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Last week we reported that Apple had emailed all iTunes Affiliate Program members to inform them that its commission rate for all apps and in-app content would be reduced to 2.5 percent on May 1, down from 7 percent, globally.

itunes-affiliates.jpg

The news came as a blow to app review and discovery websites like AppShopper and TouchArcade that depend on the commissions to generate revenue.

However, this morning MacGamerHQ posted an email communication from iTunes Affiliate Support that casts doubt on Apple's original announcement.

App-affiliate-commission-change-800x475.jpg

The message above was received in response to a query about whether Mac apps would be impacted by the commission changes. As shown, the email states that iOS and Mac app commissions remain at 7 percent, while only in-app commissions will fall to 2.5 percent.

If the affiliate team's information is accurate, then the change in commissions does not apply to individual app purchases, as Apple originally stated.

MacGamerHQ notes that several affected site owners and bloggers are still seeing 7 percent commissions come through for iTunes affiliate links, despite the fact that the changes were meant to come into effect on Monday. We'll make sure to update this post if/when Apple clarifies the situation.

Update 5/8: Apple has confirmed in a note on its Affiliate Resources website that the commission rate change only applies to in-app purchases (2.5 percent, down from 7 percent). All other rates remain unchanged.

Article Link: Apple's Affiliate Commission Changes Only Apply to In-App Purchases? [Update: Yes]
 

apiuser

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May 4, 2017
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This is great news if true.

It also presumably means you can cancel / not have to rely on that Patreon that was needed to keep TouchArcade going, I know it can be a real pain and feel terrible to have to ask your audience for money, now you wont have to which is ace.
 
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Val-kyrie

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Feb 13, 2005
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Ditto on the good news.

I wonder if this is Apple trying to drive a stake through the heart of freemium apps while encouraging for-pay apps?
 
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thisisnotmyname

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I'm cynical today, it strikes me that this wasn't news before and still isn't and the only reason MR is covering it is due to the impact on your sister company. Personally I've just been annoyed the handful of times I've clicked an app link here and been dumped onto app shopper rather than iTunes App Store.
 
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profets

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Mar 18, 2009
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If this is true, then why would Apple have made the announcement a few weeks ago and let that bit of negative feedback occur?

I wonder still if they're lowering the commission as a preemptive move to an announcement at WWDC about the 70/30 split changing (in the developer's favour). Maybe 80/20 and then 90/10 on recurring?

Does this mean that Apple takes less from developers? Or that the developers get less?

Developers are getting the same 70% cut. The affiliate commission is from Apple's cut.
 
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Telos101

macrumors regular
Apr 29, 2016
219
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I'm cynical today, it strikes me that this wasn't news before and still isn't and the only reason MR is covering it is due to the impact on your sister company. Personally I've just been annoyed the handful of times I've clicked an app link here and been dumped onto app shopper rather than iTunes App Store.

Pretty harsh. In my experience MR always provides [direct links] to the App Store alongside App Shopper links, and it states them as such. Just look for the square brackets.

This post from yesterday for example: https://www.macrumors.com/2017/05/03/clips-update-live-title-improvements/
 
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69Mustang

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Ditto on the good news.

I wonder if this is Apple trying to drive a stake through the heart of freemium apps while encouraging for-pay apps?
Definitely not. Apple has no reason at all to encourage pay once apps over freemium. That would be incredibly irresponsible from a financial perspective. IAP is where the vast majority of profit comes from on the app store. Whether we personally dislike IAP (I dislike it... a lot) has nothing to do with business. IAP is pretty much the only proven method of making money in an app environment.
 
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keysofanxiety

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Nov 23, 2011
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When it comes to IAP, I think Amazon Underground has it absolutely nailed. If you've never heard of it: imagine downloading Candy Crush, but you can get any unlimited amount of IAPs without actually having to pay any money for them. Amazon then pay developers based on minutes of in-game time.

This then means that people play a bloodsucking game like Candy Crush and blast through all the levels within about 20 minutes. They realise it's a crap vacuous game without any substance, delete it, and never play it again.

If Apple did something similar it would be an incredibly aggressive move, yet nothing but a good thing IMO. I feel such a move can only encourage more quality apps and better developers in the long term.
 
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mw360

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Aug 15, 2010
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When it comes to IAP, I think Amazon Underground has it absolutely nailed. If you've never heard of it: imagine downloading Candy Crush, but you can get any unlimited amount of IAPs without actually having to pay any money for them. Amazon then pay developers based on minutes of in-game time.

This then means that people play a bloodsucking game like Candy Crush and blast through all the levels within about 20 minutes. They realise it's a crap vacuous game without any substance, delete it, and never play it again.

If Apple did something similar it would be an incredibly aggressive move, yet nothing but a good thing IMO. I feel such a move can only encourage more quality apps and better developers in the long term.

How's that sustainable?
 
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Glassed Silver

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Mar 10, 2007
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I'm cynical today, it strikes me that this wasn't news before and still isn't and the only reason MR is covering it is due to the impact on your sister company. Personally I've just been annoyed the handful of times I've clicked an app link here and been dumped onto app shopper rather than iTunes App Store.
I'd like to see you try keep a site like MR running, as a healthy business not to mention too.

Personally, I'd rather see ref links over banner ads any day of the week, they need/use both and it's alright I think.

You're getting plenty for the zero dollars you spend here and I'm super fine with them getting kickbacks in a neutral way (ref-link over sponsorship) from these app links.

When it comes to IAP, I think Amazon Underground has it absolutely nailed. If you've never heard of it: imagine downloading Candy Crush, but you can get any unlimited amount of IAPs without actually having to pay any money for them. Amazon then pay developers based on minutes of in-game time.

This then means that people play a bloodsucking game like Candy Crush and blast through all the levels within about 20 minutes. They realise it's a crap vacuous game without any substance, delete it, and never play it again.

If Apple did something similar it would be an incredibly aggressive move, yet nothing but a good thing IMO. I feel such a move can only encourage more quality apps and better developers in the long term.

Kinda agree, too bad the Underground will be shut down this Summer though.

Glassed Silver:ios
 
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keysofanxiety

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Nov 23, 2011
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How's that sustainable?

Well there would still be revenue stream from ads.

Furthermore if the app is good and people play it a lot, they will get additional revenue from Apple based on how long the playtimes are. Although it will be a huge financial hit if it was applied tomorrow, over the long term it would ensure quality applications or games will prosper. If anything it would be more sustainable for great apps.

Pay-to-play addictive games aren't there to be sustainable. They're there so large developers can nickel-and-dime customers and make profit over quality. I appreciate it may seem like a huge extreme but these IAP-mining games are completely getting out of hand.
 
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0098386

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Jan 18, 2005
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How's that sustainable?
I dunno the specifics of it, but it's being shut down soon. I used it on my Android tablet and it was really useful for testing out apps to buy properly.
 
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acegreen

macrumors regular
Jun 25, 2015
171
212
I'm cynical today, it strikes me that this wasn't news before and still isn't and the only reason MR is covering it is due to the impact on your sister company. Personally I've just been annoyed the handful of times I've clicked an app link here and been dumped onto app shopper rather than iTunes App Store.

Then go get your news elsewhere
 
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Kajje

macrumors 6502a
Dec 6, 2012
722
958
Asia
I'm cynical today, it strikes me that this wasn't news before and still isn't and the only reason MR is covering it is due to the impact on your sister company. Personally I've just been annoyed the handful of times I've clicked an app link here and been dumped onto app shopper rather than iTunes App Store.
I've picked up hundreds of apps via Appshopper. Saved me a lot of money. Sorry if it didn't work out for you. Perhaps MR is willing to refund your subscription fees.
 
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thisisnotmyname

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Oct 22, 2014
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Pretty harsh. In my experience MR always provides [direct links] to the App Store alongside App Shopper links, and it states them as such. Just look for the square brackets.

This post from yesterday for example: https://www.macrumors.com/2017/05/03/clips-update-live-title-improvements/

I'd like to see you try keep a site like MR running, as a healthy business not to mention too.

Personally, I'd rather see ref links over banner ads any day of the week, they need/use both and it's alright I think.

You're getting plenty for the zero dollars you spend here and I'm super fine with them getting kickbacks in a neutral way (ref-link over sponsorship) from these app links.
Glassed Silver:ios

Then go get your news elsewhere


It appears I struck a nerve with several readers. I stand by my statement, I think it's entirely fair to point out a potential link between story selection and direct (to the parent company) financial gain. I'm also entitled to my opinion that the appshopper crossover articles with affiliate links annoy me (although thank you Telos for pointing out the square bracket trick). Acegreen, no.
 
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Abazigal

Contributor
Jul 18, 2011
15,168
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Singapore
Definitely not. Apple has no reason at all to encourage pay once apps over freemium. That would be incredibly irresponsible from a financial perspective. IAP is where the vast majority of profit comes from on the app store. Whether we personally dislike IAP (I dislike it... a lot) has nothing to do with business. IAP is pretty much the only proven method of making money in an app environment.
Consider the long term implications on the Apple ecosystem.

The problem is that iaps tend to be skewed towards games, which can in turn discourage the development of quality productivity apps as developers flock to where the money is.

Do you want your iPad to be stuck as a hearthstone device forever? That's not a healthy market scene at all.
 
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69Mustang

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I stand by my statement, I think it's entirely fair to point out a potential link between story selection and direct (to the parent company) financial gain.

It would be fair to point it out if MR and other affiliate sites were the only ones reporting this story. They are not. In fact, you'd be hard pressed to find any Apple-centric site that didn't report this exact story. The implication of ulterior motives should, at a minimum, contain some connection to supporting evidence. Your implication contains none.

Consider the long term implications on the Apple ecosystem.
Let's examine the implications of diminished IAP. It's by far and away, the largest revenue generator in the app store. What is going to replace it? Remember, Apple is trying to grow the category, not shrink it. How is that going to affect the stock? Apple isn't going to throw away continual daily income on the hopes that single purchase apps are going to somehow grow sooooo much in popularity that they will counter the lost revenue of IAP. Like it or not (I'm firmly in the not camp) the customer base has spoken. IAP is their preferred method of wallet draining, and that is the biggest hurdle Apple would have to overcome to take the app store in a different direction. They aren't jumping that hurdle. Why would they?

The problem is that iaps tend to be skewed towards games, which can in turn discourage the development of quality productivity apps as developers flock to where the money is.
You're going to have to walk me through this logic. There are no correlations that make this work. There are literally hundreds of thousands of business and productivity apps in the app store. There is no dearth of app development for business/productivity apps. It's the 2nd most popular category on the app store behind games. There is also no correlation between more devs and more quality apps. IAP has been the financial driver in the app store for a long time. If devs were going to flock to where the money is, wouldn't they have already done it?

Do you want your iPad to be stuck as a hearthstone device forever? That's not a healthy market scene at all.
Both my iPads are sitting in a drawer collecting dust along with my Android tablets. Tablets have lost their appeal in my household. But when they did play a part, it was in the role of consumption device.
 
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thisisnotmyname

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It would be fair to point it out if MR and other affiliate sites were the only ones reporting this story. They are not. In fact, you'd be hard pressed to find any Apple-centric site that didn't report this exact story. The implication of ulterior motives should, at a minimum, contain some connection to supporting evidence. Your implication contains none.

OK, so let's take the investment disclosure model then. Much like the media that covers equities, MR could include a short, "MacRumors' parent company participates in and derives revenue from this Apple affiliate program," disclosure statement. I often see major news outlets do the same thing with other partner relationships (advertisers or sibling organizations). Transparency goes a long way towards silencing skeptics like me. In any case, no I won't be able to provide any specific evidence, I don't have that sort of access. I remain suspicious of their motivations though and have expressed my opinion.
 
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69Mustang

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OK, so let's take the investment disclosure model then. Much like the media that covers equities, MR could include a short, "MacRumors' parent company participates in and derives revenue from this Apple affiliate program," disclosure statement. I often see major news outlets do the same thing with other partner relationships (advertisers or sibling organizations). Transparency goes a long way towards silencing skeptics like me. In any case, no I won't be able to provide any specific evidence, I don't have that sort of access. I remain suspicious of their motivations though and have expressed my opinion.
When MR is promoting apps they do include the investment disclosure. I'd even support the idea that they should have put that disclosure in this article. But that still doesn't provide any insight into your skepticism. What exactly are you skeptical about regarding MR? What's suspicious? This has been reported by every Apple site and in the mainstream tech sphere. Is everyone in on some conspiracy or is this just specific to MR?

Ask yourself, what does MR gain by reporting this information? Nothing financial that's for sure.
 
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thisisnotmyname

macrumors 68020
Oct 22, 2014
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When MR is promoting apps they do include the investment disclosure. I'd even support the idea that they should have put that disclosure in this article. But that still doesn't provide any insight into your skepticism. What exactly are you skeptical about regarding MR? What's suspicious? This has been reported by every Apple site and in the mainstream tech sphere. Is everyone in on some conspiracy or is this just specific to MR?

Ask yourself, what does MR gain by reporting this information? Nothing financial that's for sure.

Money. This change could be an existential problem for their sister company AppShopper. Publicizing this change, that I expect has zero impact on the vast majority of its audience, could be an attempt to bring pressure on Apple via negative press in the hopes they roll back the policy change. That's my opinion, no big conspiracy, I think they care and are publicizing because it affects the (parent) organization's bottom line.
 
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69Mustang

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Jan 7, 2014
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Money. This change could be an existential problem for their sister company AppShopper. Publicizing this change, that I expect has zero impact on the vast majority of its audience, could be an attempt to bring pressure on Apple via negative press in the hopes they roll back the policy change. That's my opinion, no big conspiracy, I think they care and are publicizing because it affects the (parent) organization's bottom line.
Well if that's their plan, MR is doing a pee poor job of generating negative press. Your opinion is your opinion. I am not here to change it. Just observing how much of a stretch it takes to have that opinion, especially since absolutely nothing points in that direction. To each his own.
 
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