Over the past summer Google+ has made a big deal about allowing select members to use vanity URLs. Google stated, “At first, we’re introducing custom URLs to a limited number of verified profiles and pages. But over time we plan to offer custom URLs to many more brands and individuals, so please stay tuned!”
Ok, thanks for the update Google but can you back it up a minute. What exactly is a vanity URL and why would I want one?
A vanity URL is a URL or domain name that relates to a company brand name or product name. It is essentially an abbreviation on a company domain to help people like myself who suffer from sporadic moments of amnesia, the ability to remember their URL. Even if a forget complete the company or product name, the vanity url will still automatically redirect me to the correct site. For instance, if the product name is two words long and I can only remember the first word of the product name, the vanity URL will still redirect me if I only type that first word. That is because an automated 301 redirect feature is supported by the new vanity format.
Ok, I can now see why vanity URLs are useful. Why is Google+ treating it like a VIP service? I believe Google+ is only offering vanity URLs right now to the rich and famous as a way to protect their trademarks. Google+ is essentially given them the first opportunity to claim their trademark URLs before the cybersquatters do. Now this is just a theory. Google+ may also be doing this as a way to create positive buzz around their new vanity format service. People are always looking for the VIP treatment. By making it exclusive, the more people are going to want to have vanity URL once opened to public. You aren’t cool unless you have a vanity URL.
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