Skip to main content

Insight Timer CEO Upset With Apple's Abrupt Enforcement of App Store Rules

Apple has frustrated another app developer with arbitrary enforcement of its App Store rules, with Insight Timer CEO Christopher Plowman this week taking to LinkedIn and speaking with TechCrunch to complain about a frustrating experience with the ‌App Store‌ review team.


Insight Timer is a meditation app that is subscription based. Customers pay $60 per year to access guided meditations, yoga classes, and other teacher-led courses. In addition to the subscription fee, Insight Timer accepts tips for teachers, which is what is at the heart of the dispute.

In 2022, Insight Timer started allowing app users to provide their teachers with digital donations or tips, and these donations were not initially subject to Apple's 30 percent fee on digital goods per Apple's ‌App Store‌ rules. Apple approved 47 Insight Timer updates that had the tipping functionality, but late last year, Apple's review team decided that these payments weren't considered tips, but digital goods purchases, which subjected them to the ‌App Store‌ in-app purchase fee.

App Store rule 3.2.1 vii says that apps can allow users to give a gift to another individual without using in-app purchase, so long as the gift is an optional choice and 100 percent of the funds go to the receiver of the gift. This was the case with Insight Timer, as it was not taking a cut of tips, but the individual to individual wording is what became murky, as well as an addendum to that rule that says a gift "connected to or associated at any point in time with receiving digital content" requires in-app purchases.

Apple took issue with Insight Timer accepting tips for live events and meditations, deciding that this money was for digital content. Plowman did not agree with Apple's assessment, and spent months negotiating. Apple did agree to allow tip links on teacher profile pages that are not subject to a 30 percent fee, but donations from live events and meditations are not considered tips. Apple's reasoning is that a one-to-one donation is a monetary gift, but a workshop or class with at least two people is digital content that's subject to a commission.

Plowman suggested that the meditation and yoga experiences are no more digital than renting an Airbnb or taking an Uber, and Apple does not collect fees from these kinds of purchases.
Just as homeowners don't pay 30% of their Airbnb income to Apple - imagine the outrage - teachers shouldn't have to pay Apple 30% of their donation income either. Many Insight Timer teachers are doctors, nurses and educators who return home from their day jobs to work in the evenings on Insight Timer for critical supplemental income. They give up their personal time recording audio replies to classroom questions, responding to user reviews, hosting live events, writing music, creating guided meditations and leading discussion groups. There's nothing 'digital' about these experiences no matter how much the definition is contorted. The more teachers work, the more they earn. The correlation is obvious and the term 'digital content' simply does not apply.

Of the $60 subscription fee that customers pay, Apple collects 15 to 30 percent. The remainder is split between Insight Timer and the teachers that participate on the platform, with each getting a 50 percent cut. Insight Timer earned $20 million in subscription revenue in 2023.

Apple required Insight Timer to comply with the ‌App Store‌ rules to submit further app updates, with a February deadline. Insight Timer complied this week, submitting an update that eliminates the tipping feature except on teacher profiles.

Plowman says that while he is frustrated, he believes Apple is willing to listen and that the company can be convinced to change. He asks that people share his story, but in a constructive manner.
This article, "Insight Timer CEO Upset With Apple's Abrupt Enforcement of App Store Rules" first appeared on MacRumors.com

Discuss this article in our forums



Source: TechRadar

Popular posts from this blog

Cyber Monday Canada: Last-minute deals for everyone on your list

Best Cyber Monday Canada deals: Smart Home Audio Phones, Tablets & Accessories Wearables Laptops & PC Components Amazon products Gaming Televisions Cameras Lifestyle & Kitchen Toys & Kids Cyber Monday Canada is here, and retailers are rolling out the red carpet for customers who want to shop for everything from tech to kitchenware to games and everything in between. Unlike years past, Cyber Monday Canada deals look a bit different than normal. Instead of retailers trying to pack their stores with as many shoppers as possible, we're seeing tons of online deals that you can take advantage of from the comfort of your home. We've rounded up our favorites below, so feel free to browse through the best of what Canada Cyber Monday has to offer! This list is being updated with new Cyber Monday deals all the time, so check back often. Spotlight deals It's a Switch Nintendo Switch Fortnite Edition bundle $399.95 at Amazon It's a Switch.

The hidden cost of food delivery

Noah Lichtenstein Contributor Share on Twitter Noah Lichtenstein is the founder and managing partner of Crossover , a diversified private technology fund backed by institutional investors, technology execs and professional athletes and entertainers. More posts by this contributor What Studying Students Teaches Us About Great Apps I’ll admit it: When it comes to food, I’m lazy. There are dozens of great dining options within a few blocks of my home, yet I still end up ordering food through delivery apps four or five times per week. With the growing coronavirus pandemic closing restaurants and consumers self-isolating, it is likely we will see a spike in food delivery much like the 20% jump China reported during the peak of its crisis. With the food delivery sector rocketing toward a projected $365 billion by the end of the decade, I’m clearly not the only one turning to delivery apps even before the pandemic hit. Thanks to technology (and VC funding) we can get a ri

Slack’s new integration deal with AWS could also be about tweaking Microsoft

Slack and Amazon announced a big integration late yesterday afternoon. As part of the deal, Slack will use Amazon Chime for its call feature, while reiterating its commitment to use AWS as its preferred cloud provider to run its infrastructure. At the same time, AWS has agreed to use Slack for internal communications. Make no mistake, this is a big deal as the SaaS communications tool increases its ties with AWS, but this agreement could also be about slighting Microsoft and its rival Teams product by making a deal with a cloud rival. In the past Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield has had choice words for Microsoft saying the Redmond technology giant sees his company as an “existential threat.” Whether that’s true or not — Teams is but one piece of a huge technology company — it’s impossible not to look at the deal in this context. Aligning more deeply with AWS sends a message to Microsoft, whose Azure infrastructure services compete with AWS. Butterfield didn’t say that of course

iPhone 13 Pro vs. iPhone 15 Pro Buyer's Guide: 50+ Differences Compared

The iPhone 15 Pro brings over 50 new features and improvements to Apple's high-end smartphones compared to the iPhone 13 Pro, which was released two years prior. This buyer's guide breaks down every major difference you should be aware of between the two generations and helps you to decide whether it's worth upgrading. The ‌iPhone 13‌ Pro debuted in 2021, introducing a brighter display with ProMotion technology for refresh rates up to 120Hz, the A15 Bionic chip, a telephoto camera with 3x optical zoom, Macro photography and photographic styles, Cinematic mode for recording videos with shallow depth of field, ProRes video recording, a 1TB storage option, and five hours of additional battery life. The ‌iPhone 13‌ Pro was discontinued upon the announcement of the iPhone 14 Pro in 2022, but it is still possible to get hold of it second-hand. Our guide helps to answer the question of how to decide which of these two iPhone models is best for you and serves as a way to c