A lot of people noticed during the Super Bowl when an ad for the new Star Trek movie, "Into Darkness," featured an unusual Web address:
That address redirects visitors directly to Apple's App Store page for the official Star Trek app.
But curiously, if you go directly to www.appstore.com, you get an admonition from Apple:
"> Bye Bye You shouldn't be here"
And you're whisked back to Apple's homepage.
It turns out that on Friday, Apple quietly informed developers that they could start using appstore.com for links to their apps.
Apple has owned appstore.com since 2008, when Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff gave it as a gift to Apple cofounder Steve Jobs. But it hasn't done much with it until now.
We did notice, however, that Matt Fischer, the little-known Apple executive in charge of the App Store, has featured appstore.com on his Twitter profile for months.
Previously, Apple let developers create links to their apps using itunes.com.
Before Apple bought Lala, a Web-based music service, it had a very limited Web presence for both the iTunes Music Store and the App Store. A strength of Lala was search-engine optimization, and it's widely believed that Lala's team helped Apple make iTunes songs and apps far more visible on the Web.
The App Store grew out of the iTunes Music Store, which Fischer previously ran. But it's pretty clear that the "iTunes" moniker is outdated and confusing when applied to apps. Hence the introduction of appstore.com.
Now Apple just needs to work on a nicer welcome message for people who type "appstore.com" into their browsers.
Here's what it looks like when you try to go to the site:
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