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 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 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 will show you all apps, podcasts, etc. that include iMore in their name, while 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

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.

Source: CNET, Benjamin Mayo

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Simon Sage

Editor-at-very-large at Mobile Nations, gamer, giant.

More Posts



← Previously

Editor's desk: Goodbye Macworld|iWorld, hello fitness month!

Next up →

Three UK to offer LTE as standard when available later this year, no premium price plan needed

Reader comments

Super Bowl showcases Apple's AppStore vanity URL


Just tried the links for imore and they did not work... if you remove the www. then they do... so will work

Haha, good job Apple! Doesn't work with www, and even without the www, the website rarely seems to recognize my installed iTunes (which it usually always does). And if you go straight to, it shows a page displaying "> Bye Bye You shouldn't be here." and redirects to
It's like they're not even trying to be good at anything anymore...

Strange. I have just tried a bunch of things, (iMore, MobileNations, AngryBirds, StarWars, StarTrek, StarTrekApp, Google, TempleRun, and Imangi) and all launched iTunes. Safari brought up the one moment screen then right to iTunes.

(Of course, doesn't find anything, /startrek and /startrekapp both say the item is not available in the US Store, but the shortener works).

On my Firefox 18.0.1 on Windows 7 x64, every normal AppStore link works great, and displays the App preview in the browser while sending the link to iTunes. Those new shortened links on the other hand just display the "One moment please..." page (which sometimes shows if there's no in-browser preview available, but usually also redirect the link to iTunes), and then redirect me to a "Download iTunes Free" page. I guess that's because I have the automatically installed Firefox plug-in "iTunes Application Detector" disabled in order to save ressources. After disabling it, I just had to set a checkbox once telling Firefox to open ITMS links with iTunes anyway, without checking every time if iTunes was installed, but apparently that doesn't work anymore with the new links. (And they really still don't work with www appended...)

Right on the www not working, and think that is an issue with the links in the article (not what the ad displayed).

To your "not even trying" point, I will agree. If you are not on OS X (10.6.8 or later), using Safari, all bets seem to be off. There was a time not too long ago where that wasn't the case.

Fail, the links do not work on an iPad.

Not to rain on your mind-space parade but "appstore" is not exclusive to Apple. Anyone looking at the link does not know if it leads to Amazon, Microsoft, Apple etc.

That can be true for any number of sites, but once you get there, there is no denying who it is.