Apple takes an axe to its App Affiliate Program

Review sites? Who needs 'em! Fanbois need never leave the App Store again

Apple extended a corporate middle finger toward its army of fanbois as it announced the death of apps in the iTunes Affiliate Program yesterday.

The programme, which allowed sites to link to an app in Apple’s App Store and earn a percentage of a subsequent sale, initially offered affiliates 7 per cent of the price. Last April this dropped to 2.5 per cent. Even that, it would seem, is too much for impoverished Apple to pay its fans as apps disappear from the agenda as of 1 October 2018.

By way of explanation, Apple pointed to its wondrous new App Store on iOS and macOS, which Cupertino reckons will improve app discovery to the point were other methods, such as app review websites, simply aren't necessary.

The pricey phone slinger is leaving other content, such as music, movies and TV alone, possibly indicating that Apple regards iTunes to be as awful as the rest of us find it, at least as far as discovery is concerned.

It is still possible to earn up to 7 per cent commission on non-app media, and if you can persuade an unfortunate to sign up to Apple music, their first month's payment will go straight into your pocket.

The timing of the axe-swing is unfortunate, coming on the heels of a bumper set of financial results for Apple. However, fanbois eagerly watching the market capitalisation of their beloved phone maker creep towards the magic one trillion dollar mark are unlikely to be distracted by the plight of review sites, such as TouchArcade. Its editor-in-chief, Eli Hodapp, wrote a plaintive blog post on the matter, expressing surprise and hurt that it would be Apple that could finally do for the app-evangelising site.

Readers will not be surprised to learn that The Register is not part of Apple’s Affiliate Program but, Eli, we feel your pain.

Hodapp signs off with: "I’m just going to turn my phone off and go sit outside". In the light of today's Ofcom report, this is good advice. ®

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