Apple Not Paying Commission on iPads

On the day that Apple announced that pre-orders will be taken for it’s exciting new Apple iPad, there’s bad news for affiliates as Apple won’t be awarding commission on the product. In addition it’s advised that affiliates “refrain from promoting iPad on your site”. To add to the 0% commission misery the iPod nano, iPod classic and iPod shuffle are now also non-commissionable items.

In some respects I can understand this decision. The iPad is a new product and will sell itself due to the hype and via things like this pretty excellent review posted by Kieron. This means Apple won’t want to be paying out commission as it’s pre-sold already and why should they reward affiliates for simply pushing the bleeding obvious?

On the other hand it’s not great is it?

Many people may be wavering about picking up one of these delightful super-sized iPhones (although you can’t phone on them – unless I guess you use Skype, but I’m digressing). They may want to read reviews or weigh up options about the various 3G packages that are available. That’s something an affiliate could easily do. It’s content that would add value and could be the difference required to tip the sale and therefore warranting commission.

The “refrain from promoting iPad on your site” seems even more absurd. It’s the gadget launch of the year and Apple expect affiliates to keep quiet about it? What about all those accessories, like the iPad dock and case, can’t we promote them on our sites? Can we not help visitors decide which is best for them?

The announcement of this decision came around midday on 7th May and was an email titled “Apple Online Store Publisher Notification”. I don’t know about other affiliates but I totally ignored it as the headline didn’t grab me!

However, a second email which came this evening titled “Apple – Commission” did stand out. Aside from the iPad commission situation this nicely demonstrates the need for a good strap-line in your newsletter emails to attract an audience. Make it dull and it gets ignored. Put something in it that attracts interest (i.e. commission) and it gets read.

Anyway, hopefully this hasn’t caught too many affiliates unaware. Fortunately I didn’t waste too much time putting together something about buying an iPad, looking at the tariffs and the various accessories you can buy. Mind you, it took a lot less time to delete it!

I’ll be keeping a closer look on all network emails from now on, even if the subject line doesn’t look exciting!

What do you think? Are you happy with 0% commission on the iPad? And what about the refrain from promotion?

Imagine if every merchant refused to pay out commission on brand new items!

7 Comments Apple Not Paying Commission on iPads

  1. andy May 10, 2010 at 7:23 pm

    they just dont want to have to compete in the serps. I say continue promoting and reviewing, then when they come into a different merchant who do pay commission, you’ll have the serps.

  2. Zath May 10, 2010 at 9:58 pm

    I remember seeing the same kind of emails around the iPhone 3GS, I thought it disappointing that no commission was being paid, but then they also said about refraining from promoting them – which from an overall business perspective I thought was completely bizarre!

    No doubt like andy says, it is the SERPS competition they are concerned about, but still seems ridiculous really.

  3. KCheung May 11, 2010 at 9:27 am

    i think its nuts, seems like the apple campaign is really poorly designed…i can appreciate however that the amount of marketing they do for their products means that unlike other companies consumers are pre-sold, but even then a token commission in recognition would be better than nothing, I’d personally be happy if they paid £3 per sale on ipods, ipad

  4. Curtis Pendragon May 11, 2010 at 9:38 am

    Interesting, may I ask who is provding the Apple affiliate program for UK sales?
    As all I can find is the iTunes affiliate program…. Would be nice to offer some Mac proudtcs.

    Many thanks,

  5. Pingback: Dear Apple, it’s OK I don’t want to join your affiliate programme because it’s too unfair

  6. Paul Smith May 11, 2010 at 10:23 am

    I have to say whilst it is dissapointing, I think Apple are bang on the money with this one. The iPad is already as it’s been mentioned pre-sold due to the hype Apple have created. A few days after UK launch the blogosphere will fill up with reviews about the iPad from a UK perspective and this product is going to speak for itself, we all know how its going to work and what it’s going to do if you have ever used an iPhone.

    Affiliate sales are supposed to be above and beyond what a merchant would achieve anyway and unless consumers have been living with their heads in the sand for the last few months, they are going to already know about the iPad. Therefor allowing affiliates to simply “get in the way” of sales that are going to come anyway would be crazy. I don’t mean that disrespectfully to anyone, but If I were Apple i’d be doing the same thing regrding commissions.

    That said the “refrain from promoting iPad on your site” thing is very odd, as andy pointed out they obviously don’t want entreprenurial type people to have a platform ready to promote the iPad in competition with themselves when other merchants start to stock it.

  7. hero May 12, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    same thing had happened when the iPhone was released in the UK market – the merchant was not paying commission for contracts or for handsets. Occasionally it makes you wonder if merchants need affiliates solely for the products they can’t shift themselves.

    On the other hand, and it’s a practice I agree with, with products of such high demand as the iPad, you’ll get a lot of dissatisfied customers as stocks will run out very fast. So, the merchant wants to control preorders to a manageable volume. And this can only be done if they control marketing and sales channels. I’m sure their ppc and display campaigns are adjusted accordingly to ensure they don’t get vast preorders that they know they won’t be able to fulfill.

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