Big business for shortened links (CNN) -- On the surface, a fast-growing service called Bit.ly performs a small task: it shortens URLs. Short URLs are booming thanks to social network tools like Twitter with character limits. That's useful when you want to share links on social networking sites like Twitter that limit the size of your messages, which helps explain why URL shortening services in general are proliferating. But Bit.ly, a startup that's part of the New York-based incubator Betaworks, goes further than many of its peers. With little effort, regular users can see -- in real time -- the number of clicks received by their Bit.ly link, the location of the person clicking, and the service used at the time of the click (Facebook, Twitter, etc.). Launched about a year ago, Bit.ly is now being used to shorten 8 to 10 million links a day, according to general manager Andrew Cohen. "You don't need a tech team to use Bit.ly," said Cohen. Bit.ly benefits from the Twitter arrangement on multiple levels.
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The Architecture of Mailinator Almost 3.5 years ago I started the Mailinator(tm) service. I got the bulk of the idea from my drunk roommate at the time and the first incarnation took me all of about 3 days to code up. In some senses it was a crazy idea. As far I know, it was the first site of its kind. This became ridiculously handy for things like signing up for websites that send you one confirmation email, then save or sell or spam your email address forever. I have in that 3.5 years received hundreds of "thank you" emails, a pile of "it doesn't work" emails, a radio interview, articles in the Washington Post, New York Times, and Delta Skymiles magazine, 1 call from both Scotland Yard and the LAPD, and a total of 4 subpoenas (1 of those being a Federal Grand Jury subpoena issued by the FBI). At this point, Mailinator averages approximately 2.5million emails per day. In the world of email services, this probably isn't all that much. Mailinator easily handling a few million emails a day wasn't always the case. . .