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Apple's lower iTunes Affiliate rates only apply to in-app commissions, report says

Clarifying a recently announced iTunes Affiliate Program policy change that reduces commission rates, a report on Wednesday claims the new schedule applies only to in-app links, not websites and other outlets.




Apple late last month informed members of the affiliate link program to a steep reduction in commission rates for apps purchased through the App Store. The change, which went into effect on May 1, was expected to bring affiliate rates down from 7 percent to 2.5 percent.

According to an email sent to MacGamer HQ from Apple's iTunes Affiliate Support, however, the policy switch appears to apply to in-app purchases.

"Please note that only in-app commissions have changed," Apple's support team writes.

The email goes on to list updated commission levels, noting iOS and Mac app commissions remain at 7 percent, while in-app commission for both platforms are now at 2.5 percent. The clarification seems to jibe with observations from bloggers who, as of yesterday, had yet to see the supposed rate cut instituted.

AppleInsider was unable to verify MacGamer HQ's claims, and Apple's support teams are not always in sync with their corporate counterparts. That said, a separate rate model for in-app purchases makes sense considering the initiative's goals.

That said, the new information seemingly contradicts Apple's original statement on the matter released last month:

Starting on May 1st 2017, commissions for all app and in-app content will be reduced from 7% to 2.5% globally. All other content types (music, movies, books, and TV) will remain at the current 7% commission rate in all markets. We will also continue to pay affiliate commissions on Apple Music memberships so there are many ways to earn commissions with the program.

Under the iTunes Affiliate program, websites, blogs and other online publications linking to App Store apps are able to claim a small percentage of proceeds from subsequent purchases. Importantly, the agreement does not eat into developer proceeds, making it an effective form of link distribution and, where applicable, advertising.

If Apple is in fact limiting commission rate changes to in-app purchases, the move would be in line with modifications made to the App Store revenue model last year. After years of taking a flat 30 percent cut of all App Store purchases, both one-time and in-app renewing, Apple introduced a new tier that deducts only 15 percent of income generated by long-term subscribers. The updated terms increased developer profits to 85 percent, incentivizing auto-renewable subscriptions that are accomplished in-app.