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Fanhouse protests Apple’s 30% commission on payments to creators

Content creator platform Fanhouse is launching a campaign protesting Apple’s 30% App Store commission on payments to creators.

Founders of Fanhouse, a platform that allows creators to get paid by their fans for exclusive content, say that Apple is threatening to kick them off the App Store by August if they don’t pay the 30% cut on payments that users make to creators on the platform.

“People who are relying on their creative income as a means to support themselves will now find themselves being taxed by Apple more than they would by their own government. Someone making $10,000 would now only make $6,000,” said founder Jasmine Rice. “For some people, that difference can be life or death.”

Fanhouse is a platform where creators can set up what is essentially a private social media page that only paying fans can access. Founded in 2020, the app managed to make it onto the App Store without Apple noticing that it offered payments that bypassed its in-app purchase platform.

Rice said that Fanhouse only takes 10% of the income that creators make on the platform. While she added that she’s okay with Apple taking 30% of the company’s revenue, but not 30% of the money made by creators.

In a statement to The Verge, Apple said it is working with Fanhouse to bring the app into compliance with its guidelines. It also said that Fanhouse was previously rejected because of a similar guideline violation.

Apple takes a 30% cut of app and in-app purchases on the App Store, a commission that has become a point of contention for developers. Apple’s requirement that developers use its own proprietary payment platform with that fee was the catalyst for the Epic Games v. Apple lawsuit.

Apple in 2020 launched a small business program cutting its commission to 15% for app companies making less than $1 million in revenue from the App Store. Fanhouse makes more than that, but pays nearly all of its revenue to creators.

It’s worth noting that Apple’s guidelines didn’t explicitly cover content creators until Monday, when the company updated its rules to allow creator-made content as long as it’s moderated and Apple gets its 30%.

Rice, for her part, is encouraging other creator-based companies to urge Apple to change its policies.

“Apple, take your heavy cut from our profits, or allow us payment exceptions like you do other platforms,” Rice said. “But please, let creators have a place where they can earn a fair income for their content. These people deserve the lion’s share of their earnings and nothing less.”

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