On February 14th, Etsy announced the launch of Etsy Studio in a social post. While Etsy.studio certainly would be a great, memorable domain for their project’s primary website, as Elliot previously suggested, Etsy has at least made an excellent decision to start using the domain on social media. In fact, Etsy is just one of many brands and individuals utilizing a new wave of Branded Short Links.
A Branded Short Link is a URL that is, as the name suggests, both on-brand and short, usually for the purposes of sharing on character-limited social networks like Twitter. Unlike other shortened URLs you’ve seen such as bit.ly or t.co, Branded Short Links are more recognizable, trusted, and attractive to people clicking on them. A study by Bit.ly shows that Branded Short Links actually increase social engagement by 34% over unbranded short domains.
Big brands and their marketing departments are starting to catch on, too. In our own .SOCIAL TLD, we’ve started seeing tech companies Microsoft (MSFT.social) and GoDaddy (GDDY.social) begin to use these short links, as well as broad consumer brands established outside of the tech sphere, like Chick-Fil-A (Chick-Fil-A.social), Lindt Chocolate (Lindt.social), Liverpool Victoria (LV.social), and the New York Jets football team (NYJ.social).
Highly visible brands like these have a great deal of reach on their social networks, leading to greater awareness of .SOCIAL domains. Microsoft’s Twitter presence alone has a reach of nearly 20 million followers across over a dozen brands such as Windows, Skype, and Outlook. Just taking February 2017 as an example, links shared with msft.social had the potential to make over 505 million impressions, and that doesn’t even include retweets. This is the kind of exposure that one company can generate in a single month.
New gTLDs give brands the opportunity to grab short SLDs with a context-appropriate term to the right of the dot. As the Etsy case proves, .SOCIAL isn’t the only TLD that needs to be used this way. Apple uses Apple.news for sharing on iOS, and The Seattle Times uses ST.news in its social feed. The recently launched People EW Network ditched what would have been an awkward domain name and went with PEN.live instead. For online ticket vendor StubHub (StubHub.com), their own link (Stub.live) is both shorter than their primary address, and very on-message considering their focus on live events.
The wave of Branded Short Links proves that big businesses have an interest in short domains for social media. It’s only a matter of time before more businesses opt for meaningful generic domains (think e.news, la.live, or we.social) for short links and beyond. Additionally, short, keyword-rich generic domains are likely much easier to find in new TLDs like .SOCIAL. The larger potential pool of buyers of generic domains combined with programs like our Platinum Brokerage mean that savvy investors looking for new inventory will be able to take advantage of this new trend towards short links.
To see more about these and other Branded Short Link use cases, head over to Showcase.ninja.
Matt Overman, SVP of Sales and Premiums at Rightside
Previously the GM of NameJet, Matt has spent 10+ years in the domain name industry focused on buying, selling, and monetizing premium domain names.