Bypassing Apple’s Subscription Roadblock

Publishers covet their subscriber information as their crown jewels. That’s a major reason why they’ve viewed Apple’s in-app subscription rules so warily.
On the surface, the rules are a nightmare for publishers since Apple makes it very easy for users to opt out of providing their information. In truth, there are many ways around this for publishers to benefit from the ease of Apple-enabled subs while still collecting the needed customer information.
Apple’s subscription method isn’t crystal clear but we know the basics: all purchases, regardless of subscription or standard, must be offered as in-app purchases with Apple taking a hefty 30 percent cut. Apple doesn’t automatically pass publishers subscriber information. (It claims this is on privacy grounds.) Instead, Apple allows publishers to request personal information entered in iTunes through an in-app prompt on the completion of every subscription. The simplicity of Apple’s “don’t allow/allow” makes it too easy for a user to not provide their information to the publisher, but Apple receives all of it. This is where publishers don’t have to play ball.
By Apple’s rules, publishers can collect data from their end users, with consent,“to provide a service or function that is directly relevant to the use of the application, or to serve advertising.” Apple further states that publishers (those whose applications are content based) with a subscription model in place can collect user information as long as there is a posted and maintained privacy policy in place regarding the use of that information.
Any publisher worth its salt can easily build a page prior to the in-app subscription that would require consumers to provide information. This will get companies the same information they would be able to collect on subscriptions on their websites, although they’ll still have to pay Apple 30 percent of the subscription price.
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