– Because iPhone Apps Apparently Needed A Custom URL Shortener

Not sure which question is more appropriate here: why or why not? We’ve already witnessed the renewed interest in URL shortening services with the rise of communication platforms where brevity appears to be the norm rather than a side effect (Twitter!).

It was little surprising to see a custom one pop up that focuses specifically on iTunes links.

iTunes links are inherently long, non-sexy and practically unsharable web addresses that lead people directly to Apple’s media management software program where they can download applications for their iPhone or iPod Touch in a section called the App Store, à la

(In case you’re wondering, that one goes to the Swimsuit Models app from Sports Illustrated. You’re welcome.)

What does is let you take those long URLs and turn them into custom links such as and … no that’s basically all it does, even if the team that built the app felt the service actually required its own manifesto. For something that can already be done with the tons of other URL shortening services out there.

I’m leaning towards the first question: why?

Update: as commenters have pointed out, the reason is that the developers of the service insert an affiliate link when shortening the URL and pick up a piece of the revenue generated from paid apps sales. They don’t mention this anywhere, but you can see it for a split second when you open the short URLs (the team told me the main benefit is for iPhone app developers to better brand links to their apps and in the future track conversion for clicks/sales).

Update 2: Tim Dorr tells us iPhone apps already have short URLs, e.g. Who knew?

Update 3: Appsfire also has a custom URL shortener for iPhone app links, and offers real-time analytics and soon, monetization tools.