Reasons to Use Your Own Domain Name for Short URLs
Short URL services are nothing new, but the industry is going through a lot of changes recently, and one of the directions that many providers are heading into is to provide users with the ability to created short URLs with their own domain names. These short URLs are called branded short URLs, because the main use case is to have a shorter URL that bears a brand name.
In this article, we are going to talk about some of the benefits of a branded short URLs vs a generic one.
You have more control on how your short URL look like
99.99% of short URLs takes the form of
domain_name/slug. A branded short URL not only gives you the ability to customize the
domain_name but also give you absolute control over the
slug part. when using a shared domain name, you are sharing the slugs you can take with all other users of the same domain. Imaging you want to create a short URL to jump to your blog, most likely the
/blog slug has already been taken by someone else if it is on a shared domain name. But with a branded short URL, you can safely use
your_domain/blog because no one else is competing with you for the
aks.ms is Microsoft's branded short URL. By using a branded short URL, they make sure no one else is competing with them on the
Better brand awareness, link credibility and click rate
Using the same example above, by consistently using the the same domain name(
aka.ms) for their branded short URLs, Microsoft made sure that every link they post on social media and other places on the Internet bares their own branding, instead of someone else's branding, for example, bit.ly.
As a result of this, their short URLs gain more credibility. Because every time people look at a link that starts with
aka.ms, they know that it's posted by Microsoft and it leads to a credible source with reliable information. When a URL is perceived as legit by the audience, the click rate will naturally improve.
Avoid the Bad Neighbor Effect
Because generic short URLs shares the same domain name, the responsibility of maintain a good reputation for the domain name is shared between all users. The reputation here doesn't only mean the reputation among audiences but also the reputation according to Internet firewalls. When a scam or phishing URL send through the same domain name again and again, the domain itself can be tainted and gets blacklisted by firewalls, including the one's used by ISPs, corporations and the ones built-in to many users's browsers.
This is an actual scam SMS that's sent to us recently, and as you can see, it uses a
bit.ly short URL service. We assume most firewalls won't do a blanket blacklist on the whole
bit.ly domain name due to its popularity. But when people has seen enough bad URLs from this domain name, it will nevertheless make potential visitors think twice before clicking a URL from that domain name again.