Apple Tax

The tech news is often full of articles reporting on Apple’s dominance with its app store and the percentage it charges. There is less talk about how businesses are compelled to spend a significant portion of their budget on digital advertising with Google and Facebook to ensure visibility online.

I’m sure the economics work out well for large companies, but for a really small shop like ours, I’m happy to pay Apple this fee.

We host our premium feed with Supercast, and payments are made through Stripe. The service is completely open, and the fees are relatively low. I can access customers’ emails, listening habits, and other information I shouldn’t be privy to. This would seem ideal from a business/marketing standpoint—low fees and lots of data.

Except it’s not. How many times have I acted as tech support for a $7/month charge? Too many. Hours and hours have been spent. Or all the time, I have had to refund a charge, which costs me the fee that both Supercast and Stripe levy. Not to mention those who are too lazy to email and simply dispute the charge with the credit card company. This not only costs me the fees from Supercast and Stripe, but the bank charges me $15.

For many, this is no big deal, but each hour spent sending emails, offering tech support, or managing payments is time I’m not spending doing other, more important things, like creating something people might want to pay for in the first place.

So, we are going to move from open to closed and move all our offerings to a service that manages those aspects of our business. We’ll also find another way to establish a relationship with our listeners.