Dude, Where’s My URL?

Is it me or are meaningful URLs disappearing?

I’ve noticed more and more companies giving search keywords, rather than a proper URL, in their adverts and publicity material. You’ve really got to be confident that someone will find your site rather than a rival’s, a domain squatter’s, or something else entirely.

And the rise of short URLs is annoying too. There’s nothing wrong with compact URLs, but the reliance on short URLs that are totally unmemorable and redirect to the real resource is starting to get on my nerves. Microblogging sites like Twitter have promoted the use of them in recent years. You can’t see what the link points to, you can’t take a URL and determine if the link could be relevant to you, worse you’re relying on that short URL remaining available in the future.

With time at a premium, making that call as to whether to click on a link or not is being hampered by having to take the plunge with a cryptic URL. Or maybe improved: I’ve found myself ignoring short URLs and going elsewhere instead. And if a company wants me to go search to find their information, that additional element of indirection coupled with the very real chance of not finding the right resource has resulted in me going elsewhere.

I’m a big fan of RESTful interfaces, or Resource Oriented Architectures, but even as they become more and more popular, we seem to be facing an even bigger rise in the obfuscation, or even abandonment, of meaningful addressing of resources.

Am I alone in this thought?

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