What's with the special 'Share this video' link on YouTube?
September 25, 2013 6:50 PM   Subscribe

Why does each YouTube video have a special 'Share this video' link, at the http://youtu.be/ domain? Is there a meaningful difference between using the link provided and just copying the URL from the address bar?

For example, the URL (in the address bar) for CSNY's 'Teach Your Children' is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wx4AATLY7L8. The 'Share this video' link is http://youtu.be/wx4AATLY7L8.

It's not substantially shorter, so that can't be the reason.

I thought perhaps there was metadata embedded in the 'Share' link, but the unique video identifier is identical in both cases.

I find the 'Share' link to be useful when I want to link to a particular point within a video.

But why the different URL at a different domain?
posted by paleyellowwithorange to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
It's not substantially shorter, so that can't be the reason.

Actually in the world of Twitter where each character counts, being shorter by 15 characters is sort of a big deal. I really think that's all there is to it. Even the domain is shorter. This also keeps people from using other URL shorteners which i think means they can get better referrer stats (meaning that they can get information on where people clicked from to get to that link)
posted by jessamyn at 6:53 PM on September 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

The shortened version is 35% shorter, and saves you 15 characters which is more than 10% of the room available in a tweet. It's substantial.
posted by primethyme at 7:10 PM on September 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Hm, fair enough. Clearly I do not live in the world of Twitter.
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 7:17 PM on September 25, 2013

On the other hand, for several years now, all URLs have been effectively the same length in twitter, since they started shortening them all to t.co addresses. So the difference in length between those two links doesn't matter in a tweet.
posted by moonmilk at 8:32 PM on September 25, 2013

Response by poster: Hey! So perhaps there are other reasons?
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 8:37 PM on September 25, 2013

Internet Marketer here.

Although Facebook, Google+, etc have much longer character counts than Twitter, generally you still want a nice clean update if you are sharing something for marketing purposes. In addition, the shorter one just looks SOOO much better. I mean, it's way more appealing to the eye, and it doesn't have the weird special characters like = or ? in them.


The shorter link looks so much cleaner, simpler, etc.

So, for any sort of sharing where the link may be visible, it just looks cleaner. In addition, the shorter link may encourage users to use that link instead of a third party link shortener (like a bit.ly) which in a sense lets you know it's a Youtube link.

bit.ly/NumbersLetters - Who knows what that is? Is it an article? Is it porn? Is it spam? Is it your blog? Who knows.
youtu.be/NumbersLetters - Oh! It's a YouTube video.
posted by Crystalinne at 9:12 PM on September 25, 2013 [5 favorites]

Adding on to what Crystalinne said, a lot of badly written parsing scripts break when they see things such as ?, = and other 'fancy' characters in a URL (Apparently they think it is the 90s still). Anyway, that makes things cleaner and nicer when your entire link highlights and you don't have to copy and past the URL yourself.

Example: MUSHclient's URL parser.
posted by Canageek at 11:43 PM on September 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

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