I’m not saying there’s necessarily something nefarious going on here, but judge for yourself.
In their source code, Bit.ly has the word “awesome” as one of their meta keywords. This may just seem like some kooky programmer having some fun — until you remember that one of their main rivals is a another URL shortening service called Awe.sm.
Now, Bit.ly is much, much larger than Awe.sm by likely every metric. After all, they were the default URL shortener for Twitter and still are for several of the top Twitter clients use. (We also use them to manage our tcrn.ch domain.) They’re now seeing something around 300,000 Bit.ly links being created every 10 minutes and something around 150 million clicks on those links a day. They’re massive.
So it definitely seems like they wouldn’t need to resort to some silly meta keyword tactic to try and draw in web surfers searching for their rival. And yet, there’s the word in the code, clear as day. There are only three keywords Bit.ly has included in the header, “bit.ly, awesome, url shortener,” two make sense, one does not.