bitly Application Guidelines

So you want to make an app! That’s great. We’ve done our best to put everything you need to build something right here, from app registration to API documentation. Terms of service for app development can be complex and difficult to understand, so we’ve provided some guidelines in the form of a handy hypothetical Q&A below:

What’s the bitly API all about? What kind of app should I build?

WHEREVER THERE ARE LINKS, THERE IS A PLACE FOR BITLY. And, y’know, links are pretty much everywhere. bitly is a reliable, flexible and powerful way to save and share content from anywhere on the web. If you’re building any kind of app that involves pushing content to different social networks, or where your users might want to remember a piece of content for later, there’s a bitly for you!

I want to call my app “bitly for Android.” Is that cool?

NOPE. You can’t call your app anything that would make people think that we made it or endorse it in any capacity. Frankly, we don’t know why you would want us to take credit for your work, anyhow!

Ok, fine. How about “DeveloperCorp’s Awesome bitly App.” Is that cool?

SURE, BUT make sure that you note explicitly in your app’s description that “this application uses the bitly API, but is neither developed nor endorsed by bitly.” We don’t explicitly forbid the use of the word “bitly” in the name of your app, but you need to be clear that you are not making an official app.

I want to charge money for my app. is THAT cool?

YES, BUT you need to be charging for the value you’re adding to the bitly API, not for access to the API itself. For example, you can’t make an app that charges a dollar for each URL shortened via the bitly API. However, if you invest in making a beautiful, unique and useful app that uses the bitly API for saving, shortening and/or sharing links, you are absolutely welcome to charge money for it. If you’re unsure, just ask.

My company’s logo is a unicorn. Yours is a pufferfish. Can the logo for my app be a unicorn kissing a pufferfish?

SERIOUSLY? So long as it is a generic pufferfish and does not look like the official bitly puffer, sure. Also, this is obviously the least of your problems...

Alright, fine. I built an application that uses the bitly API to save, shorten and share links. It’s called “Timmy’s Rad Link Shortening Service.” It doesn’t mention bitly anywhere. Is that okay?

NOPE. You can’t rebuilt bitly and call it something else without proper attribution. Just mention that “Timmy’s Rad Link Shortening Service” is powered by bitly but “neither developed nor endorsed by bitly,” and you’ll be fine.

I think my app is really good. So good that you should promote it. Or maybe buy it for a ton of money.

O RLY? Drop us a line at api@bitly.com. We’re always excited to hear about cool things that people are doing with our API.

I hate cutesy hypothetical Q&As, and love dense legal documents. Just cut to the chase already.

VERY WELL. Behold, the complete bitly Terms of Service.

… ok, I lied. The terms of service are confusing and a little scary. I’m not sure if you guys are going to be cool with the app I’m making, or if it’s a little sketchy.

FAIR ENOUGH. If you’re really not sure, just drop us a line at api@bitly.com. We want you to build awesome things with our API, we just want to make sure it’s clear that you built them. We’re here to help!