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Earlier this month, Google+ announced that it was beginning to offer vanity URLs to confirmed accounts, e.g. well known celebrities or organizations. Now, they are being made available to more users, but there’s a catch.

Google + broadens use of vanity URLsUp until the announcement that Google+ would begin using vanity URLs, the URL structure for profiles simply consisted of a series of numbers, identifying each unique account.  Now, with vanity URLs, users can have a unique page URL that includes their name.

Although the company says that this option is being made available to everyone, however; it also states that it may begin charging for this service in the future.  Alright, Google can do what it wants, and what’s the big deal if you get your unique URL now and the next person has to pay?

The problem with this is that Google also says it will notify Google+ users before it begins charging them for their custom URLs.  This means that everyone could potentially be charged for this feature in the future!

Google+ may begin charging for vanity URLs.Granted, this is definitely not the end of your social media optimization, but it definitely seems that Google+ is taking a stance for a long term strategy.  Nowadays, getting a normal one-word domain name is virtually impossible, and certain domain names are so valuable that we will pay thousands of dollars just to get them.

Now, this decision could simply be an overconfident company exaggerating the future demand for one of its services.  It’s also possible that they are just overzealous to find something else that they can charge people for, but is it also a possibility that as we all become more and more dependent on Google that we could potentially be seeing Google+ as a microcosm of the current domain name situation?

It’s difficult, at best, to provide answers to these questions, or whether it will be worthwhile to invest in these vanity URLs in the long run.  For now though, it’s clear that Google is bracing itself to potentially capitalize on a greater dependence on its social network.

photo credit: AJC1 via Photo Pin CC

photo credit: Andres Rueda via Photo Pin CC

Jamie Bates
Online Marketing Director