The Atlantic

How Search Engines Are Killing Clever URLs

Is there any need for “.pizza” when everyone just Googles stuff?
Source: Brendan McDermid / Reuters

More than a decade ago, the Internet’s overlords bet that entrepreneurs would jump at the chance to customize their Web addresses. As it turns out, not so much.

That’s largely because search engines like Google are obviating the need for cogent, catchy URLs—once a prerequisite for online success. By the time a proposed initiative allowing for greater URL choice had wound its way through years of approval proceedings, the front lines in a decades-long battle for prime virtual real estate had shifted from domains to search rankings, social media, and mobile technologies.

In 2013, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the global nonprofit governing Web addresses, began to roll out a portfolio of roughly 1,200 new after-the-dot website endings, which are known as top-level domains. Entrepreneurs and others looking to hang out a digital shingle

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