Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Affiliate commission from iTunes

Parents' apple tree has been especially bountiful this year

In my quest to try and make a bit of money from this site, I’ve signed up to Apple’s Affiliate Programme. This means that any links to songs, apps and e-books on Apple’s stores will go through an affiliate link, and should you ultimately buy something, I’ll get a small amount of commission from the sale.

Well, in theory…

This is provided that you, dear reader, live in Europe or Brazil. You see, Apple’s affiliate programme doesn’t deal with content providers (like me) directly – instead, it’s through one of four affiliate networks. As I’m based in Britain I’ve signed up to TradeDoubler, but I would only get commission from US users if I signed up to LinkShare, and had my pages dynamically change based on the user’s location, which I haven’t done.

Of course, once you join TradeDoubler, you then have to apply to join Apple’s programme. They accepted me, although I didn’t get any kind of notification – it just appeared in my control panel. You can then either deploy one of Apple’s banner ads, or use its Link Builder to create affiliate links with your unique code. This link builder is, unfortunately, quite well hidden, so you’re best bookmarking it. For best results, you’ll then need to modify any links to Apple content so that they have your affiliate tracking code – I searched WordPress for ‘itunes.apple.com’ to find all of mine.

The returns, at least initially, aren’t that great – 4% of any purchases. Bear in mind that you get nothing if the app is free, and 4% of 69p (the cost of many apps) is less than 3p, so unless you have a big site don’t expect massive returns. And TradeDoubler has a minimum payout of £30, so at least 1000 people will need to follow your link to buy a 69p app. Consequently, I’m unlikely to become rich from this any time soon (or get back the thousands of pounds that I’ve spent on things from Apple over the past 8 years), but any income is better than none, I suppose.

Amazon does it better

By comparison, the Amazon Associates programme is a little more generous (5% in the UK, although still 4% in the US), you deal with Amazon directly and the products sold tend to be of higher value. You can also find any product whilst browsing Amazon, and click ‘Link to this page’ on the associates toolbar (which appears on all Amazon pages when you become an associate). Best of all, for WordPress users, there’s the Amazon Affiliate Link Localiser plugin which automatically adds your affiliate tag to any links in your posts, and it works in different countries, so it’ll select Amazon.com for US visitors and Amazon.co.uk for UK visitors. It’ll do other countries as well, but with those being the largest English-speaking markets I decided to stick with them.

Being transparent about it all

This leads me to my ‘Income Policy‘, a page that I recently added, which clarifies how this site makes money. It’s also there to make it clear that whilst I may use affiliate links from time to time, I won’t recommend products or applications that I wouldn’t use myself. I don’t want to be a sell-out. I just want to offset some of the costs of running this site without resorting to more intrusive advertising.

One Comment

  1. Check out GeoRiot as an iTunes / App Store equivalent to the Amazon Localizer.

    Also, just an FYI – Amazon has 9 affiliate programs while iTunes has 45 now world wide. They (iTunes) also pay 5% commission in N. America, Latin America and Australia/New Zealand and finally it’s a 72 hour commission window for iTunes vs. a 24 hour window for Amazon.

    Don’t get me wrong — both are great programs and when possible use both but I personally am a big fan of the iTunes / App Store program, but then again I’m a bit biased. 🙂