Short URL are usually non branded
A short URL is used to redirect to the exact desired page in a complex website, while keeping it short in length. This is very convenient for technologies such as Twitter that limit the number of characters. They can also be used to mask the underlying adress, which may be used for illegitimate reasons.
Initially, shorter URL were use to make a link more efficient and clear. They can be easily communicated, copy pasted, and limit mistakes when typing.
Short URL are usually offered by a certain number of services that have a short domain name, and then use a short URL path after the domain name. The path changes for every link, and usually uses alphanumerical caracters, . The length of the path is driven minimally by the number of URLS that are shortened. A one character path could only have a very small number of links – the 26 latin caracters plus numbers. other characters ( accents, chinese, arabic and other characters ) are avoided because the do not appear on all the keyboards. Amongst the most popular shortener services is bitl.ly.
Branding of short URL
From a brand point of view, it would be preferable to have a domain name that’s short and that also relates to the brand.
The social networks have built some dedicated services to have branded short links pointeing at the massive volume of their User Generated Content. Youtube and Google short URL generator uses a short domain name that merges the top and second level domain name – youtu.be and goo.gl. It makes sense for these major sites to have done the effort to acquire such names. Twitter is using a very short domain name : t.co.
Some brands were also able to get relevant domain names. The swiss watch manufacturer uses swat.ch since 2012, to create short URL leading to his content. This also is very relevant as it related to the swiss made. They also can use a significant path name – here Solleore, the name of the product. Microsoft is more simply using msft.it, followed by a significant name as well.
New TLD and short URL
The new TLD enables some brands to create their own URL shortener.
Tiffany is using TCO.nyc, showing their new-york DNA, and only using 6 characters. The path of the URL is then random characters.
The branded TLD – such as .swatch – enable to create even more powerfull short URL. Swatch uses them on facebook and on twitter. Facebook is not limited by the number of caracters and the full domain name, including www. and the country / language is used, while only pop.swatch is used on Twitter.
Today, more than half of the 4’000 dot brand domains are redirects. Short URL may be one of the uses of dot brands.