Shortcuts, Vanity or Marketing URLs, are all names for the requests Web managers get to shorten Web addresses. The shortened links make it easy to share long links as well as track clicks on those links. On a recent discussion thread on the Web Managers listserv, several agencies offered the criteria they use to manage the requests and we’ve compiled it below. NIAID Criteria At the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), the New Media and Web Policy Branch developed the following guidance for Internet and Intranet URLs:
Short URLs are useful for tracking clicks, but they can create a poor user experience because the person clicking the link can’t see the final destination. That’s why Go.USA.gov was created—to show users that they would reach official government information. To maintain this trust, Go.USA.gov is only open to government employees and only shortens government URLs—that is: .mil, .gov, .fed.us, .si.edu and .state.xx.us URLs. We are willing to make exceptions for other government URLs that meet our criteria.