Dollars to doughnuts

When Apple first switched its iTunes affiliate program from Linkshare to Performance Horizon Group, I was happy with the change. The Linkshare website was hard to navigate, horribly slow, and presented its data in laughably opaque forms. PHG, in contrast, was snappy, with easy-to-read graphs and tables. But I’ve come to learn that PHG’s payment system is holding onto more of my affiliate fees than is reasonable.

Let me say at the outset that the fees I get from iTunes links don’t amount to much and probably never will—I just don’t post very many affiliate links. By the end of 2014, for example, I will have collected a grand total of $207.17 for the year. It pays for the web hosting, but not much else. Which is fine. I know my reach is limited, and I’m not trying to make my living as an affiliate marketer.

But I am annoyed at PHG’s policies for releasing funds. First, there’s the 60-day delay between the sale and the payment of affiliate fees. Given that all these transactions are electronic, I don’t see why the delay is more than 30 days. Second, there’s the $30 threshold that has to be met before payment is sent. I understand that PHG doesn’t want to accumulate the administrative costs that come with lots of very small payments, but Amazon’s threshold is only $10 if you have the money sent directly to a bank account.1 Finally, there’s the fact that PHG applies the $30 threshold not to the aggregate of all fees, but to each individual currency used in the various iTunes Stores.

It’s this last policy that really bothers me. At the moment I have the equivalent of about $100 in fees from non-US purchases sitting at PHG, but because they’re spread across several currencies, I can’t collect any of it. Again, this is not much money, but it is 50% of what I made from the US iTS this year. And there’s the principle of the thing: I made these sales, so I should get the commission without having to wait years before piling up enough AUD, CAD, CHF, DKK, EUR, GBP, JPY, NZD, ETC.

Because I seldom look at my PHG account, I didn’t realize until today that my non-USD fees were also non-trivial. I’d suggest a class action lawsuit, but…

  1. Yes, Amazon’s threshold rises to $100 if you want a physical check cut, but that’s because they don’t want to be in the check-cutting business.