Bitly — formerly one of my favorite link shortening services — shot itself in the foot this week and ate its own toes in releasing an incredibly confounding and confused “update” to what was once a perennially pristine service that was dead nut simple to use.
Now, when you login to Bitly, you are presented with this horrible screen that talks about “Bitmarks” and other junk that makes no sense. Where is my update box for Twitter and Facebook? All I want to is shorten my links with the Boles.co domain and have the update sent to Twitter and Facebook! I can’t find a simple way to make those menial tasks happen any longer.
I used to love Bitly. Here’s my review from a year ago:
Since I just seeded my Bitly.Pro service, I don’t have a lot of stats yet, but the idea of using my brand for shortening blog and web links for the Boles Blogs Network and beyond — and not Twitter’s t.co or WordPress.com’s wp.me — is tremendously pleasing to me as an entrepreneur.
You need access to two domains for Bitly.Pro to work. The first is the domain you want to use as a shortener — I chose my Boles.co domain because it is shorter and sweeter and branded to me — and then you need another website you own that is the home “expanded domain” for the domain shortener like WordPress.com is for wp.me and Twitter.com is for t.co.
I don’t know why Bitly thought their service was lacking or broken and then decided to “fix” it by breaking it. I have no interest in a bookmarking service. I just want a simple way to shorten links with my domain and read my click through stats.
When a company decides to make radical changes to how it offers a service, that company needs to warn its loyal users beforehand to give us plenty of time to move away from drastic changes we neither wanted, or asked for, in the first place.
It seems like they fundamentally will still shorten your URLs but now they just save them all for you in one place. Definitely something they should have notified users before doing.
If I have to spend more than 60 seconds trying to figure out a design change — that is actually a fundamental functionality change — I give up and go back to what I know used to work and still works today.