Apple has announced that it will be removing apps and in-app purchases from its iTunes Affiliate Program. The changes are due to take effect on October 1.
The affiliate marketing program allowed individuals, iOs news sites and publications to link to an app and in return receive revenue from Apple, which the firm took out of its standard 30% iTunes and App Store cut.
Affiliates using the program would make 7% of any app purchase, however, last April, Apple cut the rate down to 2.5%, indicating that its strategy for commissions is coming to an end.
In an announcement via newsletter, Apple said that all commissions for iOS and Mac apps in addition to in-app content will be removed, while “all other content types (music, movies, books and TV) will remain in the affiliate program.”
Big hit for publishers
At first glance, Apple’s sudden shift away from affiliate marketing will surely impact publishers and news sites that currently use the program and receive a commission on in-app content.
In particular, iOS-focused news sites like TouchArcade may result in shutting down in absence of a sustainable financial resource.
“It’s hard to read this in any other way than 'We went from seeing a microscopic amount of value in third party editorial to we now see no value,’” said TouchArcade’s editor-in-chief Eli Hodapp.
In a post on the announcement, Hodapp added that sites such as TouchArcade had become harder to maintain as advertising revenues dried up and free-to-play games, which don’t drive as much referral revenue because they monetise mainly through in-app purchases, have come to dominate the mobile marketplace.