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Court Rules that Apple Must Allow Alternate In-App Payment Options, Paving the Way for New Monetization Options

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The long-running Apple versus Epic Games legal saga may not have grabbed your attention, given the various technical complexities involved, and the stakes really only relating to major companies seemingly making more money from their efforts. But there is a critical consideration for general social media users within the case notes, which many could have missed – and that element saw a potentially big win today, depending on what Apple chooses to do next.

Today, District Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez ruled that Apple is no longer allowed to prohibit developers from including external links that direct users to third-party payment platforms from their apps.

The actual terms of the ruling are as follows:

“Apple Inc., and its officers, agents, servants, employees and any person in active concert or participation with them (“Apple”), are hereby permanently restrained and enjoined from prohibiting developers from (i) including in their apps and their metadata buttons, external links and other calls to action that direct consumers to purchasing mechanisms, in addition to In-App purchasing and (ii) communicating with customers through points of contact obtained voluntarily from customers through account registration obtained within the app.”

In summary, iOS apps will now be allowed to direct users to alternative payment platforms, beyond Apple’s own App Store transaction process, which will also mean that companies will no longer be required to pay Apple’s oft-criticized fees on all in-app spending.

Which could be massive for the broader ‘creator economy’, and the push among social networks to provide more ways for users to generate income from their on-platform efforts.

As an illustration of the current state, here’s a breakdown of Twitter’s ticketed Spaces payment flow on iOS devices right now:

  • Space ticket price = $5
  • 70c goes to Twitter (up to your first $50k in total earnings)
  • $1.50 goes to Apple (based on 30% cut of iOS purchases)
  • $2.80 goes to the creator

So even though you’re the host, and you’re doing all the work, Apple, based on the current App Store processes, takes a big chunk of your earnings – and this relates not only to ticketed Spaces, but also to Super Follows, newsletter subscriptions, Facebook Live Events, anything that happens in your apps where you look to charge users in-stream.

Now, there may be a way around this, which could facilitate a lot more revenue potential for creators within social apps, and make this new creator monetization push even more effective in fueling opportunities, and thereby maximizing usage of the various apps and functions.

Which, in turn, would also have a major impact on Apple’s revenue.

According to a recent report from Sensor Tower, the App Store generated $41.5 billion in revenue in the first half of 2021, a 22.1% increase year-on-year. Further, as per documents filed as part of the Apple vs. Epic case, gaming apps account for around 70% of App Store revenue, with the majority of that coming via in-app purchases.

Given that Apple could potentially lose such a big chunk of income, it’s inevitable that Apple will appeal the verdict, which means the legal case will drag on for some time yet. But as of right now, from December 9th, apps will be able to provide alternative payment options in iOS apps.

It’s difficult to fathom the full, potential ramifications here.

On one hand, the basic summary is that creators and developers will now be able to make more money, but the flow-on impacts of such could be massive. On an overall basis, Android is the most popular operating system in the world, so in that sense, there would be no real change, but iOS sees particularly high usage in first-world economies, where people are more likely to be spending more in-app.

With this in mind, and again considering the huge income that Apple generates from in-app purchases, all of that revenue will now, potentially, be re-distributed into new streams, which could fund all new platform pushes, all new income options, and could change the motivations for creators, developers, etc.

Which could spark a cascade of major shifts. Again, Apple’s not going to let the ruling go unchallenged, so it seems very unlikely that the December 9th deadline will mean much beyond this on-paper ruling. But it’s a significant decision, and one which could, at the least, force Apple to re-think its processes, and change the game for digital creators and brands.

Socialmediatoday.com

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17 Content Options for Each Stage of the Sales Journey [Infographic]

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17 Content Options for Each Stage of the Sales Journey [Infographic]

Looking to formulate a better content strategy for 2023?

This will help – the team from Orbit Media has put together a listing of 17 content formats, and where they fit within the sales funnel which could provide some inspiration for your planning.

There are some good pointers here, with specific approaches that you can take at each stage of the journey.

Check out the full listing below – while you can read more on the Orbit Media website.

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Meta Soars by Most in Decade, Adding $100 Billion in Value

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Meta Soars by Most in Decade, Adding $100 Billion in Value

Correction: February 2, 2023 This article has been revised to reflect the following correction: An earlier version of this article misstated how much Meta expected to spend on its deal with the virtual reality start-up Within. It is $400 million, not $400 billion. Meta’s stock surged on Thursday …

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Twitter’s Cancelling Free Access to its API, Which Will Shut Down Hundreds of Apps

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Twitter’s Cancelling Free Access to its API, Which Will Shut Down Hundreds of Apps

Well, this is certainly problematic.

Twitter has announced that, as of February 9th, it’s cutting off free access to its API, which is the access point that many, many apps, bot accounts, and other tools use to function.

That means that a heap of Twitter analytics apps, management tools, schedulers, automated updates – a range of key info and insight options will soon cease to function. Which seems like the sort of thing that, if you were Twitter, you’d want to keep on your app.

But that’s not really how Twitter 2.0 is looking to operate – in a bid to rake in as much revenue as absolutely possible, in any way that it can, Twitter will now look to charge all of these apps and tools. But most, I’d hazard a guess, will simply cease to function.

The bigger business apps already pay for full API access – your Hootsuite’s and your Sprout Social’s – so they’ll likely be unaffected. But it could stop them from offering free plans, which would have a big impact on their business models.

The announcement follows Twitter’s recent API change which cut off a heap of Twitter posting tools, in order, seemingly, to stop users accessing the platform through a third-party UI. 

Now, even more Twitter tools will go extinct, a broad spread of apps and functions that contribute to the real-time ecosystem that Twitter has become. Their loss, if that’s what happens, will have big impacts on overall Twitter activity.

On the other hand, some will see this as another element in Twitter’s crackdown on bots, which Twitter chief Elon Musk has made a personal mission to eradicate. Musk has taken some drastic measures to kill off bots, some of which are having an impact, but Musk himself has also admitted that such efforts are reducing overall platform engagement

This, too, could be a killer in this respect

It’ll also open the door to Twitter competitors, as many automated update apps will switch to other platforms. This relates to things like updates on downtime from video games, weather apps, and more. There are also tools like GIF generators and auto responders – there’s a range of tools that could now look for a new home on Mastodon, or some other Twitter replicant. 

In this respect, it seems like a flawed move, which is also largely ignorant of how the developer community has facilitated Twitter’s growth. 

But Elon and Co. are going to do things their own way, whether outside commentators agree or not – and maybe this is actually a path to gaining new Twitter data customers, and boosting the company’s income. 

But I doubt it.

If there are any third-party Twitter apps that you use, it’ll be worth checking in to see if they’re impacted before next week.



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