As reported by others, link-shortening site Bitly has last week launched bitly.tv, which lays out the most-linked (by Bitly) videos in a grid formation, allowing visitors to see “What the world is watching now.”
The advantage of bitly.tv is that it offers a real-time look at content that might be trending soon, as opposed to sites like Viral Video Chart, which monitor what’s now trending. While I observed some videos being featured that have popped up elsewhere, it also includes videos from sites that rarely make the viral charts like Funny or Die or College Humor, which is how I found this pretty amazing Jersey Shore parody video, featuring The Situation, Snooki, and Pauly D from the MTV reality show.
However, while the interface is flashy and fun to play with, I caught the occasional bug. For example, when I was watching a video in the bitly.tv light box, there was odd artifacting left behind by the site’s “loading” icon (see below — the error seems to be limited so far to Safari on OS X).
Also, while I was able to use the provided tools to share a video via email or Twitter, I couldn’t get the Facebook integration to work — when I tried to share a video, the text went away leaving me with a link to “http://bitly.tv/undefined.” This occurred in both Safari and Firefox.
In addition, one flaw I potentially see is that by only measuring the amount of Twittering generated by a video, not the number of actual views the video gets, the system could be easily gamed by auto-retweeting accounts. Monitoring Facebook reposting as well, though, might help compensate for this.
Once these bugs get worked out, though, bitly.tv could make for a valuable tool for those who seek to stay on top of the viral video scene. Is there a profit in picking out the next viral hits, though? Probably not.