It’s days like today that make it feel like Apple just isn’t going to be happy until TouchArcade as well as all other third party content creators and web sites that focus on the App Store just don’t exist at all, leaving the App Store featuring process as the sole curation point for all things iOS. Just as we were formulating a solid plan for what to do with the TouchArcade app (which we can’t update) as it dies with iOS 11, Apple announced that they’re dropping their affiliate program commission from 7% all the way down to 2.5%. To give you an idea of how much this sucks, let’s get into how the TouchArcade sausage is made.
Back in the good ol’ days, TouchArcade existed as a business through selling ads and through referral links. Developers looking to promote their game would email firstname.lastname@example.org, and work with us to buy ads on the site to coincide with their game launch. Before the days of free to play, ad sales were great. Today? Not so much. (You can tell when we have actual ads we sell running because things that relate to iOS games will be on the site, instead of just basic placeholder ads for Verizon or whatever else.)
Ouch! Apple just slashed the affiliate commission on apps and IAP. This will impact lots of great sites/apps. pic.twitter.com/dbv7CboMX3
— David Barnard (@drbarnard) April 24, 2017
While ad sales dropped off significantly, referral links still did pretty good. Any time you clicked a link on TouchArcade, the TouchArcade forums, or inside the TouchArcade app to grab a game on the App Store, we got a tiny percentage of that sale as a commission payment from Apple. This also saw a significant drop with the advent of free to play, as 7% of $0 is, well, $0. We post about a ton of premium games because that’s largely what we (and our community) are interested in, so while there was a decline, it wasn’t as severe as ad sales.
When the continued existence of TouchArcade through a severe drop in ad sales became threatened, we launched a Patreon. Between Patreon support, App Store referral commissions, and severe corner-cutting to reduce operating costs as much as realistically possible without affecting the quality of our content, we made things work. A 65% cut in those referral commissions once again puts TouchArcade in incredibly scary financial territory.
— Arnold Kim (@arnoldkim) April 24, 2017
It has become increasingly clear that if TouchArcade is going to survive, we need additional support from our audience. Whether you love TouchArcade for our update roundups and Hearthstone news on Mondays, our new game release posts on Wednesdays, Shaun’s RPG Reload series on Thursdays, our podcast on Fridays, our forums, our Discord chat, event coverage and/or all the latest iOS game news, reviews, and more… Please consider supporting us on Patreon.
Patreon backers get access to a video version of our podcast, as well as special rewards both in Discord and our our forums. Additionally, we’re always soliciting feedback from Patreon backers for what other things they’d like to see us do both on TouchArcade as well as exclusively for Patreon backers- So you can play a real part in steering the direction of what sort of thing we focus on and what kind of stuff we do.
That’s odd – affiliate commission on apps is being dropped from 7% to 2.5%. That’s going to badly hit sites that monetise through links. pic.twitter.com/NoclzKijHH
— James Thomson (@jamesthomson) April 24, 2017
Think of it as paying for a magazine subscription, except instead of subscribing to a magazine that you get once a month, we post constantly every day, with way more content than you’d ever see in a magazine. Right now, less than 0.03% of the people who read TouchArcade every month are contributing to our Patreon (which is totally fine, as I know people are used to getting everything on the internet for free) but if even 1% of our audience tossed us a buck a month, we’d be back to operating on all cylinders without worrying about navigating seemingly endless curve balls being thrown our way that are just constantly pushing TouchArcade’s continued existence into question.
I hate needing to post this kind of stuff, but, for real, if you value TouchArcade on any level, please support us on Patreon.