People have been using bit.ly links for a long time now. There have been several URL shortening tools out there, and bit.ly has stuck around, probably because of its reliable service and easy-to-read stats that reveals if the link was clicked on.
If you are presented with a bit.ly link from a friend in an email or on Twitter or any other platform, but want to see where the link really goes before clicking on it, do this:
- Enter a + sign after the bit.ly link. Do this in the address bar of your browser. You will be taken to the bit.ly website, who will show you who posted that link (under which user account the link was created), and also where it actually goes.
Often times, people use bit.ly links because they think that a shorter link in an email is more convenient. Other times, people who are connected with affiliate programs will recommend a link, when, if clicked on, they get a commission on the sale. That's all fine and good, but you may want to know if there is a commission behind a recommendation.
Really, it's best used for environments with very limited spaces, such as Twitter. You don't even need to use it when you're posting a link in Facebook because Facebook just pulls the link and reveals the page. If you are sharing a link with folks, do use the whole URL. That is the most reliable way. If you use a URL shortening tool, you are reliant on their server being up, and sometimes, they blip out, causing your link to not work at odd times.
Thanks bit.ly for answering this in such an easy manner.