Vanity URLs seem to be the current trend. Facebook integrated the feature in 2009, Google+ joined in 2011, and Twitter became the latest member last December by allowing Vine accounts to sport their own. What’s with the story behind these more personalized URLs and how do they benefit the parties involved?
Social media vanity URLs follow a single format: “domain.com/username.” This simplifies the search for a certain social media page, allowing visitors to find and access social media pages with ease. This isn’t the only format of a vanity URL; some can take the form of conventional URLs, as in “domain.com,” which is ideal for brand control.
Good contest software like those developed by Skild, capitalize on vanity URLs as a brand control solution. Instead of using the host company’s website, a contest can have its own website and URL, putting a lot of focus on the contest itself instead of the company or organization hosting it. To understand a vanity URL at work, take the website of the 2014 Winter Olympics at Sochi for example.
The organizer, the International Olympic Committee, has its own website (Olympic.org). To put more focus on the event, however, the IOC gave it a separate website (Sochi2014.com). While the IOC also publishes news regarding the event on their website, people are more likely to look for the Sochi Winter Olympics than the IOC in search engines.
Overall, vanity URLs give any competition the benefit of exposure, even though a separate site may mean additional work. These URLs are easier to remember and share, online and offline, as in the case of the Winter Olympics. Modern award software is capable of providing contests their own vanity URLs, given their popularity over the years.
(Article information from “Twitter to launch vanity URLs for Vine users’ profiles on Dec. 20,” CNET, December 18, 2013)