Ugly URLs Be Gone! Google+ Opens Vanity URLs For Certain Accounts

google-plus-red-128Google+ is taking the first step toward what will be a big and important change that could help uptake and activity on the year-old social network: vanity/custom URLs.

Limited Availablity, At First

Google employee Saurabh Sharma announced the news on Google+, saying that vanity URLs will initially only be available on a limited basis:

At first, we’re introducing custom URLs to a limited number of verified profiles and pages. But over time we plan to offer custom URLs to many more brands and individuals, so please stay tuned!

Brands, Celebrities & The Oatmeal

Some of those verified accounts that now have vanity URLs include Delta Airlines, Britney Spears, Hugh Jackman, Toyota and others.

Matthew Inman, the artist behind The Oatmeal comic still doesn’t have a vanity URL of his own, despite his wish earlier this year. Inman, who’s well-followed on Google+, had joked:

I still wish I could set up a fancy profile URL so I don’t have to link people to http://plus.google.com/blergasdf1234thimbleturdorgasm99meatpoopypoopxv9donkeypie when I want them to follow me.

Last night, TechCrunch reported that the joke URL that Inman made up started redirecting to his actual profile. That’s not the same as having his own vanity name, such as http://plus.google.com/+matthewinman.

Someday, Everyone Will Have Their Own Name

Eventually, Google says, vanity URLs will “be available to people and pages worldwide.” But there’s no word on when or how that will happen.

This is a big and important step for Google. Profile URLs (like mine — plus.google.com/108652640482631482795/) are long, ugly, and essentially impossible to promote. The Boston Celtics, for example, can easily advertise their @Celtics Twitter handle right on their home court flooring, but they wouldn’t dare try doing anything similar with plus.google.com/116274984352579031823.

At Google’s I/O conference in June, Google+ VP Bradley Horowitz revealed that custom URLs would be coming soon, and admitted that users “shouldn’t have to give someone a 16-digit number” to connect with another Google+ user.

Related Topics: Channel: Social Media Marketing | Google: Google+ | Social Media Marketing | Top News

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About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Marketing Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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  • http://twitter.com/Chunkford Paul Mumford

    About time

  • http://twitter.com/Cutrer Bill Cutrer

    Great I just got my G+ url tattooed across my back… 

  • John Hattan

    I’ve been using gplus.to. I know it’s not google, but gplus.to/johnhattan isn’t nearly as bad as that longass number.

  • Matt McGee

     ROFL! Well-played, Bill.

  • http://www.SmartInternetBusinessSolutions.co.uk/ Tarjinder S. Kailey

    This is such a good news, as we find it hard to promote our G+ page with those numbers. It could be a great help for branding and getting more connections. I’m pretty sure that this would encourage people and small businesses to promote their site and get a chance to be active on G+.

  • http://www.seo-theory.com/ Michael Martinez

    And people have not been using URL shorteners to promote their Google+ profile pages because…?

  • http://antezeta.com/news/ Sean Carlos

    For those who may have forgotten, individuals who had a Google profile with a gmail address before Google+ launched already have a vanity URL, e.g. http://profiles.google.com/seancarlos

  • Matt McGee

    Just between us, Sean, I wouldn’t want a vanity URL that matches my Gmail address. :-)

  • http://antezeta.com/news/ Sean Carlos

    Fair point, but Google gets high marks in my book for their spam filtering system, including the flag as spam option :-)

  • http://wpsites.net/ Brad Dalton

     Saurabh Sharma hides his face on Google +. That means he’s a rat

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