In-App Purchase

Last modified March 25, 2020

Overview

Definition

An app with In-App Purchase is offered for free in the App Stores, but will allow users to pay to access issues within the app.  All purchase transactions happen via the user’s iTunes, Google Play & Amazon accounts. Users may purchase digital subscriptions in increments of one year, one month or one week starting with the current issue, or purchase individual issues.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Approval processes are subjective and may change without notice.  The information provided here is based on GTxcel’s best understanding at this time regarding what Apple, Google & Amazon will and will not allow for the In-App Purchase model.

Caveats

  • Purchases made within the app will also be available to the user on any GTxcel platform, but only if the user creates an account in the app settings.
  • Print-plus-digital offers are not available through the In-App Purchase model.

Publishers wishing to sell their own digital subscriptions

  • If a digital subscription is sold outside the app (e.g. on a publisher’s website), Apple requires that the paid subscription also be offered within the app via In-App Purchase. This is not a Google or Amazon requirement at this time.
  • Apple does not allow apps to link to any website outside of the app to make purchases, so you can not use the app to promote other subscription sales channels. This is not a Google or Amazon requirement at this time.
  • Email addresses for subscriptions acquired outside the app must be supplied to GTxcel either through our instant delivery beacon or through subscriber files .  Instant delivery allows the user to access the most current issue immediately, but the publisher must provide subscriber files for each new issue for ongoing access.

Required for

  • Publications that want to charge for digital subscriptions and single digital issues.

Publisher Setup Details

  • Purchase price for digital subscriptions, specified in terms of iTunes price tiers
  • Purchase price for single issue sales, specified in terms of iTunes price tiers
  • Publisher subscribe URL
  • GTxcel’s instant delivery beacon coded into publisher’s mobile optimized subscribe page (optional)
  • Publisher hosted Manage my account URL (optional)
  • For iOS Newsstand apps, provide default cover art

Purchase Options

Digital-only single-issues and/or a digital-only auto-renewable subscriptions are available through the In-App purchase access model.

Digital only subscriptions

  • The start issue will be the most current live issue that has eCommerce enabled and extends for a term of one year, one month or one week.
  • The subscription is based on the term and is not tied to the number of issues.  The subscriber will be given access to all issues that go live within the term. No other terms are available at this time.
  • The end issue will be based on the issue that is most current one (year, month, week) from the purchase date.
  • Auto-renew
    • All subscription purchases will default to auto-renew through iTunes, Google Play or Amazon.
    • Users must opt out of the auto-renew if they wish the auto-renew feature to stop.  This can be done through the App Store by going to View Account and then Manage App Subscriptions.
    • Opting out of the auto-renew does not cancel a current subscription.  It simply will not renew the subscription for another term.
  • At this time, In-App subscriptions will not offer free access to back issues, though back issues will be available for purchase individually.

Single Issue sales

  • Single issue purchases will give the user access to only the specific issue being purchased.

Additional Notes

  • Print-plus-digital, print-only, and gift subscriptions are not currently available through the In-App Purchase functionality due to Store restrictions on product offerings.
  • Subscribers are asked to Create an Account and provide their email address but are not required to do so.
  • Purchasing an issue or a subscription in the app will allow the user to have full access to the issue(s) on all platforms and on multiple devices, if the user provides an email address during the account creation step in the purchase process.  Platforms include the web reader, mobile reader, iPhone app, iPad app, and Android phone app.
  • If no email address is provided during the purchase process (Apple requires this to be optional), the user will only be able to access the issue(s) through the device on which the app was purchased.  A user may provide his/her email address at any time after the purchase through the Create Account feature.  The user will then have immediate access to the issue(s) on all platforms after providing the email address.

Sample

Sample issues are available in conjunction with the access restrictions used for In-App Purchase apps.  Providing a sample issue(s) will allow potential new subscribers to view an entire issue(s) but require that the subscriber buy to view additional issues.

  • You can choose to have a specific issue(s) open.  For example the January issue could be a sample issue for all users regardless of when the user downloads the app.
    • This sample issue(s) will be open for all users.
    • A sample issue can be open in the app and still remain locked down in the web reader.

User Flow

In-App Purchase User Flow

Pricing

Pricing for the digital-only subscription and single issues is determined by the publisher.  GTxcel must have this information prior to submitting the app for approval.

Pricing Guidelines

  • Pricing must be specified in terms of iTunes price tiers. (GTxcel will translate for other stores.)
  • The stores will disable the auto-renew feature if you increase the subscription price during an active subscription period.

Remittance

Apple, Google & Amazon will retain 30% of each sale and remit 70% back to the publisher.

Reporting on Subscriber Data and Sales

Apple limits the data that is required to be collected during the In-App Purchase.  Because of this, providing any personal data cannot be required during the In-App Purchase process.

Following the iTunes purchase process, GTxcel will present the subscriber with an opportunity ‘share their information with the publisher’. If the user opts in to sharing this information, the publisher will have access to the subscriber’s Name, E-mail & Zip Code. If the subscriber opts out, no subscriber information will be made available.

Google Play offers all subscriber & sales information to the publisher, via the Developer portal.

Amazon does not offer subscriber information, but will offer the sales information.

Note: Requirements for audit reporting for ABC and BPA for app usage have not yet been defined.  As ABC and BPA establish these requirements, GTxcel will work to incorporate the appropriate information gathering and reporting.

Apple Restore Feature

If a user would like to access the issue(s) she/he has purchased via an iTunes, Google Play or Amazon account on a different mobile device than the issue(s) were purchased on, she/he may use the restore feature.  This is especially useful for users who upgrade to a new phone/tablet, or lose their phone/tablet and have not created an account with GTxcel.  The app must be downloaded again using the same account the purchase was originally made on.

Refunds and Cancellations

If a customer would like to cancel her/his subscription, she/he must opt out of the auto-renew feature through iTunes, Google Play or Amazon.

If a customer would like a refund, since the purchase was made in the iTunes, Google or Amazon store and therefore GTxcel cannot issue a credit to the user’s account.  Officially,they do not offer refunds on In App purchases.  All sales are considered final.  However, occasionally they will allow a refund and credit the user’s account.  If this happens, that amount will be deducted from the next remittance to GTxcel and in turn to the publisher.

Back Issue Access

Only those issues that have been converted for the app will be available as back issues in the app.  GTxcel can convert as many back issues as needed for the app.  Refer to your contract for the pricing.

Currently, new purchases through the In-App feature will not grant access to any back issues.  Users will have to purchase those through the single issue purchase option.

Any existing print or digital subscriber that has access to a back issue in GTxcel’s web reader can gain access to the same issues in the app by signing in with their email address.

Serving New Issues for Subscription Purchases in the App

  • When a new issue is made live, it will be available immediately in the app (with the exception of the first issue).
  • Users who purchased a subscription including the new issue will receive a push notification.
    • Push notifications will only appear if the subscriber opted into receiving them when the app was first downloaded.
    • Push notifications will appear as a message on the device similar to a calendar reminder.
    • A red circle badge will appear on the corner of the app icon indicating that a new issue is available.  (How a reader receives push notifications is up to the individual’s settings.  S/he can turn on alerts, badges and sounds – or turn off 1 or more of them.  This is all done through Settings.)
    • New issues will continue to be served until the end date of the subscription.
    • Users who do not have a subscription including the new issue will not receive a push notification.

Publisher-Hosted “Manage my account” URL

The purpose of this page is to allow current subscribers who do not have an email address on record in the GTxcel database to identify themselves as subscribers and gain access to issues within their existing subscription. This url is not required but recommended to give existing subscribers the best possible user experience.

Subscribers can access their issues in the app via the sign in feature in the app.  The sign in feature uses an email address to recognize a subscriber.  If the email address is not in the GTxcel database, the user will not have access to restricted access issues.  If a user’s email address is not recognized, the user will be presented with an option to update their information via a link to a web page provided by the publisher.

The more robust the functionality available on this web page, the better the user experience will be.  There are several items to consider.

  • The publisher is responsible for creating, hosting, and maintaining this page.  GTxcel will not create, host, or maintain it.
  • Functionality on this page can be as simple as allowing the user to send an email with his/her correct email address or ask a question.  The publisher would process the request and follow up with the customer and GTxcel as needed.  For example, the publisher may need to include the user in the next subscriber file so that the user is loaded into the GTxcel database.  Note that there are minimum fees for each subscriber file loaded into the GTxcel database.
  • Functionality on this page can be as robust as allowing a user to update his/her subscription information on the page.  Ideally an Instant Delivery beacon or Gateway call will be triggered to send the updated information to GTxcel in real time.  This would allow the user to update his/her information and gain immediate access to his/her issues in the app.
  • This page cannot include an option to purchase a subscription, or Apple will most likely reject the app submission or pull the app from the store if this option is added after the app is live in the store.

The page can also launch the app upon completion of any changes.  This is handled via a URL that your Digital Specialist can provide.  The app can be launched to a specific issue or article.  Examples of the URL are as follows:

GTxcelpremierguitar://premierguitar/201001
GTxcelpremierguitar://premierguitar/201001_1?articleID=4663

Need Help?
The Digital Help Desk is the process for communicating with GTxcel regarding new title setups, questions, and technical issues for the Web Reader and/or Apps.

You can submit a request to us through the Request Help button located in the Publisher Dashboard or call the support number: 800-609-8994, option 3.
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