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Apple, Google Unveil Competing Subscription Plans

Apple has a brand new system that will allow online content producers to sell subscriptions.

Google has a brand new system that will allow online content producers to sell subscriptions.

Is that a coincidence? Coming only a few days apart, it does seem that Google is trying to one-up Apple especially since Apple is taking nothing but flack from producers in regard to their offer.

Here are Apple’s rules. Any content producer that wishes to sell a subscription can do so through the iTune’s app system which provides one-touching (think impulse) buying. That’s great. If a person clicks and buys, Apple get’s 30%. Not so great for content producers. Where it really gets sticky is in this next bit.

“All we require is that, if a publisher is making a subscription offer outside of the app, the same (or better) offer be made inside the app, so that customers can easily subscribe with one-click right in the app. We believe that this innovative subscription service will provide publishers with a brand new opportunity to expand digital access to their content onto the iPad, iPod touch and iPhone, delighting both new and existing subscribers.”

Which means a consumer must be offered a choice, go out to the website and pay for the item or stay here and pay with one click. Since studies have shown that people prefer apps that don’t take them out to a browser, it’s pretty obvious which choice they’ll pick.

Content producers are crying foul, saying they can’t afford to take a 30% hit. Apple says it’s worth it because more people will see and buy into their subscription packages. 30% is a little steep, but I’ve got to agree with Apple. If I have to go to a browser and fill out all my credit card info, I’m going to think twice. Single button and it comes out of my iTunes account? I’m in.

Google’s counter offer is Google One Pass. Here, customers set up a one pass account and from there they can subscribe to content, manage subscriptions and read the content on PC, iPad, iPhone, mobile skywriting. . . however you want. Cost to the publisher? Around 10%. Quite a difference from Apple and without all of the rules.

The downside? Google has to get people and publishers to sign up for One Pass. Apple already has an audience on iTunes.

So, big, built-in audience for 30% or up and coming network for 10% — if I was a publisher, I’d be looking seriously at Apple.

What do you think? Is it worth giving up 30% of your revenue for a shot at Apple’s audience?