December 18, 2009

The jury is still out on’s new video tracking service

Picture 4 the URL shortener and tracking service, has launched its own video tracking service called Bitly.TV.

A whopping 2bn links a month pass through’s link shortening service, which enables the company to see some of the most shared content on the internet. Given that is the most popular way people share links on Twitter, it might be more accurate to call Bitly.TV Twitter TV.

The videos featured on Bitly.TV are ranked according to’s bitrank algorithm, which looks at “velocity, popularity and persistence”.

When you click on a video it opens up in a lightbox player along with a live stream of Tweets and the ability to share it again on Twitter, Facebook, or via email.

As you watch your chosen video, you get the real time commentary in a box on the right and a retweet number so you get an idea of how viral it is and why.

It looks pretty smart, but initial results looked mixed. For example, the Iron Man 2 trailer has been one of the most buzzed about pieces of content since going live yesterday but it wasn’t anywhere to be seen when I looked at the service this morning, while the Rick Roll video was right up there. Surely, this one has run its course by now?

I’ve checked back and it’s now there, but it seemed a bit slow to catch on. Truveo, on the other hand, had the IM2 trailer in its top 3 when didn’t. What’s more, the sample of videos tracked by the new service appears to be limited to just YouTube. However, the service has only just launched, so perhaps this is undue criticism.

The data around URL shorteners is becoming a crowded space, with Facebook and Google recently getting in on the act with and

The launch of, however, has raised the bar a little bit higher. No doubt, Google and others will hit back with a response of their own, which is good news for anyone interested in measurement and effectiveness in the viral space.