Bit.ly, a leader in the commoditized link shortening space, lost its CEO today. In an oddly terse statement, the company announced on its blog that its leader, Peter Stern, has stepped down.
He’ll “pursue other interests,” according to the firm. Bit.ly noted that the will remain a “shareholder and supporter.” TNW reads that as affirmation that Stern will have no continuing operating influence at the firm. If he was fired, or has left of his own decision isn’t clear.
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Unlike Andrew Mason, Stern hasn’t detailed his departure. Bit.ly has raised north of $25 million, with its last round clocking in last July to the tune of $15 million. The company remains, therefore, likely well capitalized.
To be delicate, link shortening is a feature. A feature that Bit.ly has built a business around by providing a developer platform and analytics service to extend the value of its product. The company today noted that Stern “has been instrumental in transforming Bitly into a successful business.” The intimation here is that Bit.ly has myriad customers.
Why then it would shed its CEO is an open question. Perhaps the company is in need of a fresh direction as its core product is simple enough that individuals have replicated for their own personal use; what financial value it can extract from link analystics in the long term isn’t clear.
As TechCrunch’s Drew Olanoff noted, “Bitly has […] cooled off since services like Twitter have started handling their own short-URLs.” The company hasn’t stated who will be its next head.
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