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App developer gets screwed out of $55,000


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24 replies to this topic

#1 BenThereDoneThat   Members   -  Reputation: 181

Posted 02 August 2011 - 01:58 PM

This is just depressing.

How would you react? Suing sounds too extreme. Not doing anything... That number just seems too big. Has anyone read the language of the agreement Amazon developers agree to?
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#2 tstrimple   Prime Members   -  Reputation: 1725

Posted 02 August 2011 - 02:55 PM

This is just depressing.

How would you react? Suing sounds too extreme. Not doing anything... That number just seems too big. Has anyone read the language of the agreement Amazon developers agree to?


Nothing depressing about it. Those were the terms they agreed to in order to be placed on the front page. They were not screwed out of $55k, their sales before and after show that their app is not very popular and would not make even close to that if they had not agreed to list their app for free on the front page. This is really just a story about some people with a mobile app making a potentially stupid decision.

#3 zedz   Members   -  Reputation: 291

Posted 02 August 2011 - 03:08 PM

This is just depressing.

How would you react? Suing sounds too extreme. Not doing anything... That number just seems too big. Has anyone read the language of the agreement Amazon developers agree to?


Yes it perhaps sucks, but the thing is theyre not being screwed out of 55k since if everyone who downloaded it, would of downloaded it if they had to pay.
Actually now I think about it all this shows is, this highlights how few apps are being downloaded at amazon store

#4 frob   Moderators   -  Reputation: 22289

Posted 02 August 2011 - 05:12 PM

This is just depressing.

How would you react? Suing sounds too extreme. Not doing anything... That number just seems too big. Has anyone read the language of the agreement Amazon developers agree to?


Remember that one time?

Yes, remember this one time, where IGDA specifically mentioned that was a flaw with the Amazon agreement? And people scoffed, and others tried to get it changed? And Amazon said they clarified their agreement so developers would know what they were signing? Yeah, those were good times. I remember them, too.

That's why all good business people will read contracts. If you are publishing games rather than writing code, then you are a business person, and too many developers forget that.




That was rather foolish of the developer to misunderstand the terms of their agreements. It is a mistake good business people will learn from before they make it themselves.

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#5 ddn3   Members   -  Reputation: 1309

Posted 02 August 2011 - 05:18 PM

Publish on the Amazon AppStore and you sign away your rights to set your own pricing, seems foolish to me. Amazon is just trying to leverage desperate app store developers to pump up their AppStore for their own tablet release later this year IMO. What other product does Amazon require the vendor to sign away their price control to sale on Amazon Store? Oh none.. I guess App Developers are just special.

We need to publicize stories like this so others will atleast be aware of the pitfalls.. Personally I can't see what the benefit the Amazon AppStore has over Googles or Apples that you would sign away your right to assign your own pricing model. Amazon knows best? Amazon is out for their interest not the apps developers IMO.

-ddn

#6 Khaiy   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1342

Posted 02 August 2011 - 07:10 PM

There's no point to trying to make people aware of pitfalls when they don't read the contracts they sign. Yes they're confusing, so if you don't feel confident that you totally get what you're considering signing, then have a lawyer take a look at it for you. If you sign it and don't care about the terms, you'll have a hard time getting anyone to care about your complaints after the fact. It's not like this was the Apple iTunes update license either-- this was a business transaction.

Amazon did this with books too, and there was a flap between them and the authors who felt that the books were trying to sell their work too cheaply. The idea was that Amazon was trying to support themselves, rather than maximize profits for the authors. Well, duh. It may not be the coolest choice for Amazon to make if you want them to market and sell your work for you, but it is its own company and is interested in its own success. It's not an agency for authors or programmers.

Besides, now the developers can market themselves as "The makers of [whatever], 100,000 copies downloaded!". They wouldn't have been able to say that otherwise, because they would have kept selling a few copies a day. Additionally, the developers chose to sell on a "me too" platform. Amazon's going to have to do something to build popularity; they're going head to head with Apple and Google. That's a crappy place to be, and if ridiculous deals on apps is their strategy, it's better than trying to beat the AppStore and Android Marketplace on their own terms, since they've already saturated an awful lot of the market.

#7 d000hg   Members   -  Reputation: 785

Posted 02 August 2011 - 07:51 PM

Publish on the Amazon AppStore and you sign away your rights to set your own pricing, seems foolish to me.

That part I don't mind so much. The part I would mind is if you're not able to opt out of being a free promotional download - as the writer mentions he loses money by having to support more users it is not the same as it being like your MP3 album being free for a day.

#8 BenThereDoneThat   Members   -  Reputation: 181

Posted 02 August 2011 - 07:57 PM

Not only could they not decline, but they couldn't even take the app off of the market... unless they can somehow work advertisement into the app, that's a lot of people to support for free.
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#9 tstrimple   Prime Members   -  Reputation: 1725

Posted 02 August 2011 - 09:08 PM

Not only could they not decline, but they couldn't even take the app off of the market... unless they can somehow work advertisement into the app, that's a lot of people to support for free.


Bullshit. Read the linked story.

All this seemed way too one sided to us, Amazon is being predatory here, and asking developers (who are often desperate for exposure) to give away their app, in order to promote Amazon. A heated debate broke out in our office about whether we should or not. I was firmly against, my business partner for. In the end we agreed that we had entered the world of Android development as an experiment, and it would seem silly not to add more data to the experiment we were conducting. The day of our promotion came




Emphasis mine. They not only knew that they would not get paid, they discussed and agreed that it was worth it. There is no story here, just some people whining about not getting money they didn't deserve anyway.

#10 BenThereDoneThat   Members   -  Reputation: 181

Posted 02 August 2011 - 09:59 PM

Bullshit. Read the linked story.




Ahem:


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.


----------------------------My site: www.sudoexec.net

#11 tstrimple   Prime Members   -  Reputation: 1725

Posted 02 August 2011 - 10:04 PM

Bullshit. Read the linked story.



Ahem:

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.



You said they couldn't decline which was a lie. You can also get apps removed via email. It's not exactly as if they won't remove the app, but it's not as convenient as it likely should be. The fact that the app is no longer in the app store also shows that it's hardly impossible to get an app removed. They (and you) are blowing the whole thing out of proportion.

#12 Hodgman   Moderators   -  Reputation: 31198

Posted 02 August 2011 - 10:08 PM

This is just depressing.

They not only knew that they would not get paid, they discussed and agreed that it was worth it.

So... what's depressing?
That some people chose to give away their product for free, and then bitched about the choice they made?

Also, saying they lost or were screwed out of money just isn't credible. It's like the MPAA/RIAA's inflated "losses" that they cite from piracy, but worse, because they agreed to give away their product for free...

#13 BenThereDoneThat   Members   -  Reputation: 181

Posted 02 August 2011 - 10:20 PM

Basically. I just think that it their position, I'd be seriously kicking myself.
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#14 rip-off   Moderators   -  Reputation: 8540

Posted 03 August 2011 - 02:15 AM

I don't think the original blog post was particularly whiny. They weren't complaining about the money itself, they had written off that. They were illustrating/complaining about how the Amazon app store is portrayed versus how it actually works.

What makes us mad though is the public perception that Amazon pays developers to be featured. Every single person we asked on Twitter or via email thought they were helping developers out, and getting a free application. Amazon does nothing to dispel these rumours, in fact they put really restrictive clauses at the bottom of their emails, saying that no one is even allowed to discuss these back door deals they are doing.

This and the bullet points that follow are things which one wouldn't necessarily discern from reading the contract.

I believe they are offering their story as a cautionary tale. The linked blog post is a poor overreaction to the original.

#15 alnite   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2124

Posted 03 August 2011 - 02:19 PM

I think it's been brought up before that there are legal loopholes that benefit Amazon in the AZ App Store contract. IGDA and quite a lot of other people have made noises about this since the first time the store opened. It benefits them more than it benefits developers. The fact that they signed up for it and complained that AZ took advantage of it is recklessness on their side.

Btw, after knowing about the legal loopholes, I basically uninstalled Amazon App Store App from my Android. I support developers. I don't support corporations trying to cash-in app-store bubbles.

#16 DenzelM   Members   -  Reputation: 295

Posted 03 August 2011 - 04:40 PM

These people are arguing the perception versus the execution of the Amazon App Store? Please...I'm not even an Android developer and I knew a while before the Amazon App Store came to fruition that it allowed for this type of behavior. Would I condemn this behavior by Amazon? No, because unlike books there is significant money to be made in the retention of large user-bases versus application downloads.

Is Facebook losing money because its allowing users to use their product for free? No, they chose the pricing model that fit them best by realizing that it was user-base numbers that mattered, not subscription fees. These developers need to suck it up and find a lawyer to read their contracts. If they would have paid me $0.02, I could have given them the foresight they desperately needed. It's a pity to see developers blame someone else for their ineptitude.
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#17 Antheus   Members   -  Reputation: 2397

Posted 03 August 2011 - 05:31 PM

These people made a podcast list. Not content, just podcast lists from public feeds. A JTextList with JIconImage if you will.

They published it and in 2 days apparently made $50k.

Not so long ago, that would be well above my yearly salary, pre-tax.

And now they go into a hissy fit.

No sympathies here. Instead they should praise the world they are in that gives such incredible retail opportunities to a common man. 10 years ago retail was huge barrier to both, profits and entry. And today one can do this from bedroom by slapping a list of colorful icons on screen. In any other industry or even using any other method of distribution at such scale, 50k would be just the costs to launch, after which it would make exactly the same as it did.

What they earned is what the app is worth. The post just reeks of entitlement.

Also: ALWAYS READ THE CONTRACT. If you can't, GET A LAWYER.

#18 d000hg   Members   -  Reputation: 785

Posted 03 August 2011 - 09:43 PM

You're so setting yourself up for when your health insurance or car insurance won't pay out.

#19 mdwh   Members   -  Reputation: 894

Posted 04 August 2011 - 07:00 AM

I agree with comments, there isn't really anything for them to complain about here. If one wants to protest an app store, then by all means raise awareness of the clauses - and don't use it yourself.

Btw, after knowing about the legal loopholes, I basically uninstalled Amazon App Store App from my Android. I support developers. I don't support corporations trying to cash-in app-store bubbles.

Indeed, though I'd also say this applies to all of the "official" app stores from Google, Nokia, Apple etc. 30% cut of all revenue? They must be laughing all the way to the bank.
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#20 way2lazy2care   Members   -  Reputation: 782

Posted 04 August 2011 - 09:16 AM

That’s right, Amazon gave away 101,491 copies of our app! At this point, we had a few seconds of excitement as well, had we mis-read the email and really earned $54,800 in one day? We would have done if our public agreement was in place, but we can now confirm that thanks to Amazon’s secret back-door deals, we made $0 on that day. That’s right, over 100,000 apps given away, $0 made.

This caught my attention from the blog. What is the public agreement they are talking about?




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