Apple is buying ads for subscription apps, so you go to its App Store instead of the website
Apple has been heavily criticized and even sued for its App Store’s high fees and strict policies. The Cupertino tech giant charges developers a 15-30% commission fee for using its App Store payment system. As a result, some developers end up offering the same subscriptions for a lower price tag on their websites. On the other hand, those who retain the same price on both platforms earn more from website customers. Developers are now accusing Apple of buying ads for popular subscription apps to redirect people to its App Store.
According to Forbes (via 9to5Mac), Apple has been buying Google ad slots to compete with developer websites. These advertisements redirect users to App Store listings. As a result, users are more likely to download the app and start their subscriptions through the App Store payment system rather than the developer website — where Apple doesn’t get a cut for paying subscribers.
Some developers have been complaining about Apple piggybacking their success for extra revenue. Google has refused to take App Store ads down, and developers — in most cases — can’t match Apple’s higher bid for the top ad spot in search results. Appearing as the second ad rather than the first can make your website lose significant traffic, depending on how frequently it appears in search results.
The report mentions that affected apps include Babbel, Bumble, HBO, Masterclass, Plenty of Fish, and Tinder. We have independently confirmed that App Store ads bought by Apple appear at the top when Googling for some of the mentioned apps. These popular services all offer relatively high subscription prices, so they could potentially be losing millions because of Apple’s move. Apple shares very little data with developers regarding subscriptions done through the App Store. As a result, offering users support, refunds, and other services becomes harder and more complicated for developers.
What do you think of Apple’s strategy to increase its App Store revenue? Let us know in the comments section below.