It takes at least a few days for iTunes and App Store purchases to become final approved sales. In some countries the process takes longer. As a result, the iTunes affiliate program’s web dashboard would not reflect commission earned from affiliate links for at least a few days after they were used by customers. For example, a link used on a Monday typically wouldn’t start reporting commissions until around Thursday. That has changed.
The affiliate program dashboard can now display ‘Approved,’ ‘Pending,’ or ‘Approved + Pending’ commissions. ‘Approved’ commissions are ones that you will be paid as soon as your commission balance reaches the program’s payment thresholds. For more on how payments work, check out my guide to the affiliate linking program on MacStories.
‘Pending’ commissions relate to sales that have been made, but are not yet final. This is the primary change to how commissions are now reported. You cannot be assured that you will be paid ‘Pending’ commissions until they are ‘Approved,’ but now you can display them so you have nearly real-time feedback about how each link is performing. According to Apple’s announcement the verification of ‘Pending’ transaction, which moves them into the ‘Approved’ category typically takes 3-5 days.
This is a welcome change to the iTunes affiliate program. As with app sales and most other digital sales, affiliate links tend to follow a performance curve marked by an immediate spike followed by a quick drop-off and long tail. The ability to receive data on ‘Pending’ commissions means you can now get feedback on the most critical period of an affiliate link’s performance cycle as it’s happening.
John Voorhees is the creator of Blink, an iOS utility for generating iTunes affiliate links.