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Apple now allows tipping for content creators but with 30% tax
15 June 2017, 02:14 | Simon Arnold
It could foster various communities of virtual content producers like those in China.
Shady developers are gaming the App Store's policies and its search ads to get users to download apps that trick them into paying for subscriptions for scam apps. Earlier, Apple used to tax 30 percent for its in-app purchases.
Developer Johnny Lin posted a report on his analysis of the fraud, and said that some developers are clearing $80,000 a month on shady apps that don't deliver on their promises. It will be an alternative way to get the creators paid without the need for an ad revenue sharing scheme. It's baffling that Apple approved apps like this in the first place - perhaps it's a side effect of faster app review times.
Lin became curious when Apple recently declared it had paid out $70bn to developers in the App Store's lifetime, and that $21bn of that was in the previous year alone. He looked up the app on Sensor Tower, a website providing data and insights into mobile apps, and found the suspicious app was earning a monthly revenue of $80,000.
The VPN app offers to "auto scan duplicated contacts, merge or delete", as well as a full scan which will "scan for dupplicate (sic) name, phone, email, no name, no phone, no email".
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But it also illustrates the risks associated with people who read about VPNs in the mainstream media and sign up for the first thing they see without first doing their research. Apple Music and iCloud subscriptions, plus third party subscriptions on the App Store, exceeded 165 million.
And perhaps more importantly, their subscription fees start from $4.54 per month; around 1/20 of the fee for this scam app on the US App Store.
This has now changed with the addition of one of its new rules, stating that tipping is considered "an in-app purchase", and must undergo Apple's internal App Store payment system. That includes a mobile VPN called "Mobile protection "Clean & Security VPN" ranked 10 as of June 7". Ads display a small blue icon signifying an advertisement, but otherwise, they're almost indistinguishable from search results.
According to U.S. tech media TechCrunch, Apple's move could take tipping out of the grey area, and more app developers might institute digital tip jars as an alternative way to get creators paid without having to offer ad revenue sharing.
CSO Online has asked Apple for comment and will update the story if it receives a response.
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