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Four Ways To Stay Out Of Trouble

4 IMPORTANT RULES24 IMPORTANT RULES

The last installment we’ll be sharing from our MAKE APP Magazine special is a list we’ve put together with a couple of the most common reasons we’ve seen for people getting kicked out of Apple’s Affiliate Program. 

The iTunes Affiliate Terms and Conditions lays out the ground rules for being an affiliate in good standing. Below are a few of our favorites, but we strongly encourage you to familiarize yourself with the list in its entirety. 

Please don’t forget to support GeoRiot and the folks at MAKE APP who worked hard to put this together. To download the issue in its entirety, head to the iTunes store and as a thank you, you’ll be given a free, three month, non-auto renewing subscription, courtesy of MAKE APP. To claim, simply download the issue, click Subscribe > Current Subscribers and enter the bonus code “georiot”.

1) Cookie Stuffing

Apple reserves the right to withhold or reverse commissions if Affiliate is … cookie stuffing. — Section 6.5

Cookie stuffing” is the practice of forcing an affiliate link to resolve before the user has clicked on a button signaling their intent to leave your app (or website) and enter the iTunes Store / App Store.

Developers can inadvertently do this when they use QA 1629 to resolve an affiliate link in the background but pop up a dialog box asking for the user to confirm if they want to leave the app and go to the App Store.  If they hit “Cancel” and the link has already resolved in the background the cookie has been set and you’ve technically, just “cookie stuffed.”

Intentional or not, this and any other unethical manipulation of the affiliate cookie is a big “No-No.”

2) Content Scraping

You may not employ the use of any mechanical means to pull content from an Apple store or site.  — Section 4.3

No scraping content!  Honestly, with all of the affiliate tools available, such as the RSS Feed Generator, Enterprise Partner Feed and Search API, there are much easier ways to programmatically get content from the iTunes or App Store.  Don’t waste your time writing a bot to crawl and scrape the iTunes / App Store.

3) Using Song Previews Incorrectly

…Promotional content … including previews of songs and music videos …is not used for independent entertainment value apart from its promotional purpose. — Section 2.1

The 30-second song previews provided by iTunes cannot be repurposed for any sort of “entertainment use.”  They are specifically there for promotional and advertisement purposes.  The easy, way to self-test that you’re not misusing a preview is to ask if what you plan on doing with it would normally require a music license.  If the answer is yes, you are most likely abusing the preview.

4) Improper Call To Action

Any text-based link … may not include any call to action other than one for the purchase of one or more products in a Store…  — Section 4.1

Unfortunately, this means that any time you use an affiliate link with text, the text should encourage people to buy an app (or something) from the App Store.  It also means you can’t use affiliate links when asking users to upgrade or review your app.