I almost couldn’t believe this tool existed when I discovered it today! I’ve been using Apple devices from almost the very beginning of Apple’s existence. I’ve been writing about them for upwards of 3 years.
So how could I have not known about this tool? The only thing I can conclude is that if I didn’t know about it, it’s a safe bet many others don’t too!
Introduction to Apple’s Link Builder Site
Link to Apple’s Link Builder Tool
Bloggers, vloggers, writers, and even regular people need to find links to apps, songs, iBooks, podcasts, TV shows, movies…and more. This tool helps anyone quickly find any Apple link regardless of whether or not you’re an Apple user yourself.
A huge part of bloggers and writer’s work involves writing about things that Apple sells through what’s known as iTunes. In reality, the iTunes moniker is sort-of a catch-all phrase that refers to all of the various stores where Apple sells many different kinds of content and media to their users. To say that there are a lot of stores included under the iTunes umbrella would be a gross understatement. Virtually every device Apple sells has its own App Store, and many have multiple stores like music and book stores too. Even less obvious devices like Apple Watch and Apple TV have their own stores. More recently Apple launched a separate store just for text messages (called iMessages in Apple-speak.)
It probably won’t come as a surprise to learn that Apple makes a significnt and growing portion of their profits from selling content and media. These profits are rapidly gaining on those from hardware sales.
Yet finding and adding those links to documents, webpages, emails or texts can be one of the more onerous tasks facing online writers and regular people alike!
Adding to the complexity of the task is the fact that historically it was next to impossible to find links for Apple content while using non-Apple hardware. That level of difficulty is unique to Apple content since most other platforms stores can be accessed even if you aren’t using one of their devices.
A Detailed Look at Why This is So Unique
If you’re writing about Android for example, and you’re using an Apple device…let’s say for the sake of argument, an iPad. Things won’t be too difficult for you link-wise because the Google Play Store is accessible to anyone using any kind of device. That’s perhaps in part due to Google’s ubiquitousness…also to its open source nature.
But if you intend to do the reverse…write about Apple devices using an Android…you might be in for a bit of a rough time. That’s due in part to a difference in attitudes about how Apple views their customers versus how Google does. Apple takes a very paternalistic approach. One that keeps a constant focus on safety. That is precisely where the notion of Apple’s sand boxed approach comes in. No doubt you’ve heard the phrase Apple’s sandbox…at least in passing. But, do you really know what’s meant by it?
What’s Apple’s Sandbox?
Truth be told, Apple’s approach utilizing sand box principles is kind-of a metaphor..and a very apt one at that! What sand boxing really means is that Apple alone decides and polices what privileges and limitations their users have with regards to their data.
Apple does this by delineating the outer confines of a conceptual (or virtual) sand box. Then they make sure that users don’t stray beyond its protective walls. (In many ways Apple resembles the kind of strict parent that you may remember from your teenage years.) Whether or not you function well in Apple’s more restrictive environment can in all likelihood be determined by how you functioned as a teenager in an environment domianted by an authoritative parent or adult.
Getting back to my example, if you’re writing about Apple content, be it apps, tunes, books or whatever, and you happen to be using a non-Apple device to do so…you’ll have you’re work cut out for you. Because Apple will only let Mac, iPad, iPhone and iPod users access apps in their own App Stores. The same holds true for all the App Stores even Apple TV and Watch.
That’s why Apple’s iTunes Link Builder is such a huge find!
The Standard Method of Finding App Store Links
The most typical method of finding a link for an app is to access it from the App Store of that device type. So, an ios app link can be found using an iPad, iPhone, iPod or iPod touch.
Below are 3 examples of app store links:
First is an example of what a link from the ios App Store would look like in its ‘raw’ or original form:
App Link in ‘Raw Form’
NodeBeat – Playful Music by AffinityBlue https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/nodebeat-playful-music/id428440804?mt=8
App Link ‘Prettified’
What I usually do after I paste this link somewhere is to format it a little like this:
App Link from Apple’s Link Builder Site
Link to Apple’s Link Builder Site for App Links
When I use Apple’s Link Builder Tool the Link Looks Like This:
Direct Link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/nodebeat-playful-music/id428440804?mt=8
How to Use the Link Builder Tool
When you first arrive at Apple’s link making site using this link, you’ll see this:
You just tap or click on the words ‘Apple Music’ in blue and then tap or click on the appropriate media type in the drop down dialog box. As you can see there are many different kinds of links which are available.
For the sake of example, let’s say we’re looking for an ios app for photo editing called Photoshop Express. After changing the search selector to ios App…just type Photoshop Express into the search box and hit Enter or Return or Go.
Below: Entering the name of the app I’m looking for
Below: Apple’s tool displays several options.
Below: Select the one you want and then find the link
Other Ways that Link Builder Can Save You Time
Apple’s Link Builder was created specifically for use by their affiliate partners who earned tiny commissions on the sales of apps and content they recommend. I say ‘earned‘ because in August 2018, Apple informed all of their affiliate partners that they would be dropping app commissions from the affiliate program in October 2018. Since apps are the primary source of income for many affiliate partners, this has caused quite an online controversy amongst the thousands of publishers who’ve relied upon that income for a very long time. For some smaller sites app sales have been their only source of income.
Hopefully, Apple will find a way to not destroy the livelihoods of these small businesses like YouTube did when they destroyed thousands of small businesses last February.
Also hopefully, Apple won’t remove this great link building tool too!
I mention the affiliate aspect because it adds context to the other features that Link Builder offers. Once you’ve found a link, you can utilize the tool to create banners and App Store Buttons which take readers directly to the apps in their appropriate app store. The tool also provides code for those features which affilate partners can use to add directly onto their webpages too.
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