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You might think of Bit.ly simply as a service that shortens links for your Twitter feed. But to Hilary Mason, the company’s chief scientist, Bit.ly is building a fresh new way to know what’s going on in the world.

Check out this video to learn more about Bit.ly’s mission and what inspires Mason to keep innovating.

Read more about how Bit.ly reveals the web and the world.

See more from our Who’s Next series for more profiles of big thinkers.

Quora Answer of the Week:
As violence engulfs Libya, naturally Americans are most concerned with how all of this will affect them. The top-level domain for Libya is .ly, which is a popular alternative to the .com and is frequently associated with its usage as a URL shortener. Once again Quora, continues to generate information you can’t find anywhere else.
The question: “What will happen to http://bit.ly links if Gaddafi shuts down the Internet in Libya due to protests?”
The answer: Don’t worry. There will be no interruption.
Says John Borthwick, CEO, http://bit.ly

Should Libya block Internet traffic, as Egypt did, it will not affect http://bit.ly or any .ly domain.    For .ly domains to be unresolvable the five .ly root servers that are authoritative *all* have to be offline, or responding with empty responses. Of the five root nameservers for the .ly TLD: two are based in Oregon, one is in the Netherlands and two are in Libya.  
And http://bit.ly will continue to do everything we can to ensure we offer our users the best service we possibly can. That includes offering options around which top level domain you use. Many users choose to use http://j.mp/ as an alternative to http://bit.ly, given that it is shorter. And some use http://bitly.com.
Our job is to provide the best service we can via our sites and our API and we will continue to do that. For now we can only hope for a peaceful resolution to the events in the middle east.


Related: See a rundown of how social media enabled and accelerated the uprising in Egypt.

Quora Answer of the Week:

As violence engulfs Libya, naturally Americans are most concerned with how all of this will affect them. The top-level domain for Libya is .ly, which is a popular alternative to the .com and is frequently associated with its usage as a URL shortener. Once again Quora, continues to generate information you can’t find anywhere else.

The question: “What will happen to http://bit.ly links if Gaddafi shuts down the Internet in Libya due to protests?”

The answer: Don’t worry. There will be no interruption.

Says John Borthwick, CEO, http://bit.ly

Should Libya block Internet traffic, as Egypt did, it will not affect http://bit.ly or any .ly domain.   

For .ly domains to be unresolvable the five .ly root servers that are authoritative *all* have to be offline, or responding with empty responses. Of the five root nameservers for the .ly TLD: two are based in Oregon, one is in the Netherlands and two are in Libya.  

And http://bit.ly will continue to do everything we can to ensure we offer our users the best service we possibly can. That includes offering options around which top level domain you use. Many users choose to use http://j.mp/ as an alternative to http://bit.ly, given that it is shorter. And some use http://bitly.com.

Our job is to provide the best service we can via our sites and our API and we will continue to do that. For now we can only hope for a peaceful resolution to the events in the middle east.

Related: See a rundown of how social media enabled and accelerated the uprising in Egypt.