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Introducing Custom Subdomains – {{yourapp}}.app.link

By May 31, 2016 No Comments

Starting today, all new Branch partners will get branded links with no additional configuration. You can finally have {{yourapp}}.app.link for your app!

What is Changing

Since the iOS 9.3 release, we have been working hard to build out support for an exciting new feature: Branch partners can now choose their unique app.link subdomain. Truly, https://catfacts.app.link/GOkv84uMDo can finally be yours! All you need to do is follow the step-by-step directions at https://start.branch.io/.

 

Custom Subdomain

A Short History

When Branch first launched, every app’s links looked exactly the same: https://bnc.lt/GOkv84uMDo. We liked the bnc.lt domain because it was clever, short, and branded. Turns out, everyone else just saw an unidentifiable URL — .lt is Lithuania, in case you were wondering — and to this day, we still hear from people who are afraid to open our “sketchy-looking links.”

Then Apple introduced Universal Links in iOS 9. The thing about Universal Links is that every app must have its own unique links. This is actually one of the biggest advantages of Universal Links, but bnc.lt was already being shared by thousands of apps. So we gave every app its own random four-character identifier: https://bnc.lt/wH7d/GOkv84uMDo. Not the end of the world, but also not exactly an improvement to memorability.

The next chapter in this story happened a few months ago, when Apple used the iOS 9.3 release to make sudden and unannounced changes to the way Universal Links work.   We quickly adapted to this by moving all new apps away from the default https://bnc.lt domain. For our partners, this is a major improvement. But unfortunately that random four-character identifier hadn’t retired — it just moved to a new home in the subdomain: https://wH7d.app.link/GOkv84uMDo. Beginning today, that will finally change.

We have supported custom domains and subdomains at Branch for a while now. If you already had a domain (or were up to the challenge of registering and configuring one) this was a great solution. Both https://go.catfacts.com/wH7d/GOkv84uMDo and https://facts.cat/wH7d/GOkv84uMDo were within reach. But it was still not quite the Holy Grail of app linking, because setting up a new domain just for Branch links is not really an “out-of-the-box experience.” Hardly ideal for apps without a web presence. However, with our new [you].app.link feature, custom branded links are now available for all apps and no longer even require registering a domain name.

Coming Soon for Everyone

Custom app.link subdomains are available immediately for new apps. We are working on an automated migration process for existing apps, but you can update to a new custom app.link subdomain right away by sending an email to support@branch.io. However, please be aware that all of your existing links will stop working.

We are excited to be launching this new feature, because now every partner can have a professional, branded app linking experience with Branch. No extra set up required. We look forward to seeing what you build!

Read more about custom subdomains on our marketing links webpage.