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This article was published on February 4, 2013

    Apple quietly debuts App Store vanity URLs for developers with Star Trek Super Bowl ad

    Apple quietly debuts App Store vanity URLs for developers with Star Trek Super Bowl ad
    Jon Russell
    Story by

    Jon Russell

    Jon Russell was Asia Editor for The Next Web from 2011 to 2014. Originally from the UK, he lives in Bangkok, Thailand. You can find him on T Jon Russell was Asia Editor for The Next Web from 2011 to 2014. Originally from the UK, he lives in Bangkok, Thailand. You can find him on Twitter, Angel List, LinkedIn.

    Apple didn’t join BlackBerry, Samsung and others in producing a Super Bowl ad but the company did unveil something significant during the commercials, via a promo for Paramount’s upcoming ‘Star Trek: Into Darkness’ film.

    As CNET first noted, the end of the commercial includes a vanity link for the app — appstore.com/startrekapp — rather than the usual long link for the download. That’s a hugely significant, if subtle, introduction with the potential to massively increase traffic to apps, as well as the promotional aspect for developers and publishers. Suddenly app links can be memorable, logical and more easily searchable for users.

    Screen_Shot_2013-02-03_at_5.15.50_PM

    Apple detailed the feature in new documentation published last week which explains that short links can be created for company app pages, as well as landing pages for iOS and Mac apps. With some 800,000 apps in the App Store, giving users a dedicated URL is likely to massively increase the potential for downloads. Discovery has always been a key bug-bear for developers and users alike — even though the Google Play has more problems on that front — and app makers will keen improvement things with their own memorable URLs for their creations, which have rolled out already.

    With this introduction, it is likely that we will see more App Store links being promoted in the media, and alongside Facebook Page URLs and other key links.

    Importantly, Apple points out that generic phrases will be directly to search engines. That’s a sensible move since the opportunity to grab a ‘hot’ short URL could promote unhealthy squatting and competition. Vanity URLs had previously been available using iTunes links, but the new appstore.com/xx will replace that.

    In case you were wondering, CNET reminds us that the much sought after appstore.com URL was given to Steve Jobs by Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff  back in 2008.

    Headline image via glenbledsoe / Flickr, movie commercial still via CNET