Starting Oct. 1, Apple will remove iOS apps, Mac apps, and all in-store app purchases from its affiliate program. The company will no longer payout commissions to third-parties who send Apple sales for any and all of those items. All other iTunes store content, such as movies, TV shows, music, and books, will remain part of the affiliate program.
According to Apple, the decision to remove apps from its affiliate program is due to its revamped and relaunched App Store, complete with real human editors, which focuses on discover of news and popular apps.
Apple broke it down in an email announcement to its affiliates:
Thank you for participating in the affiliate program for apps. With the launch of the new App Store on both iOS and macOS and their increased methods of app discovery, we will be removing apps from the affiliate program. Starting on October 1st, 2018, commissions for iOS and Mac apps and in-app content will be removed from the program. All other content types (music, movies, books, and TV) remain in the affiliate program.
On social media, many people are outraged. The app affiliate program enabled many third-party, completely independent from Apple, websites to write about and honestly review iOS and Mac apps. These outlets — websites like AppShopper, Touch Arcade, and AppAdvice — were able to sustain regular coverage and app reviews due in major part to the money made from the apps purchased from their affiliate links.
Upon seeing the news of Apple ending its app affiliate program, TouchArcade editor-in-chief Eli Hodapp took to Twitter.
I wish I was dead. https://twitter.com/twostraws/status/1024784040417800192 …Paul Hudson@twostraws
Wow: Apple kills the App Store affiliate program /cc @9to5mac @bzamayo
In a post on TouchArcade, Hodapp further wrote:
I genuinely have no idea what TouchArcade is going to do. Through thick and thin, and every curveball the industry threw at us, we always had App Store affiliate revenue- Which makes a lot of sense as we drive a ton of purchases for Apple. 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.
And TouchArcade’s editor-in-chief was quick to point out, as did others, that these websites aren’t the only ones who would be hurt by this move from Apple. Indie iOS app and game developers would feel the pain too.
The mega-fucked thing about Apple killing third party editorial because their new App Store discovery is so “good” is that featuring now requires proven KPI’s. “Real” game sites don’t cover mobile-Without outlets like TouchArcade unknown iOS indie games are effectively 100% dead.
Naomi Clark [暗悪・直美]@metasynthie
Apple just killed the main source of income for all third-party reviewers of iOS apps and games, stating openly that they’d rather just curate and promote everything themselves in the “new App Store.” Other forms (books, movies, music): unaffected! https://toucharcade.com/2018/08/01/apple-kills-the-app-store-affiliate-program-and-i-have-no-idea-what-we-are-going-to-do/ …
This is sheer vertical-monopolization, cutting off any other source of commentary that they don’t control and choking it to death. I knew the changes were bad for smaller devs last year but now we’re all the way to “just buy what Apple tells you to” https://twitter.com/metasynthie/status/871809778833657856 …Naomi Clark [暗悪・直美]@metasynthie
Is it just me or does this new App Store redesign look like it’ll just increase the huge gulf beteween haves & have-nots of discoverability?
Apple’s focus on discovery in its App Store may be a move in the right direction, but it will never make up for the coverage lesser known developers get from third party, independent websites. And, on the day Apple becomes the world’s first trillion dollar company, they can certainly afford to keep sharing the 2.5 to 7 percent affiliate commission from its app profits with the very indie websites that drive them sales.