iTunes Affiliate Linking

My old post about creating iTunes Affiliate Links has become obsolete with Apple’s announcement of a dramatic improvement in their Affiliate program. They have announced that they will be moving away from using LinkShare as their affiliate provider and moving to a new company called PHG.

There are a number of implications of this but there are three that I think are worth addressing directly.

  1. Links created in the new PHG style will work in most countries outside of Europe and South America. This includes the United States, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, Turkey, many countries in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.
  2. The commission percentage that you earn through this program is now 7% on all purchases the customer makes within 24 hours of clicking your link (assuming they don’t click on someone else’s).
  3. It is now incredibly simple to create user-friendly links to any item in iTunes and to do so in a way that allows you to track the performance of a particular link.

The first two are just plain good news the 3rd probably warrants a bit of discussion.

To get setup with the new program the first thing you need to do is sign up for a new account with PHG. Your old LinkShare account is essentially deprecated at this point and won’t carry forward.

You can sign up using this link. Be sure to read the program FAQ before you apply. It includes a lot of information about who can become an affiliate and some reasons why your application may be rejected.

Once you have an account setup the process for creating a link is now very straightforward:

  1. Locate the product you want to link to in iTunes and copy its link. This should look something like
  2. Locate your affiliate token. This is in the upper-right corner of your PHG overview screen. It should look something like 10l3KS.
  3. To create an affiliate earning link simply append &at=token to the link. If your iTunes link doesn’t already include a ? then append ?at=token.
  4. (Optional) If you want to track the performance of this link specifically you can then add a campaign token to the link. This is basically just a string that is meaningful to you which will be associated with all purchases resulting from this link. For example, you could add a blog tag to all your blog links to see how they perform. To append a campaign token simply add &ct=campaign_token to the link. The exact text you use is entirely up to you. It just needs to URL-safe and no longer than 40 characters.
  5. You now have a fully formed affiliate link.

You can track the click-through and purchase performance of the link in your PHG Account. The click tracking is near real-time. Purchase tracking is delayed a few days.

Smart App Banners work the same way just put at=10l3KS&ct=blog as your affiliate-data= field.

More details on how to build a link and links to a few link generating sources can be found in Apple’s Affiliate Link Guidelines.

Overall I think this is a massive improvement from the LinkShare system.

David Smith