Android developer calls Amazon App Store "Rotten to the core"

Android developer calls Amazon App Store "Rotten to the core"

Summary: Android development company Shifty Jelly has pulled up Amazon on its App Store policy and called it 'rotten to the core.'

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Android development company Shifty Jelly has pulled up Amazon on its App Store policy and called it 'rotten to the core.'

The problem, is Amazon's 'Free App Of The Day' promotion. While Amazon publicly says that it pays developers 20% of the asking price of an app, even when they give it away free, Amazon pulls off deals where it pays developers nothing.

Shifty Jelly make a app called Pocket Casts which was offered via 'Free App Of The Day' promotion and sold 101,491 (sales the previous days was 20) ... amazing sales which generated then nothing.

What's worse than that, the increased sales actually cost the company money:

To add insult to injury Pocket Casts relies on a server to parse podcast feeds (allowing instant updates on your phone), and all these new users forced us to buy more hardware just to meet demand. Hardware that we are going to have to support indefinitely at our own cost.

Shifty Jelly outlines a number of other issues they have with the Amazon App Store:

  • Lengthy review times of anywhere up to 2 weeks (I've lost count of the amount of emails from people asking why our Google Market app is newer)
  • Amazon gets to set the price of your app to whatever they want, without any input from you, or even the chance to reject their price
  • Amazon re-writes your description, and in ours they even made up things like ‘add up to 100 podcasts'. No idea where on earth they got that number from
  • Amazon don't provide error reports like Google do making it hard to fix errors
  • They don't yet support Google's new multiple APK initiative
  • Amazon pays far later than Google does, and to date we haven't received any cheques from them, even though we are listed as being ‘payed'
  • US Only
  • Much less real-time sales information than Google
  • Update: (and this one surprised us) you can't remove apps from their store! You have to ask them for permission via an email. Every other store lets you remove apps from sale.

Seems like there are number of issues for Amazon to address here.

Topics: Apps, Amazon, Software Development

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33 comments
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  • RE: Android developer calls Amazon App Store

    That is the issue with Amazon AppStore. We also have found similar issue and can feel the pain of Shifty Jelly.
    Ram U
  • RE: Android developer calls Amazon App Store

    boo hoo!!! amazon "sold" your app for free and you end up having to spend money to upgrade your hardware - what if they had not just given it away, but had sold it that many times - you'd have to upgrade the hardware too.
    stevejg61
    • dumbutt

      @stevejg61 the point isnt that they had to upgrade, the point is that they had to upgrade to support users that had zero returns.
      danyowell
    • RE: Android developer calls Amazon App Store

      @stevejg61
      And you'd have revenue to offset the cost.
      WebSiteManager
    • RE: Android developer calls Amazon App Store

      @stevejg61 Perhaps you failed to comprehend what was written and made a snap judgement from that failure. Here's the gripe: The dev was told that Amazon would pay 20% of the asking price of the app EVEN if it was given away for free in a promotion (such as the free app a day promotion). And this dev who went from 20 sales to over 100,00 sales should have received 20% of those over 100,000 sales per Amazon's policy and DID NOT.

      So let's do the math... say the app sells for a buck, the dev's cut would be $0.20 per sale. 100,000 sales equals $20,000 bucks that the developer did not get. You can't sit here and honestly tell me you would not call out Amazon for not fulfilling their end of the deal.

      Now let's plug in the real figures. Pocket Casts (the app in questions) costs $2.70. (http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dmobile-apps&field-keywords=Pocket+Casts&x=0&y=0) So 20% of that is $0.54. Multiply that by 101491 the actual amount Amazon SHOULD owe the developer per their agreement is $54,805.14... which could have and likely would have gone into upgrading their hardware.

      Are you usually this much of a tool or is this some special day where your minders allowed you out of your helmet to drool on a keyboard and troll online forums? A little bit of research goes a very long way... you might want to try it sometime.
      athynz
      • RE: Android developer calls Amazon App Store

        @athynz
        +1
        Ram U
      • Perhaps you failed to comprehend that Amazon emailed the developers ...

        @athynz

        ... and told them the terms under which the Free App of the Day placement would be done. Perhaps you failed to comprehend that the developers agreed to a 0% revenue share for one day in exchange for 14 days on the Amazon App Store front page. Perhaps you failed to comprehend that the developers agreed to these terms with no plan on how to monetize on the free app customers and no plan on how to capitalize on the increased exposure.

        But all that is somehow Amazon's fault?
        RationalGuy
      • RE: Android developer calls Amazon App Store

        @Rational Guy I was going by this quote: [b]While Amazon publicly says that it pays developers 20% of the asking price of an app, even when they give it away free[/b] in the article. Looks like I was wrong in how Amazon does their free app a day promotions. I've been wrong before. It happens. Guess I need to do my own research... thanks for the catch.

        I followed the link to Shifty jelly's blog site (included in the article) and if that is true then Amazon sucks even worse than I thought as Shifty Jelly [i]declined[/i] to be a part of this promotion and Amazon included them anyhow. And if the blog is correct it seems like Amazon pretty much takes ownership of every app within their app store in such a way as to make Apple's deals with devs for iOS look like Apple is giving control away... In short what Amazon is doing is screwing the devs far worse than Apple ever thought about... and some of you want to give Amazon a free pass over this?
        athynz
      • Read it again athynz

        @athynz
        Shift Jelly did not decline. The partners had a debate and the end result of that debate was that Shift Jelly would participate in this promotion knowing full well that they would receive no direct cash from Amazon.

        People are giving Amazon a free pass over this because they deserve to get a free pass over this. They highlighted, in bold, in their email, that Shift Jelly would get no cash back from this. Shift Jelly agreed to those conditions and asked to be a part of the promotion. Amazon then held up their end of the bargain. Shift Jelly didn't realize they couldn't handle the load and are now upset but none of this is Amazon's fault.

        But don't take my word for it, actually read Shift Jelly's blog. Adrian included a link to it.
        toddybottom
      • RE: Android developer calls Amazon App Store

        @athynz I haven't read any of the actual Amazon agreement, but just the bullet list of shortcomings at the end of the article is enough to make me believe that Amazon has terrible business practices. Whether people are agreeing to those terms or not, the Amazon App Store is asking to fail with such a lack of integrity.
        scubashnurpel
      • There goes that comprehension problem again ...

        @athynz

        <i>Shifty Jelly declined to be a part of this promotion</i>

        No, they chose to take part in the promotion with full knowledge of the 0% revenue share stipulation.
        RationalGuy
    • RE: Android developer calls Amazon App Store

      @stevejg61 You are either mentally handicapped or inciting argument on purpose. Either shut your mouth or know what you are talking about. If you are mentally handicapped I am sorry for using such levels or sarcasm.
      scubashnurpel
  • RE: Android developer calls Amazon App Store

    The developer should have done his research.
    owlnet
  • Message has been deleted.

    kenosha77a
  • Hmm....an app developer writing apps for an open source OS

    ....and they're looking to make money on every unit that should have been sold?

    Stallman must be rolling over in his grave.

    Besides that, now that people are aware of the app, I'd bet that there are going to be dozens of apps on the Android Marketplace that rip off the developers IP anyway.
    Joe_Raby
    • RE: Android developer calls Amazon App Store

      @Joe_Raby Stallman's not in a grave... he's living in his office refusing to use the WiFi chip in his laptop because the driver isn't open source and declining to use the web for "personal reasons".
      jgm@...
  • What a shame

    I've been using the Pocket Casts app since the day it was free on Amazon and I absolutely love it. I found solice in the fact that Amazon claimed they payed the devs SOMETHING. What a shame that turned out to be false.

    I'm becoming more and more disenfrachized with the amazon app store. While a free app a day is fun, the reviewers are crazy. The people ruin the experience. And the devs who are just trying to make a few bucks end up suffering for it.

    I'm going to the google marketplace right now to purchase it again.
    danyowell
    • That was the larger complaint.

      @danyowell

      To the public, Amazon promotes to the world they give 20% of the asking price to the developer when it is a "free app" of the day. Behind the scenes, Amazon forces the developer to a 0% of the asking price to be a "free app" of the day. Amazon then puts a gag order to not allow the developer to change the public face of Amazon.

      So Amazon is claiming to the world how nice they treat their developers by doing these free app giveaways all the while screwing the developers.
      Bruizer
  • Google propaganda

    This seems like fairly standard Google/Android propaganda, and perhaps it's even loaded with a subliminal slap in the face of Apple (the "core" reference).
    Tim Acheson
    • RE: Android developer calls Amazon App Store

      @Tim Acheson
      Define "standard". Never heard of a complaint like this until now. Plus it's from a developer.
      anono