Monday, November 19, 2007

Death of the url - the hornets are stirred

Ivan Pope - who I had the pleasure of sharing a podium with at last week's NetImperative Online Media Seminar - has now blogged about the theme he raised at that event.

Ivan is a widget guru and has concluded that the url must die.
I had a poke around this myself back in February (Services And The Death of the Website).
But I didn't think through the impact in the depth that Ivan has.

Ivan says:
"In a world where you don't have a central web site, then you don't need to embed your domain name in the minds of everybody who is going to come looking for you. Get that centralising fixation out of your head and all sorts of things can follow.

"So what replaces the elegant simplicity of the URL? engine as a navigation tool rather than as a search tool....

"...throw away the domain name and ensure that your content is locatable by way of search tools. You no longer have a Domain Name or a URL, you have a Search Name and a USL (Universal Search Locator)."

His views have stirred up a bit of a hornets nest - some real controversy. Take a look on the comments on his blog.

Strikes me that this insight has interesting impact on marketing and branding. Search terms you want to own are a good way to think about the branding of your 1.0 website, that's pretty obvious.

But where it might get interesting is as the semantic web seeps in. What feel does your brand want to be associated with - and how might that be served by Ivan's USL?

Imagine searching for your brand by images or sounds? Will brands need to 'own' the colours they are associated with through search? How could that work?

I'm really looking forward to sharing some thoughts on this at Ivan's Widgety Goodness event in Brighton on December 6.

The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?