Twitter Super Follows Are Implemented as Discrete SKU’s to Work With Apple’s IAP System

Jane Manchun Wong:

Each Super Follow is an In-App Purchase on the App Store, but because there are too many IAPs for the Twitter app, the App Store only shows 10 instead of the full list.

Her tweet includes this screenshot. The gist is, each Twitter user offering Super Follows gets its own distinct IAP. If there are 1,000 users offering Super Follows, there are 1,000 discrete IAPs in the App Store. If there are 10,000 users offering them, 10,000 IAPs. If there are 100,000, our heads explode.

This is incredible. Ostensibly, Twitter is doing what Apple wants them to do. Right now Super Follows payments are even exclusive to iOS. (Once you pay on iOS, you can see Super Follow content on Twitter’s Android and web clients, too, but the only way to pay is on iOS through IAP.) But Apple’s IAP system is so brittle that Twitter has to make a discrete SKU for each and every Super Follow user, and pay Apple 30 percent of the price for the privilege. (Twitter, per its published terms, takes just 3 percent of the first $50,000 in lifetime earnings, then 20 percent after that.) Also, because Apple’s IAP listings in the App Store rank IAP offerings by popularity, Twitter is being forced to reveal data that they quite likely would prefer to keep to themselves.

Friday, 3 September 2021