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A Word On The iTunes Affiliate Program …


A Word On The iTunes Affiliate Program …

If you haven’t yet read the post that just went live over on TouchArcade, you probably should.

Essentially, Apple announced on Monday that it would be cutting the affiliate commission publishers make via the download of apps available on the iOS App Store and Mac App Store – to 2.5%.

To give you some further perspective on this, before RazorianFly became RAZMAG at the beginning of February, over 60% of our monthly generated revenue –that ultimately keeps the site operational– would have relied upon this.

Today, it’s more like 30%.

But, that’s not the point. The point here is that Apple is ridding the need for sites like AppChase, TouchArcade, and AppShopper.

7% per sale was low, granted. However when that 7% reflects upwards of 50% –perhaps even, 100% in some cases– of the monthly revenue your site, app or service generates, a cut to 2.5% (a 64.2-percent reduction per sale) could be considered not just potentially detrimental – but the difference between your favourite site continuing to exist, and not.

Apple knows this. I have a feeling that the firm eventually wants to become the sole curator of the app experience on iOS, (hence the reduced incentive for third-parties to cement themselves as ‘curators’). Either that, or it wants its affiliates to work harder.

Or maybe, the decision is solely in light of wanting to make more profit

Whatever the reason, the cut is bad news for publishers.

Those same publishers that recently embraced the firm’s own publishing platform – Apple News, likely in the hopes of taking full advantage of the bounties offered by the program at the time.

Whilst I don’t believe that the company is doing this to intentionally cause the sudden shuttering of popular app-driven portals and review sites, (after all, the existence of these sites is directly beneficial as they help to drive traffic to Apple’s many digital stores – and if it wanted to do that, it could just remove ‘apps’ from being eligible in the program), I do believe this week’s reduced incentive is signalling a shift in focus for not just the program – but Apple, itself.

Today, thanks to you, RAZMAG relies less on revenue generated from apps, and instead – just as we announced with our rebrand, earlier this year, has its focus on highlighting the latest across music, movies, TV, books and more … so, as of right now at least; we’re not going anywhere.

But this week’s announcement could spell a worrying trend for those solely relying on the fruits offered by the iTunes Affiliate Program, going forward.

Sure, those aforementioned digital commodities are sticking at their 7% per sale commission bounty – for now, and Apple has also confirmed that it will continue to pay out on subscriptions to Apple Music (for both individual listeners, and students), so there are “a number of ways to [still] earn with the program” the firm wrote in its e-mail to affiliates.

If Apple does start believing that its affiliates are deadwood, however, it’s not to say we couldn’t also see those rates reduced in the future – too.

That would leave sites like this one to rely on other monetisation options such as Google Ads, or selling ads ourselves … and with ad-blocking solutions now rife, (even built into the mobile OS itself, in some cases) that could eventually spell the end.

In conclusion, I’m not exactly sure why the rate is dropping … but I can assure you it will affect a lot of sites. Blogs, web publications and magazines that you love, you support … and that, I imagine, you would rather not want to wake up one morning and find … gone.

The rate adjustment which will also apply to commissions made via in-app purchases is set to take effect, globally – on May 1.

/ Image Credit: @drbarnard

In an attempt to merge the worlds of music, design and journalism, Arron is perhaps best known for founding online news brand: RazorianFly; a hobby which grew to attract a monthly audience of 120K.

Today he can be found designing and writing for whilst also managing #THEHOTLIST - a weekly updating playlist of the hottest new artists, now streaming on Apple Music.

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Perhaps best known for founding online news brand RazorianFly, Cheshire digital creative Arron Hirst lives for discovering new artists.
Experimenting in alt-synth vibes through his own side project - STARRHINO, today his focus is rooted in the user's experience.

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