Bit.ly, the popular free link-shortening service, just added new features. Unfortunately, those features mean that the beloved one-click link shortening is no more.
Much like Facebook, Bit.ly has chosen to go with complexity over simplicity. The link-shortening service recently rolled out new sharing and bookmarking features. However, in the Facebook-like move, the Bit.ly folks assumed that everyone would want the new features. Judging from the user response, the new features get in the way of the tool's primary mission: shortening links.
Now, to shorten a link, users must click at least three times and are forced to save the link to a bookmarking service, "bitmarks," and have to reject the option to share on Facebook and Twitter before receiving the shortened link.
Take a look. In order to shorten a link, the user must go to the Add a Bitmark box, now hidden in the upper right corner instead of smack dab in the middle of the page:
I'm assuming that the Bit.ly folks figured that people generally shorten links in order to share them, so why not save users the step and allow them to bookmark and share right away? Makes sense, I suppose, but for users like me, I'm not inclined to suddenly use Bit.ly as my bookmarking and sharing service. I use Diigo for highlighting and bookmarking articles, and I use HootSuite to schedule my sharing. I'm unlikely to switch those functions to Bit.ly just because the company made link shortening more complicated and decided to start promoting sharing.
In fact, since HootSuite does such a good job of tracking shortened link analytics when you use their native link shorteners, users would do well just to switch to the HootSuite shorteners and cut out Bit.ly entirely.