There’s no shortage of services out there for shortening URLs (here’s our roundup of just a few of the alternatives). But that’s not stopping new entrant bit.ly from making a bit of a splash on its introduction. They offer web or bookmarklet access and the ability to pick your own keyword. The immediate consumer appeal may be limited – they require more clicks than some of the competition for the simple act of shortening a URL and putting the link on your clipboard – but they’re liable to appeal to web developers.
That appeal comes in three pieces. First, they thumbnail the pages you bookmark and mirror backup copies on Amazon. Second, they do link-tracking and give you a simple info page to see what’s happened with your shortened URLs. Third, they offer REST API access to both make bookmarks and retrieve information – making them a prime candidate for mashup use. ReadWriteWeb also says they have semantic and geographic analysis features on the backend, so they’re worth keeping an eye on as a potential semantic mashup partner as well.