Super Bowl showcases Apple's AppStore vanity URL
In the midst of the Super Bowl advertising frenzy, CNET noticed the first big, public showcasing of Apple's AppStore.com URL shortener, right at the end of the trailer for the upcoming Star Trek movie.
The way it works, according to developer Benjamin Mayo, is that the new AppStore.com shortener simply takes the name of an piece of content, company, or even person on iTunes, removes any special characters, and then appends that to the domain name. If that ends up with multiple entries for the same name, you'll be shown a search-like page containing all of them, to avoid conflicts. So http://www.appstore.com/imore will show you all apps, podcasts, etc. that include iMore in their name, while http://www.appstore.com/mobilenations will show you all apps made by our Mobile Nations network.
According to Steve Streza, developers interested in knowing more can find documentation on Apple's portal at https://developer.apple.com/library/ios/#qa/qa1633/_index.html
More important than the URL-shortening aspect is the marketing aspect. Once upon a time it was "dot com" everyone, with websites ruling the advertising world. Then AOL keywords began to get sprinkled in. The Google keywords. Then Facebook pages. Now Apple has a way to splash a link across an ad, a billboard, or a website in the same easy-to-remember manner.
It makes Apple competitive in the marketing mind-space.