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Search online for.

Ah, the humble HyperLink. The URL. The Web Address. Call it what you will, it’s a modern day marvel. A simple string of characters that point you to something or other. Something or other that you’re interested in, be that a webpage, a photo, a video, a song, a piece of software, whatever. Oh, and that little ol’ URL doesn’t just point you in the right direction – this thing is an address – it points you exactly at what you wanted. So why then do i keep seeing adverts which suggest that i “search online for…” the product/service name? What’s the bloody matter with these marketeers? Rather than including an address on their advert that will take the potential customer directly to whatever they want them to see, they instead suggest searching the web for some choice word or phrase that may take them where they intended eventually. That same potential customer may actually come across things the advertiser doesn’t want them to see, such as a competitor’s website or a bad review of the product or service in question. Worse still, there’s always the chance they’ll never find what they were meant-to at all.

If a company can afford avertising then they can certainly afford a decent, memorable domain name (even, much as i hate them, one especially crafted for a particularly ad campaign). I see zero need for the extra costs of trying to ensure that your site is listed at the top of the results page for every search engine, when in fact you can never guarantee it, however good your “SEO” experts think they are.

I had thought there would be lots of discussion of this topic on the web but was able to find surprisingly little. There were just a couple of blog entries, here and here (twice) and these both, disappointingly, seem quite happy with the trend. The latter is particularly dismissive of URLS, insisting they’re “difficult to remember and poorly understood”. Maybe i’m a proper trainspotter when it comes to URLs then? I do hope not. It’s not that hard, is it?

To the layman, the URL is easily broken down into three parts: the doubleyou-doubleyou-doubleyou-dot, a brand or slogan and the end bit. Four parts if there’s a slash something on the end_._ And no more, since no sensible marketeer would start going down into sub-directories. So, just four (4) things for Joe Public to remember. Piece of piss, even for a true imbecile, since the typical Human brain  can remember 7 things (that’s why telephone numbers are never more than 7 digits long). Plus, WWW is now practically a given, so ordinarily you only need remember 2-3 things: the brand or slogan (domainname), the end bit (TLD) and possibly a slash something (directory).  =  (apple) + (.com) + (/macbook) = (o2) + ( + (/iphone)

Again, is that really so difficult?

I know i’d always rather be given the phone number than be told to search the phone book.