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Apple Dramatically Slashes Affiliate Commissions

April 28, 2017


Apple is slashing commissions for affiliates from 7 percent down to just 2.5 percent starting May 1st.

The commission cut doesn’t apply to iTunes and iBooks Store content (music, movies, TV shows, and books will still be receiving a 7% commission per referral.)

The whopping 65% cut applies only to apps and in-app purchases. Strangely, Apple has given users a mere one-week notice before this dramatic drop in commission rate starts taking effect.

Stranger still, some critics say, is the rationale behind this decision. The choice to slash affiliate commissions from 7 percent to 2.5 percent seems to be diametrically opposed to other developer-friendly practices Apple has been keen to create.

For example, last year Apple helped increase developers’ revenue be changing the way subscriptions work. The changes gave developers who could maintain annual paying subscribers an improved 85–15 percent revenue split with Apple instead of the typical 70-30 percent. This is why Apple’s sudden decision to slash a sizable revenue source for developers is so jarring.

Developers who use affiliate links for their apps in order to earn additional income are not the only ones this cut will affect. Review sites that cover apps depend on referral links for revenue. These sites will have to prepare for the hit to their wallets and will surely be affected the most by this decision.

One differing opinion is that this move actually makes a lot of sense from Apple’s perspective. Sure, affiliates will be disappointed, but Apple is more focused on creating better incentives based on what type of content they feel needs an extra push.

The App store has consistently grown year after year. By all intents and purposes, its affiliate program has served its original purpose of getting it off the ground.

But that time is now over. Such large commissions are no longer needed to give the App store that added boost. Apple wants to focus on other types of content and that’s why the 7% commission rate will remain in effect for the type of content that needs it.

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Written by

Ruthie Carey
Ruthie Carey