Bit.ly, the impressive URL shortening service with a wide range of features, announced a the Bit.ly API mashup contest last week. The contest offers a netbook computer and a VIP pass to the Shorty Awards ceremony to the winner. Two runner-up winners will receive a VIP pass to the Shorty Awards ceremony. All developers who submit valid entries will receive some Bit.ly "shwag." More details on our Mashup Contests Guide.
So what are the rules? Contestants must use Bit.ly's new API to "do something interesting, useful, unique, or that enables others to more easily use the bit.ly API." Entries are posted as comments to the contest announcement blog post. The Bit.ly API provides capabilities to shorten long URLs, expand Bit.ly URLs to their original source URL, and get information and traffic and referrer statistics about Bit.ly URLs.
Marshall Kirkpatrick reviewed Bit.ly and was very enthusiastic about the capabilities the service offers:
Bit.ly, a new URL shortening service from the innovation network Betaworks, is launching today with a staggering feature set for both end users and forward-looking developers. We've been waiting for a more intelligent URL shortening service to hit the market but even in our most ambitious visions we haven't seen something like this coming... Bit.ly saves a cached copy forever of every page you shorten a link to, on Amazon's S3 storage... In the background, Bit.ly is analyzing all of the pages that its users create shortcuts to using the Open Calais semantic analysis API from Reuters!
What to build? The Bit.ly team provides some ideas to get you started:
- A blog plugin
- A bookmarklet
- A Twitter bot
- An Outlook plugin
- Client Libraries for various languages (PHP, Ruby, Python, Lua, etc). See JS api for an example: http://bit.ly/4c3Q8
- Amusing implementations for obscure platforms
- Novel or 1337 uses of bit.ly to track, manage, or share content
The API documentation is complete, and provides examples for all of the API methods. See our Bit.ly API profile for more information about the Bit.ly API. Our Calais API profile provides an overview of the semantic analysis tool Bit.ly applies to analyze the pages for which users are making short-cut URLs.
If you're interested, now is the time to develop your app: the contest ends on January 28.