I was just looking at “Answers.com”:http://www.answers.com, the latest incarnation of “GuruNet”:http://www.gurunet.com/ and I was impressed by their intelligent use of URLs.
If you haven’t used answers.com yet, know that it is an interesting variation on standard search engines in that it aims to _answer_ questions directly whenever it can rather than pointing at relevant external pages. It makes money by providing sponsored links and affiliate programs along side the proprietary and third party content presented for each term.
As you would expect, you can go to their site and enter a term like VoIP in their search box. What impressed me was that you can also type “http://answers.com/voip”:http://www.answers.com/voip into your browser and it will come back with the same results. In effect every term they track is given a unique virtual folder on the site making for _incredibly_ clean URLs. You can even type strings like “http://www.answers.com/viral marketing”:http://www.answers.com/viral%20marketing (with the space) into your browser, and get results.
In these days when more and more people are creating content (blogs, forum posts, e-mail, IM, etc.) this URL strategy makes it very easy for people to link to answers.com to quickly define their terms.
This is certainly a conscious strategy on GuruNet’s part. In fact, each term also has a “link tool” that provides cut-and-paste linking options. “Here’s the Link Tool for VoIP”:http://www.answers.com/main/link_to_answers.jsp?topic=VoIP&link=/topic/voip.
Any other good examples of the smart use of URLs?