Google Announces ‘One Pass’ as Publishers Push Against Apple Subscriptions

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Under Apple’s new guidelines, linking to an external purchasing site from within an app is prohibited.

According to Computerworld:

“To meet Apple’s guidelines, Amazon must remove its ‘Shop in Kindle Store’ link from its Kindle application. That link, which opens the iOS browser and displays Amazon’s Web-based e-bookstore, is currently the easiest way for Kindle app users to purchase new books…

…Sans the ‘Shop in Kindle Store’ link, users can still purchase books outside of the App Store — on Amazon’s Web site, for instance, or through a non-Apple Kindle app — then have them loaded to an iPhone or iPad.

Amazon must also implement Apple’s single-click in-app purchasing of content; Apple would skim 30% off the top of all such purchases, however.”

Google One Pass

Amazon’s Kindle app for Google’s Android operating system, however, already includes direct in-app purchases that aren’t subject to referral fees since payments are collected by Amazon directly.

Google recently announced plans for its own in-app purchasing services as well, which would route payments through Google’s “Checkout” service similar to how paid apps work in the Android Market already.

It’s unknown whether Google would require purchases from inside Amazon’s Android app to eventually be routed through Google instead of Amazon, but Google just announced its One Pass service for publishers today as an option for handling in-app subscription payments:

“With Google One Pass, publishers can maintain direct relationships with their customers and give readers access to digital content across websites and mobile apps.

Readers who purchase from a One Pass publisher can access their content on tablets, smartphones and websites using a single sign-on with an email and password. Importantly, the service helps publishers authenticate existing subscribers so that readers don’t have to re-subscribe in order to access their content on new devices.

With Google One Pass, publishers can customize how and when they charge for content while experimenting with different models to see what works best for them—offering subscriptions, metered access, ‘freemium’ content or even single articles for sale from their websites or mobile apps. The service also lets publishers give existing print subscribers free (or discounted) access to digital content. We take care of the rest, including payments technology handled via Google Checkout.”

There’s no mention of a revenue split with Google, though it stands to reason that the company would want a little something for handling all the payment details and infrastructure via Google Checkout. There had been earlier rumors of a 10% cut for Google, as reported by, which would certainly seem competitive against Apple’s 30% take. It appears that Google may only be expecting to collect standard Google Checkout fees, however, which are between 1.9% and 2.9% plus 30 cents per transaction.

UPDATE: Though it doesn’t appear to be documented officially by Google, a company spokesperson told AdAge that the revenue split between a publisher and Google would fall “within the range of 90%” going to the publisher, though “it varies from publisher to publisher.”

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