Apple boots Match.com app after it runs afoul of subscription policy

Dec 2, 2011
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Match.com’s app for Apple’s iOS mobile platform has been kicked out of the iTunes App Store after Match.com failed to give Apple its cut of the service’s subscription fees. Subscription services with apps like Match.com’s fall under Apple’s June subscription policy, which Apple originally created to service newspaper and magazine subscriptions being taken mostly through […]

Match.com’s app for Apple’s iOS mobile platform has been kicked out of the iTunes App Store after Match.com failed to give Apple its cut of the service’s subscription fees.

Subscription services with apps like Match.com’s fall under Apple’s June subscription policy, which Apple originally created to service newspaper and magazine subscriptions being taken mostly through its iPad apps. Apple’s policy today is that apps that take subscription fees are free to offer those subscriptions through apps, but they have to pay Apple 30 percent of any subscription that gets purchased using an app on an Apple device. If those services would rather not pay Apple, that’s fine. Apps can access subscription content purchased elsewhere, but they can’t provide a button that sends users to the web to make their subscription purchase. In essence, if you want to use your app to garner subscriptions, Apple gets a cut, and you can’t perform an end-run on Apple to avoid paying the toll.

But that’s precisely what Match.com’s app has been doing, according to TechCrunch, presumably since Apple enacted the policy in June. The app contained a button that sent users to the Internet to get their subscription to Match.com, where Apple wasn’t getting a piece. Apparently, Apple didn’t realize that fact until just recently, but when it did, it pulled the Match.com app as per the subscription policy.

So for the moment, Match.com isn’t in the App Store, but that probably won’t be the case for long. Apple and the online matchmaker are currently negotiating what needs to happen with the app before it can be returned to the store, but it’ll be interesting to see what Match.com chooses to do with its app going forward. It has two options: cut Apple in on subscriptions that come through the app, or forgo offering subscriptions through the app entirely.

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At the very least, it’s likely Match.com will want to return its mobile offering to the App Store even if it doesn’t use it to garner subscriptions. Giving users even somewhat limited mobile functionality is still highly convenient to those users, and Match.com probably won’t want to give up its iOS presence completely.

But whether it’ll be profitable for the company to give Apple a 30-percent cut of its in-app subscriptions or just leave them off entirely is another question. It would depend on just how many subscriptions Match.com drags in from its apps, and whether losing its app will significantly decrease its visibility. If the App Store is how lots of people learn about Match.com and buy their subscriptions, then the company will probably opt to pay off Apple. But it seems like a mobile app might not be the best way to interact with the service, so in-app subscriptions for it may now be a thing of the past.

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Phil Hornshaw

Phil Hornshaw is a freelance writer, editor and author living in Los Angeles, dividing his time between playing video games, playing video games on his cell phone, and writing about playing video games. He’s also the co-author of So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Time Travel, which attempts to mix time travel pop culture with some semblance of science, as well as tips on the appropriate means of riding dinosaurs. Check out his profile.

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