Google and Facebook launch short-URLs as Bit.ly goes Pro

Bit.ly, a leading URL-shortener, unveiled its bit.ly Pro, a service aimed at businesses, Web publishers and bloggers, which will provide customized and branded short URLS.

High-profile clients
so far include the Huffington Post, TechCrunch, AOL, Bing and New York Times, which are using the beta version. A customized short URL, or "white label," for the New York TImes is nyti.ms, which is not only cool to have, but also lets readers everywhere know that link is from the New York Times.

Web publishers will also receive more real-time information on traffic. It's also free -- but that may change.

While bit.ly says it's offering transparency and power, it will also likely charge for the service at some point. It's a reasonable assumption to make since bit.ly keeps detailed records of clicks and traffic to each short-URL site, a service that would be valuable to any company. So far, bit.ly's the only short-URL service with a profitable business plan.