Apple has released a new revenue stream that could unleash a new community of digital content creators, which is already thriving in China.
Apple’s new update to their App Store policies official allows voluntary tipping via virtual currency as in-app purchases that Apple taxes by 30 percent. By taking tipping out of the company’s gray area, app developers may include a digital tip jar as a way to get content creators paid without having to offer ad revenue sharing.
Chinese live-streaming apps such as Yinke and Yizhibo have embraced the tipping model, which allows users to tip or send virtual gifts to people in exchange for extra attention. American live-streaming currently do not provide tipping. In fact, both Facebook Live and Periscope do not offer tipping.
It is important to note that Apple cracked down on unofficial tipping, which was a way around the 30 percent fee on in-app purchases by highlighting how the tips were donations rather than actual purchases. According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple told Chinese social media apps to disable their tipping functions or be kicked out of the company’s app store.
Apple did not have a rule in place about how tipping was classified. Now, the company has implemented a legitimate way to tip. As part of the company’s App Store policy update, Apple explains, “Apps may use in-app purchase currencies to enable customers to “tip” digital content providers in the app.”
This means developers can add tipping features without worrying about getting kicked out of the app store, as long as they are willing to give Apple 30%. As a result, entertainers and more content creators can make more money or even create higher quality digital content. As long as they are okay with Apple taking 30%.