Recently I’ve noticed that some TV and radio adverts, instead of giving a full web site address, are simply saying, “search online for…”.
I really don’t like this phenomenon, for a number of reasons. Firstly, it’s an extra step in the process: rather than just typing in the address directly, you have to Google for it. That extra 3 seconds could have been used for something else, dammit!
Secondly, it’s incredibly patronising to assume that your audience isn’t clued-up enough to remember a simple address like channel4.com/more4. Non-internet-savvy people may be uncomfortable with dots and slashes, but they should be educated about them, not pandered to.
Thirdly, unless your site is popular enough to be the first result in a search, or you have an unusual name which is unlikely to turn up stray results, you need to spend extra money on Google ads to ensure that a search turns up your site (see, for example, the site for the Monsters v Aliens movie).
I hope this is a fad that dies out, not least because it’s quite dangerous to rely on Google searches alone to direct interested parties to the right place. Former US senator Rick Santorum learned this lesson the hard way.