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Bitly picks up $20M in funding

The popular URL-shortening company reportedly has raised a boatload of cash, which will most likely be used to develop new products like a viral search engine.

Screenshot by Dara Kerr/CNET

Bitly, a tech company known for URL shortening, looks like it's heading toward greener pastures and making more user products. The New York-based company is said to have raised about $20 million in funding, according to tech news site The Verge, citing multiple sources. This is double the amount the company raised in its previous round of funding.

"The link shortening has always been a bit of a Trojan Horse," investor Joshua Stylman told The Verge. "Bitly is really an analytics tool for tracking content across the open, distributed web, and doing it at a massive, real-time scale."

Although Bitly is most well-known for its link-shortening service, it actually has a host of other products. According to The Verge, the company's front-and-center business now is providing a real-time way for companies to track their links throughout the Web to see how the links are spreading.

When Twitter launched its own URL-shortening service in 2010, many people thought Bitly would have to bow out of the business. However, Bitly had already begun working on expanding its other services. For example, in 2009, the company launched, which displayed a real-time collage of the most-linked videos.

"They survived the Twitter storm and emerged with a service that isn't reliant on any one social network," Stylman said.

The Verge speculates that the latest round of funding will be for even more Bitly consumer products, including a viral search engine that shows users what's trending in real time around the Web.