My last post discussed how special URLs are. They are loosely coupled strings of candyfloss and should be loved and respected.
Thus, a trend that I always makes me squirm is “sharecropping” (as Tantek would say) and not giving people your real address. You have all seen it:
- A TV ad that ends showing facebook.com/toyota instead of toyota.com
- A newpaper ad that just asks you to “follow” them with their Twitter URL
- “Check in” on Foursquare
- I was in a European airport that had billboards showing how to get info via their application that is “Available in the App Store”
- Remember AOL keywords?
On many of these services you are only renting space. You are sending traffic to the host of the system and helping them with their Google juice. I understand how you think that the hip kids just want to go to your Facebook page, but why not send them to your own URL that can deliver an experience that makes sense for them?
You get a lot of benefit:
- You are building your own SEO juice
- You inviting the user to your own house, and can thus own the relationship
- As a good host, you can choose the experience that you want to offer. For example, you can deliver an experience that makes sense for the given device AND what you have to offer.
This isn’t to say that you should tell the user where you are on the various services where they hang out.
I prototyped App Discover as a way to do the marriage between the users devices and what you have to offer. Hopefully sites will grow intelligence to give you an easy way to not keep telling you “download the app!” when you visit the site through your mobile device. The Delta mobile site throughs the above in your face, and since they have no way to query the system to check “hey, if the user has already installed the app, don’t bug him”, it bugs you. I always find it strange to open up the App Store itself and see it tell me about apps that I have already installed. Really? A lot of work to be done on discovery.
I think it is time to take some ownership of your URL, and treat it like a garden. Keep working on it.