There's no bigger stage to unveil a new offering than a Super Bowl commercial, and Apple took advantage of its prime inclusion during the telecast by unveiling a new vanity URL service, reports TechCrunch. If you blinked, you might have missed it, but during the final seconds of the Star Trek Into Darkness trailer, the URL AppStore.com/StarTrekApp flashed across the bottom of the screen.
This reveal signified the launch of a new service for all app developers in either the iTunes App Store or the Mac App Store. All developers will now receive personalized vanity URLs related to the app submitted as chosen by Apple. Apple updated its developer documentation on January 31 to reflect the change, which will allow brands to give consumers these new URLs to directly access apps.
With Apple nearing one million apps, the question of name overlap comes into play. In this case, users will be directed to a search page displaying all of the apps that match the generic term.
The domain name AppStore.com was a gift from Salesfoce CEO Marc Benioff to late Apple visionary Steve Jobs. It could prove increasingly valuable if brands decide to take advantage of these new URLs in upcoming marketing campaigns.
With the biggest game of the football season – not to mention the most-watched television broadcast in the U.S. – just three days away, it should come as no surprise that scammers are seeking every opportunity to take advantage of Pats and Giants fans, as well as the more casual Super Bowl viewer, on the Internet. In addition to websites promising last-minute ticket sales and hawking counterfeit merchandise, government officials are swooping down on sites such as FirstRowSports.tv and FirstRowSports.com that advertise unauthorized streaming coverage of the big game itself. Such operations have become a predictable aspect of most major sporting events, including the 2011 Baseball World Series.
This morning, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director John Morton, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Director of Field Operations in Chicago David Murphy, and NFL Vice President for Legal Affairs Anastasia Danias appeared in Indianapolis (the city hosting Sunday's game) to report that "Operation Fake Sweep" had led to the seizure of 307 infringing websites and one arrest. Fake Sweep comes as part of the broader "Operation In Our Sites" program, which, since its inception in June 2010, has reportedly led to the seizure of 669 domain names.
The ICE has promised that the domain crackdown will continue throughout the weekend. In the meantime, fans searching for Super Bowl XLVI memorabilia should be sure to only purchase merchandise from authorized vendors with familiar domains. And remember, for those without a TV like myself, the NFL and NBC will be streaming the game live – and legally – on NBCSports.com.
In more Super Bowl ad-related news, a friend of mine who works with the Emerging Media Research Council sent the company’s “Digital Analysis of Super Bowl XLV” over to me yesterday. The EMRC’s digital review of this year’s Super Bowl commercials highlighted notable firsts and onlys: Audi was the first company to advertise a Twitter hashtag (#ProgressIs), and CarMax was the only brand that communicated its Web, Facebook and Twitter monikers. Check out the Audi and CarMax ads below. EMRC also mentioned that a total of eight ads pointed to companies’ Facebook pages.
Wait, only eight? Does this surprise anyone else? For all the hype that has been building around social media over the last year, wouldn’t you think that every commercial would promote a company’s social media presences on Facebook, or Twitter or YouTube? At a going rate of $3 million for 30 seconds of ad time, this seems like a missed opportunity for companies who have put serious effort into developing their social presence. As journalist Steve Allan said, “It seems the integration of social media campaigns with those of traditional media is still in the early adopter stage.”
Since it first became open to public registrations on the second level last summer, the Colombian ccTLD .CO has garnered a good deal of attention. Some have speculated that it will become a viable alternative to .COM, whereas others have written it off as a gimmick. In a recent New York Times article that explored how different ccTLDs are used by commercial entities, FairWinds’ Managing Partner Josh Bourne offered his opinion on the .CO issue: “As long as it doesn’t become well known that it’s just a bastardization of the country code for Colombia, it could take off,” he stated.
One entity that has been touting the virtues of .CO is domain name registrar Go Daddy, which offers registration services for .CO domains. The company, known for featuring attractive spokeswomen in its commercials, even decided to introduce a new “.CO girl” to promote the extension. In the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl this weekend, the company produced a series of ads to generate buzz about who this new mystery woman would be. And in the ad that ran during the Super Bowl, Go Daddy finally revealed her identity:
The new .CO girl is…Joan Rivers? Or at least, Rivers’ head digitally transposed on another woman’s body? I’ll be honest, I don’t think I want to go to GoDaddy.co to find out more. The commercial was weird enough for me on its own.
This kind of stunt, in my opinion, definitely points more toward gimmick than legitimate. This sentiment is echoed in a recent Fortune article, which points out that, as we’ve seen at FairWinds, the majority of registrations in .CO thus far have been defensive.