By Kim Bo-eun
|An image of Google Play store / Courtesy of Google|
Beginning this year, Google will charge all app developers a 30 percent fee on payments made by customers to them via Google Play. Currently, only mobile game developers are subject to this.
In Korea, the introduction of the policy was pushed back to October, after a strong backlash from firms in the IT industry here. Lawmakers have proposed revisions to regulations that would block Google's move.
Locally, Google Play is the dominant platform for purchasing apps. According to a report that compiled sales generated by app markets used here in 2019, Google Play made 6 trillion won, followed by Apple's App Store that made 2.3 trillion won, and the locally developed One Store that made 1.05 billion won.
Google has immense influence over app developers given that the platform through which most Android users access the apps is the Google Play store.
Google has also stated it will show ads on non-monetized YouTube channels. Currently, only YouTubers who are part of the YouTube Partner Program are able to incorporate ads, allowing the YouTubers to receive payment. In order for a YouTuber to join this program, their channel needs to have more than 4,000 public watch hours in the past year. The channel also needs to have over 1,000 subscribers.
For YouTubers who are part of the program, YouTube has shared ad revenue, which is enabling some to earn their entire living on the platform.
But Google's latest decision states that ads will also be incorporated into the channels of YouTubers who are not part of the program but they will not receive a share of revenue from the ads.
This has enraged many YouTubers. Viewers meanwhile will have to put up with more ads, or else opt to pay for YouTube's ad-free premium service, which is seen as the platform's intention in the latest policy change.
Following Google's announcement, established YouTubers have also been speaking out on their channels, stating that this does not benefit their community.
A company abusing its dominant status is nothing new. Subcontractors often see unfair measures imposed on them, given their subordinate positions.
The dominance of those in power is amplified when it comes to the digital platform business, where only a few giants act as agents offering the content of countless smaller firms and individuals.
While platform providers are businesses that exist for the purpose of making profit, they are urged to align themselves with social values that are increasingly being adopted in the business world.