working on?

I’m doing a few different things. I’m working on providing more intelligence to assist the business teams through data, metrics and dashboards. I’m also working on some stuff with user and customer retention, showing what sectors of our users stick around the longest, where they spend their time on bitly, what they’re interested in and seeing if we can do a better job tailoring to those areas.

How has your experience been?

It’s been great. I really like the fact that with the science team, I can chase after what I find interesting. I came up with my own project and got to see where it goes - not a lot of people get to do that.

What are your plans for the future?

After I graduate in December, I’m going into the Navy. I have a 4.5 year commitment as a part of ROTC. After that, I plan to come back to New York either to work in startups or start one of my own. I’m definitely planning on going into data science.

Josh Matthews, engineering intern

Josh Matthews, a computer science major at Rutgers University, is joining the Engineering Team as a 2013 hackNY Fellow. He’s the events coordinator for the computer science club at Rutgers and this year, he’ll help set up events to connect companies with computer science students. As a hackNY fellow, Josh gets to chat with major players in the tech industry from companies like Birchbox to 4chan while he’s in New York.

What are you working on?

I’ve been mostly working on on our new audience analysis tool, helping to add the notifications system. As part of it, I’ve been learning about NSQ and how bitly’s infrastructure is set up. It’s been really interesting to work on a project that has to operate at such a large scale.

How has your experience been?

It’s been really cool because I started working on code other people wrote, but once I got the hang of things I started writing more of my own. So far, I’ve learned a lot; I’ve worked with other students at my [college] job and at hackathons, but before this I hadn’t worked on a large team with such a focus on code quality and usability.

What are your plans for the future?

When I first started, I asked to do something on the backend, like what I’ve been working on, because I have mostly front-end experience. I wanted to try something different and see what I like. Right now, my main focus is to get through junior year and get another internship next summer.

Ryder Moody, infrastructure intern

Ryder Moody is a senior computer science student from Columbia University helping out with the Infrastructure Team. Originally interested in mechanical engineering, Ryder switched his major after his freshman year when he had an idea for a website and decided to build it himself. Now, he’s working on bitly’s infrastructure during the day and working with his friends on a building their own news-sharing platform in his free time.

What are you working on?

I’m working a lot on Plan Z, our backup system - the idea is if our main infrastructure goes down, we still want to be able to allow our users to click on links no matter what. We have a system meant to be super self-contained, but still reliable and available.

How has your experience been?

It’s been really good. One of the things I noticed immediately was that I was given a lot of real responsibility right away. It’s nice to be contributing to something and to be looked at as a peer, not just an intern. The biggest thing that I’ve been getting out of it is a sort of holistic learning - I’m jumping around learning systems-level stuff, all sort of infrastructure stuff and it’s much more holistic how everything fits together.

What are your plans for the future?

I want to keep working in startups and continue doing what I’ve been doing here, either in New York or San Fran.

 

Are you interested in joining our team? Take a look at our internship opportunities and current openings by visiting the job board.

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Highlight your online work with bitly

The internet is a powerful tool to share almost anything, this includes sharing your achievements. Whether you’re a writer or a contractor, there are hundreds of different tools to display your work online. While many of us have online content we’d like to share, that content is often located in many different places across the web.

If you’re searching for job opportunities, designing a new business card or speaking at a conference, you can use bitly bundles to create an easy online portfolio to showcase your work and achievements all in one location. You can easily share this bundle anywhere you’d like, online or in print.

Interested in getting started? Sign into your bitly account and create a bundle filled with links to your writing samples, online projects, key social media accounts, and other useful information - the sky’s the limit!  You can add comments to your bundle to provide context for each link.

 

Create a bundle of your work

Next, save your bundle URL as a bitly shortlink. You can add a custom keyword ending to your link or even get a custom short domain for advanced personal branding.

Paste your bitly link right into online job applications, your business card, a presentation slide or at the top of your resume.

Add your shortlink to a business card, resume, or job application.

It’s a quick and easy way to share your online presence and past work with others!

Do you use bundles to highlight your online work? Let us know in the comments! Have questions? Email support@bitly.com or shoot us a tweet.

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Simple OAuth Code Examples for the bitly API

We here at bitly want to make using our API as easy as possible but we know that OAuth is a bit of a conundrum.  It’s a great idea for user authentication overall but it can be an enormous pain to implement.  As a developer, you clearly would much rather focus on building what you want to make and not waste time on things that are not core to your project.  

With that in mind, we have made some examples of how to implement the bitly OAuth web flow in a number of different programming languages that you can use.  We did our best to make these as simple as possible so you can not only use them in your project but also have a better understanding of how the authentication process works.

The examples are currently available on our dev site in the Code Libraries page and you can access the bundle right now at http://bit.ly/bitlyoauthexamples.

As of right now we have examples in Rails, PHP, Python, Node.js and also a link to the Temboo library which also has an easy to use Bitly OAuth implementation.

If you have a language you would like us to add or an OAuth example that you have written that you would like us include in this bundle just send an email to api[at]bitly.com.

We would also like to give a special shout out to Kfir Shay (https://twitter.com/kfir) for creating the Rails and Python examples. (Thanks Kfir!)

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Introducing the new bitly plugin for WordPress!

We are excited to share our new WordPress plugin for self-hosted WordPress blogs. You can download it on our tools page here.

The plugin allows you to automatically create a bitly link for each new post you publish. These shortlinks will be saved in your bitly account and pushed to your pre-existing WordPress share tools.

The plugin also has a bitly sidebar widget you can display on your blog to share your most popular or most recent bitly links. Or you can display the top results from the bitly universe for a search term of your choosing.

bitly Wordpress plugin

So get started today and install the WordPress plugin here.

Have any questions? You can email us at support[at]bitly.com.

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Track your own stats: save links while signed in

Sometimes, the most interesting data is closest to home: what’s happening with the specific bitly links that you are sharing?

Good news! You can gather information all about your own bitly links - just by creating a bitly account.

There are a bunch of great reasons to sign up for a bitly account - you can access our cool tools like the Chrome Extension and Bitmarklet, track information about all of your links and organize your bitly links with bundles.

Here’s one more reason - only if you have a bitly account can you generate your own, unique bitly link. This unique bitly link will let you track information specific to your link, like who’s clicking on your link, how your link’s traffic compares to others’ and which social networks are driving traffic to your link.

Saving links without a bitly account

When you shorten a link without signing into a bitly account, we give you what we call a ‘global bitly link.’ We give the same exact bitly link to every user who shortens a link to that same long URL if they are not signed into an account.

global link

When you visit the info page for any of our global bitly links (which you can do by adding a ‘+’ sign to the end of a bitly link), you’ll see the stats collected for all bitly links that direct to that content. It doesn’t matter how many users create a bitly link to this long URL - all the stats are aggregated together to track the total number of clicks among all bitly links.

Track your stats with a bitly account

If you create a shortlink while signed into a bitly account, you are given your own unique bitly link. By having your own bitly link, you can track your stats separately from those of anyone else who creates a bitly link to the same content.

With a bitly account, you can do more than check your own stats - you can see how your link compares to other bitly links and track its influence on the internet.

your stats

global vs your stats

Importing bitly links

If you’ve been shortening links without a bitly account, that’s okay. You can import the last ten links you’ve shortened on that device into your bitly account when you create it.

import links

After you log in to your new bitly account, click on the ‘Import these links’ button and the shortlinks will be saved into your account. You’ll be given a new bitly link for each of the links you’ve saved - this will allow you to track your individual stats on the info page for your new bitly link.

You can sign up for a bitly account here. Have any questions? We’re here to help! Email us with any questions, comments or ideas at support [at] bitly [dot] com.

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A chat with Bitlyopath, the winners of the bitly hackathon!

A few weekends ago we ‘Hacked to the Future’ during a one-day hackathon at bitly HQ, hosted by bitly and Sociocast.

After several hours hacking away at the Sociocast and bitly APIs, the Winner of Best Overall Project was awarded to the six person team, Bitlyopath. Their hack, which you can check out here, used the bitly and Sociocast APIs to find bursting phrases that were music related and used these searches to call YouTube videos featuring that song or artist.

We were able to sit down with the entire team; Mike Caprio, Jonathan Roberts, Gina Maini, Matthew Zadrozny, Juan Müller, and Maria Mendez to learn more about Bitlyopath, the team behind the hack, and their interest in the bitly API.

bitlyopath.combitlyopath.com home page, complete with Gina’s Evil Beethoven illustration.

Tell us more about Bitlyopath and how you used the bitly and sociocast API.

Jonathan: We thought it would be nice to take trending news from bitly and filter that to create a playlist for the news right now. We used the bitly API for bursting and hot links to get an idea of trending topics and the sociocast API to get a deep profile of what each story was about, giving us keywords and categories. The bitly story API gave us phrases to tie to a story, which were passed into the Rovi API to get song recommendations. 

How did you come up with the idea for Bitlyopath?

Gina: I stood up and said I wanted to do something with music and we were all sort of jiving off on that. At some point, Mike said the word playlist and that was something concrete so we thought “we can do this.” That’s when the project became more real.

What were some highlights from the day?

Jonathan: When Gina put together the awesome sketch of Evil Beethoven [for the site homepage] I was thinking yeah that’s good - we can knock this out.

Gina:  I had previously done hackathons as a designer still learning programming. Being in the eye of the storm with all these amazingly talented people around me was awesome. It was a whimsical/hectic last couple of hours.

Juan: It was very refreshing [working with this team], I felt very well taken care of regarding the skills on the table and I knew we didn’t have to stress because something cool was going to happen regardless. The biggest highlight of the whole day was finding out that Jonathan designed the Game of Thrones maps.

Gina: Yes, and how casually it came up. He was like “Oh by the way I’m the cartographer for Game of Thrones.” I took a departure emotionally for about an hour.

bitlyopath group photo at bitly hackathon

Bitlyopath team with the judges and bitly platform manager, Andrew Pinzler. 

What did you take away from the hackathon?

Mike: I’m pretty excited about future uses of the bitly API, I think it’s really exciting that bitly is providing these new tools and insights. I’ve always wondered about bitly’s view on the world in terms of social search and trending topics. I’m anticipating that some really great projects will be built from these APIs.

Jonathan: It’s great to work with a group of people you haven’t met and see the cool tools they use in day to day work. I learned about a new javascript library and a load of things that people use to work on projects with. It’s a great way to pick up new things.

Interested in learning more about the hackathon? Sociocast wrote a great recap post about the entire day, which you can read here.

Interested in playing around with the bitly API on your own? Get started at dev.bitly.com and check out our quick start guide here. Stay tuned for more data-rich APIs from bitly in the near future!

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Tell us what you think for a chance to win cool bitly swag!

We love feedback at bitly. We’re always interested in learning more about how users like you use our product, what features you’re most excited about and what we can do to improve bitly in the future.

To learn more, we’re inviting you to fill out this quick feedback form to help us gain a better understanding of how you currently use bitly and what you’d like to see on our site.

In addition, when you submit a feedback form you will also be automatically entered in a chance to win an awesome collection of bitly swag, similar to what you see below!

bitly swag you can win if you submit our feedback form

Pretty awesome, right? So stop what you’re doing and fill out the form here. Thanks!


Winners will be contacted in three weeks on Thursday, July 11th. If you have any questions please email us at support[at]bitly.com or leave a comment below.