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!