The lonely web address
Recently, I was involved in a few presentations and had a conversation with a colleague that got me thinking about the future of the URL (i.e., uniform resource locator -- in other words, a web address). All of my ponderings led me to one conclusion: What we have come to recognize as the primary means of getting to a website -- http://www.YourBrandHere.com -- is used less now than last year and isn't going to be used much in the future. The significance of this revelation led me to consider the methods with which we promote our web properties -- and whether we as digital marketers are ready for this shifting reality.
First, what am I talking about? In short, the URL is the way that most people think others find their pages online. It's what we see in ads, it's what we put on our business cards, and it's what we promote right down to the "www." However, more often than not, your customers may not be using your URL to find you. Yes, that URL that you've spent so much time and money promoting -- or that you spent a fortune to secure -- might not be that important.
There are several different technologies, all currently converging, that are contributing to the growing obsolescence of URLs. Here's a look at the most important ones, as well as the implications for marketers.