Apple kills app affiliate commissions, imperiling small publishers

“Apple generally releases its ‘bad’ news late in the day, and its latest such announcement is particularly unfortunate: Effective October 1, it will stop paying publishers affiliate commissions for both apps and in-app purchases from its App Stores, a move that independent app reviewers believe will kill their sites,” Jeremy Horwitz writes for VentureBeat.

“At stake are 2.5 to 7 percent commissions on apps and in-app purchases, which Apple pays to publishers who convince customers to buy apps from the iOS and Mac App Stores,” Horwitz writes. “While these are relatively small fractions of Apple’s revenue, they are critical sources of income for independent sites that cover iOS and Mac applications.”

“A widely circulated editorial from independent app review site Touch Arcade said that the decision was a sign that ‘Apple does not want us to exist anymore’ and would kill the publication,” Horwitz writes. “Many publications have struggled in recent years with declining ad revenues, forcing cutbacks in everything from staffing to event and product coverage; for some sites, affiliate revenue has been the only guaranteed income keeping people employed.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Regardless, small publishers have been imperiled for many years now. This reminds us of when Apple began nixing Apple Store affiliates. That one cut deep. Well, this is yet another reminder to not put all of your eggs into one basket. Good luck to all of those affected.


      1. Apple does not have a trillion dollars. That is simply Apple’s approximate market capitalization. Once a corporation issues common stock, its performance really doesn’t directly affect the company except through analyst and investor pressure to take certain actions (e.g., dividends, etc.).

        You folks are a strange bunch. You appear to fervently back capitalism, seem to recognize that a corporations primary job is to maximize shareholder value, but routinely diss Apple for making presumably prudent business decisions simply because Apple has so much money.

        Strangely, that type of spending approach is exactly the opposite that you want from the U.S. government.

        Hypocrisy? I think so.

        1. The definition of capitalism has changed. Once the pooling of capital was intended specifically to raise enough money to do great projects that no one person/company/bank could fund alone. Timelines were finite per charter and benefits were distributed. That model has been corrupted. Once the managers of these companies learned they could accumulate unlimited personal financial and political power thanks to investor gullibility and information asymmetry, corporations began to fund political campaigns, control congressional puppets, and directly write legislation for their benefits. Corporations became infinite organisms with all the rights but almost none of the responsibilities of a citizen. They never die and they recognize no national boundaries so they can accumulate and hide insane amounts of wealth.

          The corporation today is not devoted to consumer well being or returning investor capital per timeline, it is primarily interested in maximizing cash funneled to executive pockets. Thus short term gimmicks and media hype are used to buoy stock prices when cash flow is needed. When cash is plentiful, it isn’t given back. Look at Apples cash pile. Apple is using it not to develop great new products (look at mac mini), and more is spent to buy aapl than to give back directly too investors. It proves that Apple doesn’t care about anything other than perpetuating its executive power. If Apple cared about changing the world it would do many things differently. But Apple today under Cook is just another greedy corporation designed to maximize cash extraction from customers with the bulk of the proceeds hidden overseas and in grossly over generous executive compensation. Cook is so greedy he won’t even maintain Apples product design leadership or keep prices in realistic ranges. Apple doesn’t demonstrate any values different than any other greedy company. Exploitation is the game today. It wasn’t the game that Apple’s founders were playing.

  1. For Jobs and for Cook too, treating suppliers and allies heartlessly but cutting them off is the method of Capitalism baby. This shows the disloyal downside of allying oneself to Apple or any other corporation and the little of apparently warm and fuzzy SJWism on top does not make up for it, probably meant to make the guy on top feel good.

  2. I killed my publication (macCompanion) shortly before MacWorld shut down theirs. I gave it away to “MacTech” magazine and they only wanted the subscriber list. Many of those who worked with me went on to great careers with Apple.

    When everything went digital, there was no real money in it then either.

    The overhead for Apple no doubt was costing the company more than any return on investment.

    1. Apple is a business. No matter how much money it has, keeping that money requires investing in things that make IT money, not in things that make money for somebody else. They have paid the affiliate fees because the App Store search facilities were so bad that outside reviews were the only way to find anything. As they said in the announcement, that calculus will change before Oct. 1 with upgrades to the App Store. It was no longer cost effective to continue the program.

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