Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

The Google Play Affiliate programme (the lack thereof)

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Screenshot of the iTunes Affiliate Control Panel

The screenshot above is my console for the iTunes affiliate programme, which gives me approximately 7% commission on any clicks from this web site which result in a purchase from the iTunes Store, Mac App Store, iOS App Store or iBook Store. Apple recently expanded the programme to serve 147 of the 155 countries it operates stores in, so there’s potential to earn from just about every visitor who clicks through links. Whilst I’m not making much money from it, it’s nice to get a bit of cash back.

I’m also an Amazon Associate and getting a few quid each month from that. Neither are enough to pay my hosting bill but every little helps.

Anyway, as you know I try to review an app every week (doesn’t usually work out that way but nevermind), and often these apps also available on Android. So I went about investigating whether there would be an opportunity to claim commission from the Google Play Store as well, to cover both bases. It turns out that there isn’t; Google shut down its affiliate programme last year and it has never offered commission for affiliates on Android apps, either in Google Play or its predecessor the Android Marketplace. Which is surprising, considering that Apple has such a comprehensive affiliate programme, and is its biggest competitor.

Having an affiliate programme could really benefit Google. Although I tend only to review apps for iOS and not Android because I have an iPhone, and do not have an Android handset, third-party sites, like mine, may be more worthy to review and recommend apps if there was some monetary gain in it. And whilst a smaller proportion of apps on the Google Play app store are paid apps, if sites can drive traffic to it and increase sales, then Google benefits as well.

It was at this point when writing this blog post that I remembered that Amazon also has an app store for Android apps – primarily for its Kindle Fire devices but it can be enabled on most other Android phones too. Sadly. Amazon do not pay commission on Android apps sold through its app store – it’s explicitly excluded. Again, I think Amazon are also missing a trick here, particularly if Google are unwilling to run an affiliate programme. Amazon already has the infrastructure and affiliate network in place, and could make its app store more popular overnight if it gave some kickback to third-party sites like mine for paid app referrals.

I hope Google and Amazon change their minds about this. You could argue that this is merely greed on my part, but I genuinely think these companies have something to gain from running successful affiliate programmes. Apple certainly seems to think it benefits from its affiliates, given its recent expansion into new countries.

One Comment

  1. I agree that a Google Play Affiliate Program would be good for the greater app and app discovery ecosystem!

    One quick note that while Amazon.com appears to be listing apps as excluded products for it’s Associates program, the other international storefronts don’t appear to have this same restriction and we are seeing international commissions for app sales.

    Eg.
    UK Associates Excluded Products List – https://affiliate-program.amazon.co.uk/gp/associates/promo/excludedapr2013

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