Effective as of October 1st, Apple will no longer provide affiliate commissions for referrals to apps on its App Store.
The move is of particular concern to publishers who focus on game and app reviews for iOS and Mac. While the commission Apple provides is only around 2.5 percent, a small percentage of the company’s revenue, they are of large importance to such websites.
Following the change, it’s likely there are many publishers out there concerned about how they’re going to make up for this lack of revenue. There’s also likely a feeling of abandonment in part because these websites have assisted the App Store’s growth over the years.
One such publication, TouchArcade, has been circulating an editorial which expresses their dismay. The beloved site has been around since 2008 reporting on the earliest game submissions to the iOS App Store but now says it has ‘no idea’ what it’s going to do.
“It genuinely feels like Apple does not want us to exist anymore,” wrote TouchArcade Editor-in-Chief Eli Hodapp. “We’ve weathered unbelievable storms from advertising revenue vanishing with the rise of free to play.”
The site explains how Apple cut their affiliate commission rate just over a year ago which already impacted them hard. They had to deal with it by attending fewer events and reducing the number of freelancers writing for them.
Now it seems inevitable many jobs will be at risk from the collapse of review sites.
“I don’t know how the takeaway from this move can be seen as anything other than Apple extending a massive middle finger to sites like TouchArcade, AppShopper, and many others who have spent the last decade evangelizing the App Store and iOS gaming,” concludes Hodapp.
Apple says the decision was made following the launch of its revamped App Store earlier this year. In an email, the company said their 'increased methods of app discovery' effectively made commissions redundant.
The new recommendations likely use machine learning to learn users’ preferences and what other apps they download after. Direct links to apps lowers the capture of such habit data so Apple’s new policy may be aimed at reducing these occurrences.
It feels an extra big kick in the teeth from Apple considering they dropped the news the same day they announced record-breaking earnings of $53.3 billion and became the world’s first company worth $1 trillion.
What are your thoughts on Apple’s decision? Let us know in the comments.