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Feature Request: Customer Domains for Short URLs

Darren's Avatar


23 Apr, 2013 01:54 PM

Love the tracking ability on short URLS (Custom Links with google shorten-er). But we really need the ability to use our own domain, much like Bit.ly allows (http://blog.bitly.com/post/41362843018/be-unique-with-a-custom-shor...).

While we love google, having their domain in our tweets and print materials is not very enticing - and won't make our Marketing Department eager to adopt Spectate. Adding our own domain to the short links would be ideal.

Please consider adding this soon.

  1. Support Staff 1 Posted by Bradley on 24 Apr, 2013 02:36 PM

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    Thanks for the suggestion.

    We do have custom domains where your custom links can use your own domain. They won't be particularly short (e.g. http://l.uco.edu/our-webinar-link) but they will be branded. You'll still need to use the Google shortener or bit.ly's shortener for a really short link.

    Please let me know if that's what you're envisioning. If not, let us know how we might improve it.

  2. Support Staff 2 Posted by Bradley on 24 Apr, 2013 02:50 PM

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    Come to think of it, you can enter whatever you want into the "path" field when creating a custom link. The only requirement is that it has to be completely unique in Spectate. So you could for example set your custom domain to: l.uco.edu (short for links.uco.edu) and then enter random characters and numbers into the "path" fields when creating links (e.g. Bv5a) to get a link: http://l.uco.edu/Bv5a-link). Not too bad.

    I could see us adding a way to automatically create a really short, unique sequences of letters/numbers in the future.

  3. 3 Posted by Darren on 24 Apr, 2013 02:53 PM

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    What you linked to is a custom domain that links to campaign object. Tried it, was nice to have, but not at all what bit.ly does.

    The big value in spectate will be when we can brand the google shortlinks with our own domain as you described in your second comment.

    Google Labs even offers this, so it should be an option Spectate developers to grab that API and add this option.

  4. Support Staff 4 Posted by Bradley on 24 Apr, 2013 03:11 PM

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    The first link I sent was describing how to set-up custom domains which is how the link branding in my second comment actually works. That article might be a bit confusing but it applies to Custom Links too.

    So, we have the ability to brand links using custom domains. You can also set an arbitrary path for those links (e.g. "Re32t").

    At this point, the only thing we're missing (if I understand you correctly) is the ability to automatically generate really short paths after the link domain.

    Let me know if that makes sense.

  5. 5 Posted by Darren on 25 Apr, 2013 02:34 PM

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    My response never seems to go live, is there some reason it won't ever show up?

  6. 6 Posted by Darren on 25 Apr, 2013 02:36 PM

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    My response may be too long.... will break it up: Part 1
    Hi Bradley
    Awesome! That is good to know, Bradley. Because that article does not at all lead me to think custom shortlinks are available for anything other than campaign objects.

    Ideally, I'd love to see the custom domain show up on the create shortlinks page, so I won't have to fiddle around with it.

  7. Support Staff 7 Posted by Bradley on 25 Apr, 2013 02:53 PM

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    Hi Darren,

    I've attached an example of a link I've created on our Hannon Hill Spectate account.

    In the first screenshot:

    Create Custom Link

    You can see I'm creating a link and specifying a unique, short set of characters for the link text. You can also see it's showing my custom domain: www3.hannonhill.com instead of using the my.spectate.com domain.

    In the second screenshot:

    Custom link view

    you can see the link created. It's got both the Google short link and my custom short link that uses our custom domain.

    We'll consider adding some functionality to automatically generate a really short, unique set of letters and numbers in the future so you don't have to do that part on your own.

    But if you want to get started with setting up your custom domain, let me know if you need any help.

  8. 8 Posted by Darren on 25 Apr, 2013 03:57 PM

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    When I set up our domain with Spectate a few months ago, it did indeed give me a shortlink with our domain. However, the "custom domain" System URL shortlink only went to the Campaign Object, it never redirected to the Destination URL. You say it should but according to the KB article, "custom subdomain, is a way for visitors to access Spectate campaign objects" and is the desired (not by me) functionality. You say otherwise. So, something changed or was the KB article inaccurate or incomplete?

  9. Support Staff 9 Posted by Bradley on 25 Apr, 2013 05:45 PM

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    Hmm, I'm not seeing a Custom Domain associated with the UCO account. Yea, the article is definitely a little misleading. I just updated it a little bit. We use our branded Custom Links regularly, so it shouldn't be an issue. Here's a sample link I created: http://www3.hannonhill.com/custom-link-to-our-website-in-bradleys-email-signature-link to demonstrate. It's not very interesting since it just goes to our website, but you can use the Destination URL to redirect anywhere.

    Let me know if you have any issues setting it up.

  10. 10 Posted by Darren on 25 Apr, 2013 08:45 PM

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    We took out the custom domain when it wasn't doing what we expected. Adding it back, will let you know

  11. 11 Posted by Darren on 26 Apr, 2013 06:45 PM

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    Thanks, added our domain and now it makes sense thanks to your info. The KB article was a little unclear. I appreciate the help.

    Now, even though this is nice, it isn't truly a shortlink in the manner bit.ly or even Google does them.
    For one, the System URL always adds "-link" to the end - eveen if I craft my own "custom path." Why? Adding "-link" only makes the URL longer.

    Also, why not have the System URL use the google shortlink random letters if no "custom path" is specified? That would mirror the behavior of the shortlink and make the link, well, shorter than just using what is entered in the "name" field.

    What do you think?

  12. Support Staff 12 Posted by Bradley on 26 Apr, 2013 06:57 PM

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    Both good suggestions.

    The "-link" is to help Spectate identify Custom URLs when they come in. We need some kind of pattern so we know it's a Custom Link and not a Landing Page or some other type of object. I'll brainstorm other ways to do this.

    We could potentially use the Google Short Link but we have a bit of a chicken and egg problem. You can't create the Google shortlink without a full link and we can't create the full link without knowing the Google shortlink.

    More likely, we'd write our own logic to generate short, random, unique alphanumeric sequences.

    Thanks for taking the time to test this and give your feedback. We'll definitely consider these suggestions.

  13. 13 Posted by Darren on 26 Apr, 2013 06:59 PM

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    Thanks for considering it, they would be very welcomed!

  14. Support Staff 14 Posted by Bradley on 26 Apr, 2013 07:06 PM

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    One quick question: what is the imperative for creating short links as opposed to just branded links? With the random numbers and letters they seem to be less memorable than something like www3.uco.edu/sign-up-today. Plus, services like Twitter shorten all links using their own URL shortener anyway so the length of the link is not an issue.

    What are some of the other use cases for short links for your team?

    Thanks again!

  15. 15 Posted by Darren Denham on 26 Apr, 2013 08:09 PM

    Darren Denham's Avatar

    Do these forums have a spam security of some sort that prevents more than 2 posts per day? I can t seem to reply more than twice, my responses never show up.

    You can email me directly

  16. Support Staff 16 Posted by Bradley on 26 Apr, 2013 08:20 PM

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    No, there shouldn't be any security like that. Are you seeing an error? You can also try responding to the email notifications that you get from the system.

  17. 17 Posted by Darren Denham on 26 Apr, 2013 08:37 PM

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    Ideally, yes, I do like that we can craft our own "custom path" but there are times when the random numbers/letters would be useful. Say for every press release, we might not want to burn the brain cells trying to come up with a custom path for each of those, eventually you would run dry. And a custom path isn't really needed.

    Plus anything after the "/" you would it short, and using the "name field" doesn't accomplish that. Especially since we will probably develop a naming convention for the "name" field when doing boring things like press releases and such, like:
    PR: 2014-04-12 - President's Scholarship
    PR: 2014-04-26 - Commencement dates

    So in these cases, a random path is fine.

    But for special events and promotions, yes, 100% we want to do our own custom path.

    Twitter does shorten them, t.co, but some clients override that behavior and your shortlink remains. It's a nice branding tool to have your own domain in those.

    Other uses:
    Press Releases
    Sidewalk Chalkings
    Printed Handouts
    Back To School

    And no one wants to add "-link" when used for those instances - it's just not pretty or cool, you know?

    Does that help?

  18. Support Staff 18 Posted by Bradley on 28 Apr, 2013 11:53 PM

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    Again, thanks for the feedback. We really appreciate it and we will consider it carefully as we decide on future features and improvements for Spectate.

  19. 19 Posted by Darren Denham on 29 Apr, 2013 01:21 PM

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    Thanks, I understand you can't add every feature requested.

    As you evaluate it, if the random letters are tricky, short term it would be great if you could at least drop the "-link" in favor of another tracking method.

    Appreciate the help in all this.

  20. Support Staff 20 Posted by Bradley on 29 Apr, 2013 01:36 PM

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    Thanks, that information helps too.

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