Apple recently asked WeChat and other popular social networking apps in China to disable the popular tipping feature, and now we know why—the Cupertino giant has introduced an officially-sanctioned way for iPhone and iPad users to tip content creators in apps via the standard In-App Purchase mechanism.
Like with other In-App Purchases, tipping content providers is subjected to Apple’s 70:30 revenue sharing scheme, meaning the company will keep 30 percent of any proceeds to itself.
Apps may use in-app purchase currencies to enable customers to “tip” digital content providers in the app. Apps may not include buttons, external links, or other calls to action that direct customers to purchasing mechanisms other than In-App Purchases.
According to the report, developers have the freedom to decide how much of the tips are passed to the content creators themselves (after Apple’s 30 percent cut, of course).
At any rate, Apple was smart to implement this cool new feature.
Tipping content creators like musicians, comedians, e-sports athletes and others is tremendously popular in China. The company has lacked a tipping system for iOS apps, meaning it couldn’t get in on the action to process such transactions through its own iTunes billing system.
With tips now being officially supported via the familiar In-App Purchase mechanism, many customers who were previously reluctant to use PayPal or their credit card for tipping their favorite content creators will now be able to do so, directly in the app.
And by taking tipping out of the grey area, as TechCrunch observes, more developers might implement digital tip jars— without fearing repercussions from Apple—as an alternative way to get creators paid without having to offer ad revenue sharing.
In turn, the feature may create a whole new revenue stream for Apple at a time when the company is monetizing its huge user base in an attempt to boost its ever-growing Services revenue.