Seemingly out of the blue, Apple has just announced that its iTunes Affiliate Program will no longer include apps for iOS or macOS. These changes will go live on October 1st, 2018.
The program previously allowed individuals, blogs, YouTubers, etc to link to an app and earn a small cut of the sale if a purchase was made. When the program first launched, affiliates would make 7% of any app purchase (or a little less than 7 cents on a 99 cent app.) In April of last year, they dropped that down to 2.5%. With this news, the commission is gone completely.
The broader iTunes Affiliate Program itself will live on, but only for music, movies, books, and TV purchases.
Here’s the full text from Apple’s own newsletter
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.
For more information on commission rates, please see our Commissions and Payments page on the Affiliate Resources site.
If you have questions, please visit our Helpdesk.
This news hits particularly hard for indie review sites like TouchArcade, who rely on affiliate links in their reviews for a substantial chunk of their revenue. In a post on the announcement, TouchArcade editor-in-chief Eli Hodapp writes “I really didn’t think it would be Apple that eventually kills TouchArcade.”
We’ve reached out to Apple for further insight on the change, and will update if we hear back.