No, I’m not talking about height, although, being on the short side myself (I prefer “petite”), I’ve got nothing against the vertically-challenged. I’m talking about the world of short domain names.

There was a time when customized domain names were all about being smart or clever, and descriptive or true to your brand, but there’s a new factor to consider–length. With the growing popularity of Twitter, the race is now on to find a short version of your existing domain name–and the shorter, the better–given the 140-character limit on Twitter.

And now that Bit.ly offers even more customized URL shortening options for free–you can now dump the bit.ly completely and add your own short domain–I have a strange feeling that a lot of us will be visiting our favourite domain name registry to find a shorter version.

I was online today doing just that and was struck by the possibilities and perhaps a little bit grumpy that this new reality means that the domain name companies have an entirely new marketing stream, at the expense of my credit card! However, it does open up some opportunity for creativity.

Shorter domain names have always enjoyed some favour and many of them had already been snapped up, but now the need to do this has become even more urgent. Generally, acronyms and other abbreviations weren’t considered as good in many cases (there were always exceptions, of course!), but now Twitter has changed the way we view words and we’re now counting characters more than ever before.

Since I work for the Science Alberta Foundation (www.sciencealberta.org), I went online today and reserved http://www.sci-me.ca for use in our social media link shortening. I did it a little humbly since just a few days ago I was chastising the organization for owning far too many domain names and setting up a new domain for every new initiative! However, I do think that everyone needs to reconsider any moratorium they may have on new domain names, at least when it comes to short domains.

Go forth and shorten!

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