Some (sorta) big news in the world of little URLs

This past week I’ve noticed a few new TV news related vanity URL shorteners start popping up on social media — all of them within the NBC Universal family.

URL shorteners are frequently used on social media services such as Facebook and Twitter when character count limits make it impossible to share long URLs to direct readers to.

First, msnbc.com has started moving away from using the subdomain on.msnbc.com for its shortened links and is now using onmsnbc.co (.co being the country top level domain for Colombia). It’s worth noting that the new domain also contains two less characters; since the “.com” loses a letter and the period between “on” and “msnbc” is gone.

NBC Olympics has also started using the domain nbco.ly (the .ly extension is for Libya). The URL shortener is a clever shortening of “NBC” and the first three letters of “olympics” extended into the domain extension.

Finally, a prominent member of the NBC Universal family, Ann Curry, has started using her own URL shortener. Curry shortens links via the domain ann.cr (.cr being the TLD for Costa Rica).

Curry’s URL shortener is particularly interesting because she’s the first TV news personality I’m aware of has his or her own URL shortener, though anderson Cooper’s talk show does use the domain andr.tv.

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