Apple’s Apple’s fees for in-app purchases have famously been criticized for years. The tech giant charges a 30% fee on services sold through apps on its platform for the first years and then reduces that fee to 15% for each year following. However, it seems that it is not taking its 30% cut from every app on its platform. Patreon’s CEO Jack Conte recently revealed that the platform does not pay Apple’s commission on App Store purchases – and he’s unsure why.
Patreon CEO Jack Conte says Apple’s app review policy is unstable
While companies like Epic Games have taken Apple to court over its app tax, Jack Conte of Patreon revealed that the platform does not pay Apple’s commission on App Store purchases. In a new episode of Decoder, the CEO sat down with Nilay Patel and said that Patreon does have a special agreement with Apple.
I wish we had some special contract with Apple. We don’t. We have to deal with the App Store policies and review process like anybody else. And sometimes we actually get delayed and have to make changes in the apps.
Why don’t we have to pay fees? I think it’s because, for whatever reason, we’re within Apple’s guidelines, and we haven’t had to pay fees.
Conte further revealed that users who subscribe to a creator on Patreon do so via engaging with creators on third-party apps. The platform also directs users out of the app to sign up for a membership with a creator.
Well, the way people use our app, and the way Patreon has set up the business as a platform for creators, as you mentioned, there’s not a ton of discovery right now happening on Patreon. People are not coming to Patreon to find a bunch of creators and then supporting creators. They’re using the app to communicate and to hang out, between patrons and creators, to make posts, to talk to each other. And then a lot of the actual engagement is happening on other platforms. A big portion of our creators are using Discord to hang out with their communities and to be with their communities. People are not coming to Patreon like you would come to YouTube, to find a bunch of creators to support. So it’s just not the primary behavior that’s happening on Patreon.
Though Apple has not asked the platform to pay its required app tax as of yet, Conte did say that he is frustrated with the App Store review process adding that the experience is unstable.
Honestly, with the app review policy, we’ve never really felt a ton of stability. I think, again, we’ve had conversations where the app hasn’t been approved. That doesn’t feel great. And then we have to make changes and do things. So far, it’s always worked out, but does it feel stable? No.
The Verge has reached out to Apple for comment on why Patreon is an exception to its App Store rules but has not heard back as of now.