Google+ Branding with Custom Vanity URL Rollout

The History

For a little less than a year since Google officially launched its social network, Google+ users had to bear with the long and many consider hard to memorize profile or page URLs featured by a 21-digit all-numeric ID sub-directory looking like this:  https://plus.google.com/171737345584353564962/posts.

Google+ Custom Vanity URLs Roll-out

This week Google finally made the move to start offering some selected users a way to create their favorite “shortened” alpha-numeric version of their sub-directory name. Often people would choose something representative of their brand such as personal name, company name, product brand, domain name, etc. We are excited about this move and do recommend all our BlueMarketing, BlueCommerce, and BlueService plan customers to register their brand name URL in Google+ as it becomes available to the general public. For most of you, this will be your website name you registered for your Blueurl Cloud Hosting account.

URL Variations

There are now a few custom URL variations you can consider as your anchor link with different sub-domain vs. apex-domain and SSL vs. non-SSL combination. We use Toyota Google+ profile as an example here to illustrate (sorted from the shortest to the longest URL):

All of them get redirected to the same landing page (https://plus.google.com/+toyota/posts) on your Google+ site when user click through the link. Now although we like the decision Google made to offer custom URL alias to the site level, appending /posts sub-directory to the landing page is still not user-friendly and unnecessary from our branding point of view. Your root directory should be the home page of your Google+ site, period.

So What Happens Next?

Google started the initial roll-out of this new feature only to selected customers this week – namely a sub-group of the well-known businesses and public figures like Toyota and Britney Spears. This is very likely an early round of beta pre-production deployment to verify the functionality and fix any bugs as they arise as the group is so limited at this point. There is no official announcement yet from Google team with regard to when the general availability (GA) of this feature will be.

Soon after this beta testing round is concluded, we predict Google will start the mass invitation to all major brands and significant individuals who have verified Google+ accounts to reserve their preferred brand name before general availability to public. This is necessary to ensure the most important customers get a chance to reserve their trademark terms and names ahead of the public and reduce possible backfire due to trademark disputes. This period will likely takes a couple of month to a few month as the group is not small and there will be expected lag between the invitation/announcement and the action taken by the brands.

Finally, when the grace period is over, announcement will be made to make this feature available to general public. As we saw from the initial rollout of Facebook vanity name back in 2009, we fully expect the initial waves of Google+ vanity URL registration to be HUGE in the first few days as this feature is so awaited for by nearly all the online marketers and webmasters. So if do have a valuable brand you would like to protect, stay very tuned in on Google+ Developer BlogBlueurl Blog, Blueurl Google+, Tweets, or other update services in the next few weeks/months!

 

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