True Frenemies: Facebook Works Both Against And With Bit.ly

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Remember several months ago when both Google and Facebook decided to get into the URL shortening game? We wondered if Bit.ly, the market leader, was fu.kd? And we were hardly alone.

But nearly a year later, it seems like they’re doing more than fine as neither Facebook nor Google seemed to take their shortener too seriously for much of that time. It was only just about a month ago that Google opened up their goo.gl product to more directly compete with Bit.ly. But it looks like Facebook, which runs fb.me, has sort of gone the other way. They’re actually now working with Bit.ly.

Have you noticed the URLs on Twitter and elsewhere with the “on.fb.me” domain? Those are actually Facebook links that have been shortened by Bit.ly. Don’t believe me? Just add a “+” to any of the on.fb.me domains and you’ll be taken to a Bit.ly page with detailed analytics for that link. For example, try this one that Facebook’s own Brandee Barker sent out on Twitter recently.

To be clear, fb.me is still run by Facebook itself, but the company apparently realized that a lot of users (and even some employees like Barker) were still using Bit.ly to shorten links, so they decided to work with Bit.ly to have some branding on those links as well. Hence, on.fb.me.

Google, meanwhile, doesn’t do this. Any Google link shortened with Bit.ly will just get the generic bit.ly URL. They remain frenemies minus the whole “fr” part.

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