Smart brands such as Virgin are using their own branded URL shortener

 In social media

UPDATE: January 2017 – I’ve started using URL shortener and analytics tool Rebrandly. Read my review here.

The post below is from April 2013.

As someone who has been using a customised URL shortener for around 4 years, I take a keen interest in brands and bloggers that set up their own short domain for sharing content on social media sites. In fact you probably arrived at this post by clicking on the link lc.tl/virgin from my tweet, or a variant of this from another platform.

yourls-logo

My original post from 2010 explained how I was using the open source YOURLS platform (Your Own URL Shortener) to power my custom, branded URL shortener at lc.tl.

In 2012, I looked at how the two US Presidential candidates were using their own branded URL shorteners – OFA.BO for the Obama team and mi.tt for Romney’s team.  Not surprising, only Obama’s domain and shortener is still active.

Some brands use the bit.ly pro service – one such example is the BBC who run their shortener at bbc.in

You can easily tell this by looking at any of their short URLS such as bbc.in/177uAeA and adding a + at the end.  Clicking on bbc.in/177uAeA+ takes you to the statistics for that link – and it clearly shows it is hosted by bit.ly.

I started using bit.ly with my original shortening service, but wanted to have full control over my links, having seen some of the early shorteners such as tr.im (which I used many years ago), be shut down only to be resurrected later on.

My view is the only way to completely control your own brand and branded shorteners is to run your own.

Whenever I see a new short URL service appear via tweets on Twitter, I always have a quick look to see what service they are using.

A few weeks ago, I came across the Virgin Group using virg.in on Twitter, and looked further to see what service was powering it.

Clicking on virg.in drove me straight a holding page – which shows some stats on the trending links, as well as stats on the number of links shortened, and the total number of clicks to date.

To my amazement, on the bottom right of this page, a simple notice states “powered by YOURLS“.

This is a smart move from Virgin, using a powerful, open source platform which gives them greater freedom and flexibility

I am sure that Ozh Richard (@Ozh) who has been responsible for making YOURLS the success it is would be very pleased that such a major brand as Virgin has decided to adopt his platform as a key part of their online presence.

If you want to read the reasons behind why I chose to set up my own URL shortener, and why brands should so this as well, head over to my 2-part post at lc.tl/url – naturally shortened by my own branded shortener.

About 

Futurist Keynote Speaker and former IBM Global Managing Partner, Andrew is a popular and sought-after presenter and commentator on issues around digital disruption and emerging technologies. He is a multiple TEDx & International Keynote Speaker. Watch his speaking showreel here, enquire about availability & fees here or listen to his latest Podcast - "The Practical Futurist Podcast" on your favourite app.

Showing 12 comments
  • @Convers8tion

    London Calling » Smart brands such as Virgin are using their own branded URL shortener http://t.co/iv93JvdppC

  • @Ross_Webb

    Smart brands such as Virgin are using their own branded URL shortener – http://t.co/1DmSqef7VQ #brand #url

  • @simonwakeman

    Smart brands such as Virgin are using their own branded URL shortener http://t.co/Pioag2gNAc @tookie @jamesholland @caterwomtious

  • @TheClodaghCo

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  • @SObedih

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  • @IamStan

    @EwanToo this guy is a proponent of it.. http://t.co/YpwwaUkr0H

  • @JasonEng_

    “@AndrewGrill: Rewind: Smart brands such as Virgin are using their own branded URL shortener http://t.co/uW3usubexh”

  • @OhhSocialMedia

    RT @JasonEng_: “@AndrewGrill: Rewind: Smart brands such as Virgin are using their own branded URL shortener http://t.co/uW3usubexh”

  • @CMForA

    RT @JasonEng_: “@AndrewGrill: Rewind: Smart brands such as Virgin are using their own branded URL shortener http://t.co/uW3usubexh”

  • Shajib Khan

    Fastest and Shortest one I have found is http://snipac.com/ and it has a lot of features like link life duration, password protection, Custom Alias, Description, Geotargeting, QR Code and more.

  • Stephan Bevan

    Hey Andrew,
    Thank you for posting this – I think I may use Yourls as well to implement this instead of Bit.ly seeing as its a Libyan url and who knows if that nation would ever decide to shut it down. Did you use Yourls PhP script to do this as an Independent shortener, or the WordPress plugin & API? and Why did you choose the script over the plugin or vice-versa?
    Ironically, your URL lc.tl/url does not work.

  • Stephan Bevan

    After installing I realize that you need to do both – install the Yourls software on the server, then add the WordPress plugin and connect the two.

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