YUDU Claims to Dodge the iPad Subscription Tax (But Doesn’t)

News flash! “Service launched for publishers to evade Apple cut!” That was the headline as digital publishing service YUDU announced a way for publishers to sell subscriptions for content in iOS apps without paying Apple a 30% cut. Which is great news if you didn’t know that was already possible.

Thanks to a verbatim re-post of that press release on Reuters (which did not specify it was a verbatim re-post), I was lured into thinking someone had figured out a way to sell subscriptions in iOS apps without paying Apple a 30% cut. But then I read the words “dual-subscriptions system” and realized it was less than implied.

If you’ll recall, when Apple announced their new subscription policy, they made it clear that publishers do not pay a cut to Apple for any subscriptions bought outside an app. Apple gets no cut from existing subscribers who mail in a payment every year or new subscribers who sign up through a web site, etc., etc. Apple only requires that publishers make the same offer in-app, in which case Apple then gets a cut. After combing through the YUDU website and checking various YUDU apps for their in-app purchases, I have concluded all they do is offer an online method to pay for subscriptions, in addition to the in-app method, i.e., a “dual-subscriptions system.”

Disappointing but I give them points for effort, and it was worth my time to examine their Pro service. If the journal I work for gets serious about interactive digital content, I will look them up again.

Comments

  1. Richard Stephenson says

    Hi
    Thanks for looking at this and commenting. Actually you are wrong in your assessment as you are looking at YUDU.com which is quite separate.

    What we do is allow the publisher to sell from their own website and link that via an API to our DRM system. The new subscriber can access the subscription that is shown in the downloaded app by entering in their email and password details. This is all in accordance with Apple’s rules which allow the publisher to keep the 100% if the traffic to their site is generated by their own efforts Always remember that the same App has to be available on the App store and if the user wants to use their iTunes account to buy the subscription Apple take the 30%.
    There is nothing magical about our solution, we have just written some smart software that complies with apples rules.

    • Sumocat says

      Thanks for the details, but my conclusion that you “offer an online method to pay for subscriptions” does not exclude its implementation on publishers’ websites.

  2. Mike Cane says

    Hm…. I did not know that Yudu was also offering *in-app* purchasing. Dammit. That ruins my own post and now I still have to wait to see how this all plays out with eBooks.

  3. Firebush says

    So, in short, instead of an «Apple cut», there will be a «YUDU cut». They might be less expansive, but since they surely spent less money than Apple by developing their service, it is quite logical. This is in fact like in any market : you have different products at different prices. You just need to know more about the reliability of the service you pay for and the service it brings to your costumer. Not sure if the saving will be worth it…

  4. Firebush says

    So, in short, instead of an «Apple cut», there will be a «YUDU cut». They might be less expansive, but since they surely spent less money than Apple by developing their service, it is quite logical. This is in fact like in any market : you have different products at different prices. You just need to know more about the reliability of the service you pay for and the service it brings to your costumer. Not sure if the saving will be worth it…

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