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Amazon App Store 'Rotten To the Core,' Says Dev

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the peer-pressure dept.

Android 346

suraj.sun sends an excerpt from this post made by a developer who decided to try out Amazon's App Store, only to be disappointed with the experience: "Amazon's biggest feature by far, has been their Free App Of The Day promotion. Publicly their terms say that they pay developers 20% of the asking price of an app, even when they give it away free. To both consumers and naive developers alike, this seems like a big chance to make something rare in the Android world: real money. But here's the dirty secret Amazon don't want you to know, they don't pay developers a single cent. ... Amazon is being predatory here, and asking developers (who are often desperate for exposure) to give away their app, in order to promote Amazon. 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: ... 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."

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Reading is fundamental (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36965896)

It seems like the developer received the terms of the deal, and then promptly ignored them because of the imaginary dollar signs in their eyes.

Re:Reading is fundamental (5, Informative)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#36966026)

Speaking of which, it seems like you didn't RTFA, which states that Amazon publicly declares 20% to developers, even for free apps, but then sends an email saying it's actually 0% and that you're not allowed to publicly discuss it. That was followed by a list of other major problems with the store.

Even the usual Slashdot logic which predicts that giving away something for free is "free advertising" that somehow generates sales didn't happen in this situation. Fail all around.

Re:Reading is fundamental (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 2 years ago | (#36966402)

l Slashdot logic which predicts that giving away something for free is "free advertising" that somehow generates sales didn't happen in this situation. Fail all around.

Unless its addictive the only thing you get by giving something away for free is that the receiver values it zero and expects you to continue to provide it for free.

I've gotten the "We're a big name so do the work for free and you'll be able to say you did x for us" to which I reply "How about you give all of your products for free and I'll tell everyone I know I use them?"

Re:Reading is fundamental (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36966036)

I seems like this AC received a link to the article, and then promptly ignored it. And also skimmed the summary without understanding a word.

Re:Reading is fundamental (0, Flamebait)

raydobbs (99133) | more than 2 years ago | (#36966062)

Yeah, agreed (shocking, I usually never agree with ACs). You aren't being preyed upon if you enter into a deal and never read the contract language. If it was a shitty deal, you shouldn't have made it. Don't understand the deal? You hire a lawyer to help you understand it. He/She/They don't understand the deal? DON'T SIGN IT! That's not so damn hard...

Re:Reading is fundamental (4, Interesting)

fuzzytv (2108482) | more than 2 years ago | (#36966210)

Which is exactly the stuff the article is NOT about.

The article is about the fact that Amazon advertises that they're paying 20% for each app in "Free App Of The Day" promotion, but in fact they're paying 0% because they've made a deal behind the curtains. Yes, they've accepted the deal, no argument about that.

The really sad thing is they probably could sell this app for a long time, they'd continuously get small amounts of money from it and maybe the app would grow over time (good supported app is worth the money). But now they have nothing, because everyone interested already has the app, so they probably won't get even the small amount of money from it.

Re:Reading is fundamental (3, Insightful)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 2 years ago | (#36966238)

A company Amazon's size shouldn't have issues in clearly communicating the terms of the deal. Every email was poorly worded, and then they turned around and showed a profit of 54K when none was actually there. This smacks of the same sort of deals that record companies make. They prey on the new artists who need exposure and don't realize their own worth.

Making excuses from Amazon doesn't change the fact that it's a dirty tactic.

bitter much? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36965910)

bitter much?

Re:bitter much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36966188)

Based on the initial comments, it's the Android fanboys who are bitter at yet another failure. Cue the flood of anonymous Android attack dogs who mysteriously post in every one of these articles (how much is Google paying you guys to post here anonymously?) while using their real accounts to abuse the Overrated-Underrated modifiers, which aren't subject to meta-moderation.

I'll probably get modded down for pointing it out, but it needs to be noticed that something rotten is going on in Slashdot's comments whenever Google or Android is the subject. Just watch the conversation for this article. You'll see the same anonymous Android supporters posting over and over and the same corrupt moderation practices involving Overrated-Underrated modifiers.

If Apple emailed developers and told them they earned over $50,000, but due to a figure tucked away at the bottom of an email forbidden to be publicly discussed by contractual clauses, they got 0% of that, there would be an uproar around here. However, this is an Android store, so...

Re:bitter much? (3, Interesting)

Kalriath (849904) | more than 2 years ago | (#36966536)

Um, no moderations are subject to meta-moderation any more. Meta-moderation is actually just a random sample of posts you get to moderate unaccountably. Try it some time - you get ten posts and you get to either +1 or -1 them. It's just yet another thing Slashdot fucked up.

BAU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36965918)

Business As Usual

Re:BAU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36966534)

Are you tim allen?

Gentoo?? (-1, Offtopic)

Ralp (541345) | more than 2 years ago | (#36965920)

I use Gentoo; how does this affect me?

Re:Gentoo?? (0)

fuzzytv (2108482) | more than 2 years ago | (#36966216)

A lot. You should immediately rewrite your disk with random data.

Re:Gentoo?? (0)

aix tom (902140) | more than 2 years ago | (#36966378)

You can sit back, while you compile your latest podcast listening software for free, and wonder how a platform that shackles both customers and developers ever took off at all.

Hmmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36965934)

Sounds like someone didn't have a lawyer.

Re:Hmmmm (3, Insightful)

fuzzytv (2108482) | more than 2 years ago | (#36966262)

You mean you need a lawyer for everything? washing a car, eating a donut, doing basic math etc.?

Becaue the article is not about law or signing a contract. It's about the fact that Amazon describes the promotion as "20% for the developers" but in reality they make deals with the developers so that they pay them 0%. Yes, both sides obviously have enough brain cells to be responsible for their actions, so it's their fault they've signed the deal. But the article is not a whining about this - it's a warning to the other developers and to the public that those 20% is just a virtual reality.

Re:Hmmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36966322)

in reality they make deals with the developers

And you should have a lawyer when doing that. Obviously, they did not understand what they were signing when the partnered with Amazon.

math is hard (0, Troll)

avandesande (143899) | more than 2 years ago | (#36965938)

20% of 0 = 0

Re:math is hard (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36966004)

From TF- no, wait, from the second sentence of the summary:

"their terms say that they pay developers 20% of the asking price of an app, even when they give it away free."

RTFS I guess?

Re:math is hard (-1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 2 years ago | (#36966176)

20% of 0 = 0

From TF- no, wait, from the second sentence of the summary:

"their terms say that they pay developers 20% of the asking price of an app, even when they give it away free."

RTFS I guess?

And when the asking price is 0...

Re:math is hard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36966010)

Reading seems like its hard as well. The post says Amazon offers developers 20% of the asking price, not 20% of what they get for giving the app away for free. Practice reading and understanding, then impress everyone with your 1337 math skills.

Re:math is hard (1, Interesting)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 2 years ago | (#36966240)

WOW! Amazon is cheap bastards... Apple offers 70% (Seven - Zero) of sales. And you set your price... Apple NEVER does.

I think the confusion is the "0% revenue share" in APPLE Store talk that means the HOUSE cut would be 0%... so it SOUNDS like a good deal. Until you realize it's YOU that is getting the "revenue sharing" ... for your OWN APP. I can see people wanting to try out Amazon.. for the sole purpose of it being "not Apple" and "not Google" but under terms like that there's just no way.

There are some older terms here: http://www.slashgear.com/amazon-android-app-store-tcs-leak-29104993/ [slashgear.com]

it's easy to see how a developer could be confused. If that email is read DIFFERENTLY, that "revenue sharing" could actually mean Amazon is trying to CHARGE THE DEVELOPER for putting their app on sale!!!! You gotta love that section 5i that defines "list price"... in other words because they put the app on sale, the "list price" became zero that day because it was the lowest price.. it's not hard to comprehend. But when you deal with terms in clauses.. that reference clauses... in other paragraphs... reading the WHOLE story for "lets put your app on sale" is not the TRUTH.

Re:math is hard (2)

YodasEvilTwin (2014446) | more than 2 years ago | (#36966048)

The List Price, as originally defined, was set by the developer. Not Amazon. Thus the original agreement effectively said "20% of the original price".

Re:math is hard (1)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 2 years ago | (#36966528)

But it didn't. In RTFA, they point out that they even emailed for clarification and the answer was:

All these highly valuable placements are at no cost to you. We want to promote your app and in exchange of the placements, at the 0% rev share for one day only

Further, there was clearly no confusion about it, because he goes on to say:

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.

So, they consciously decided to give it away as an experiment, and now they are complaining that they didn't get paid (mostly because of a temporary reporting glitch that showed some revenue).

The Amazon Store does sound horrible, but they knew what the terms were.

Re:math is hard (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36966080)

No, that isn't how it's supposed to work. On Amazon App Store, the developer is supposed to get either 70% of the sale price, or 20% of the asking price, i.e full price, whichever is higher. Amazon will often sell apps at a discount. That means if the list price for your app is $4.99, than amazon owes you at least $1, even if they decide to sell the app for $0.99. If they sell it at $4.99, you get $3.50. You are giving Amazon the right to set the selling price to whatever they want, in exchange for a small guaranteed cut at any price. This can be advantageous, because Amazon could adjust prices until it finds the most profitable point. Selling at 50% off list price is a good idea if you can sell three times as many copies that way.

Re:math is hard (3, Insightful)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#36966142)

So you don't think it's fishy how Amazon publicly advertises 20% even for free apps? And in the screenshot, Amazon told them they received $54,805.14 in earnings that day? As stated in the article's comments section, the terms are confusing and fuzzy.

Re:math is hard (3, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 2 years ago | (#36966222)

So you don't think it's fishy how Amazon publicly advertises 20% even for free apps? And in the screenshot, Amazon told them they received $54,805.14 in earnings that day? As stated in the article's comments section, the terms are confusing and fuzzy.

Not to mention that it takes more effort to make them confusing and fuzzy than it would to make them simple and clear. While it proves nothing, it strongly suggests that this is intentional.

Re:math is hard (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 2 years ago | (#36966466)

Reading the summary is hard.

You mis-read the contract and are crying foul? (0, Redundant)

Narkov (576249) | more than 2 years ago | (#36965946)

Moral of the story - read the contract?

Re:You mis-read the contract and are crying foul? (2)

shadowfaxcrx (1736978) | more than 2 years ago | (#36965956)

Someone misread something, but it wasn't them. Read the article again.

Re:You mis-read the contract and are crying foul? (2)

Narkov (576249) | more than 2 years ago | (#36965984)

No..seems pretty clear. Amazon offered 0%. They accepted and got 0%. 0% of $0 is....well, $0.

Re:You mis-read the contract and are crying foul? (2)

YodasEvilTwin (2014446) | more than 2 years ago | (#36966020)

No, originally the agreement clearly said 20% of the original price. It was changed sneakily, though I'm sure it was legal. See http://developers.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2361318&cid=36965966 [slashdot.org]

Re:You mis-read the contract and are crying foul? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36966132)

Right in the summary it says Amazon asks developers to give it away. If you accept that, well what's so surprising that they don't give you anything? That's what you agreed to, no?

And what is predatory about asking developers to participate in a promotion?

Re:You mis-read the contract and are crying foul? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36966040)

Maybe you need to read it again:

We can see the counter argument here, that we agreed to Amazon’s terms, even if they were underhanded and secret, so we deserve everything we got.

The only real issue with that quote is that the terms weren't underhanded or secret. Amazon was straightforward, and I'm getting this just by reading the article. This dev is complaining that he wants something that was specifically told he wasn't going to get, and he knew he wasn't going to get it when he gave the ok.

Basically, he's a whiny bitch. Go figure that it made a story on Slashdot, where whiny nerds come to cry, cry, cry that the world doesn't give them everything they want.

Re:You mis-read the contract and are crying foul? (0)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#36966102)

Hey, it's the anonymous Android troll who posts in every single Android article. I like how you ignore the part where Amazon publicly states a 20% payment, even for free apps, but then slips in the 0% figure at the bottom of an email, guarded by restrictive clauses preventing public discussion of the deal.

Re:You mis-read the contract and are crying foul? (0)

causality (777677) | more than 2 years ago | (#36966232)

Hey, it's the anonymous Android troll who posts in every single Android article. I like how you ignore the part where Amazon publicly states a 20% payment, even for free apps, but then slips in the 0% figure at the bottom of an email, guarded by restrictive clauses preventing public discussion of the deal.

Yes, it's almost as though they wouldn't be proud to declare it openly...

Re:You mis-read the contract and are crying foul? (1)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 2 years ago | (#36966272)

it's all about the "list price".. but you wouldn't think a SPECIAL SALE PRICE would affect the list price, right? Why else would Amazon have the flat 70% OR 20% of list if they choose to have a sale on the app? What's a situation where Amazon's price would be lower than list... and how would that ever be LOWER than the straight 70%? The whole paragraph dealing with that is nothing but funny business...

Re:You mis-read the contract and are crying foul? (1)

arbulus (1095967) | more than 2 years ago | (#36966316)

No, Amazon basically said:

"We don't care how much your app costs, we're going to give it away for free to promote ourselves, we're not going to give you any money for the sales, and there's not a goddamned thing you can do about it."

Again, ask a lawyer. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36965950)

And, good luck with that.

They all took turns at pissing in Thomas's tank (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36965960)

Steve Jobs, Steve Ballmer, Larry Elison and Jeff Bezos all took turns at sucking the penguin cock, Gnu/Semen was everywhere, but their was no vaginas around for miles.

Facts (4, Interesting)

YodasEvilTwin (2014446) | more than 2 years ago | (#36965966)

The old version of Amazon's agreement stated that developers would receive 20% of the original price when an app was given away for free. Then they changed it, and they didn't make it clear to developers. For many of them it was a nasty surprise. Unfortunately I can't find the original, but the new version is here https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/G/01/mobile-apps/devportal/pdf/Appstore_Distribution_Agreement.pdf [ssl-images-amazon.com] with the added sentence "No Royalty is payable for Apps with a List Price of $0.00." in Section 2(a).

Re:Facts (5, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 2 years ago | (#36966128)

The old version of Amazon's agreement stated that developers would receive 20% of the original price when an app was given away for free. Then they changed it, and they didn't make it clear to developers. For many of them it was a nasty surprise. Unfortunately I can't find the original, but the new version is here https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/G/01/mobile-apps/devportal/pdf/Appstore_Distribution_Agreement.pdf [ssl-images-amazon.com] with the added sentence "No Royalty is payable for Apps with a List Price of $0.00." in Section 2(a).

It's amazing how many problems and complaints would be solved if every ToS, EULA, and online agreement required some kind of electronic signature to be valid. It should be something that would take more than a quick mouse-click to apply. Also if any amendments to existing agreements had to come with a statement to the effect of, "The amended agreement is identical to the previous one in every way, except the following:" which could be covered in a couple of paragraphs, rather than reading tens of pages of legalese to find what has changed.

The entire notion of a contract or agreement is that both parties fully understand it and both parties voluntarily agree to it. The fact that most people neither read nor understand most agreements and EULAs and ToS's means that this system is failing and needs to be changed. Unless of course we are prepared to reject the idea of informed, voluntary consent to mutually satisfying agreements. Anyone who wants to reject that notion should understand that your alternative is the law of the jungle.

Re:Facts (2)

poena.dare (306891) | more than 2 years ago | (#36966314)

Mod parent up.

Contract updates should have a human readable diff summary on the first page.

Re:Facts (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36966144)

And Amazon sent this guy an email saying they were going to pay 0% with that section bolded. The developer asked for clarification and a 20% return. Amazon said no, it will be 0%. Developer went forward anyway after discussion with group, and was disappointed by the promised 0% return.

Re:Facts (1)

Totenglocke (1291680) | more than 2 years ago | (#36966204)

Well, to a degree I can understand why. I grab just about every free app of the day, but they are almost never something I would pay for (even Swiftkey). I know many people who are like that because while the app may be great, at a normal price of $5+ there's no way in hell I'm buying it - but give it away for free and sure, I'll take it.

100,000 apps ... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36965968)

100,000 apps were given away to people who would have ignored your app and gone for someone else's free app if yours wasn't free.

If your app is worth anything, you just earned more than 100k word of mouth sales at ${full_price}.

Re:100,000 apps ... (5, Insightful)

fish waffle (179067) | more than 2 years ago | (#36966024)

you just earned more than 100k word of mouth sales at ${full_price}.

Maybe, but that's offset by 100k apps worth of support paid for by $0 in income. From TFA, in their case, 300 emails/day, and no subsequent increase in sales.

Re:100,000 apps ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36966134)

Plus the cost of added hardware to support the new 100k+ users. Even if Amazon is in the right and the developer just made a mistake, they still got pretty screwed.

Re:100,000 apps ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36966364)

You must have missed the part where I said "If your app is worth anything..."

No sales were harmed in making this promotion (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 2 years ago | (#36966406)

The difference between free and 0.01 is infinite. The sort of people who will come to the trough for a free download are not the sort who will pay money, unless there's something very, very special about the app.

In fact, giving it away (even for a day) can be harmful. It tells the people who did pay for it that they've been suckered. They are now lost customers if there's ever an updated version. They won't pay for that, they'll remember how they got shafted the first time and wait until it gets given away. Same with all the people who got it for free - the author has now defined the base price (i.e. 0.00) and people out there will not feel inclined to pay more than that for it.

Re:100,000 apps ... (2)

caseih (160668) | more than 2 years ago | (#36966504)

My brother got the FlexT9 keyboard app on an Amazon promotion for free. He liked it so much that I gladly payed the full price (well maybe $4) for it, and I'm glad I did. I really like it.

iOS (-1, Offtopic)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#36965980)

Once again, Apple's app store remains the only place to actually make any money and get a fair deal. The Android fanboys are already making smart remarks to defend their platform, but it doesn't change the fact that this is yet another mark on the face of Android development, on top of so many things.

Re:iOS (3, Funny)

Kenja (541830) | more than 2 years ago | (#36966074)

Too bad Apple wont let me sell my apps. Oh, and Amazon is not Google. But rant on you crazy person. If you scream loud enough I hear that Steve Jobs will come to your birthday party.

Written from my MacPro in Camino.

Re:iOS (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36966370)

No one gives a fuck about your app cunt. go suck another dick or shove a dildo in your fucking ass. Go fuck you and your fucking apple love. Asshole shit eater. F/OSS is king.

Re:iOS (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36966386)

Sad that people have to put their Apple-street-cred as a signature any time they don't suck up to Apple in a post. Wouldn't want to be accused of being an ASP.NET developer for HP who still runs Windows XP SP2 on a sub-$1,000 PC and has respect for Bill Gates' philanthropic efforts writing anti-Apple posts using Internet Explorer 6 now would you?

Written while being arms length from my Mac Mini and imaging myself having sex with Steve Jobs while listening to music purchased on iTunes

Re:iOS (1)

OopsIDied (1764436) | more than 2 years ago | (#36966106)

Unless they won't sell your app or you are using a subsription model and don't want to markup your prices by like...what was it? 20%? 30%?

Re:iOS (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36966152)

This has absolutely nothing to do with Android. These are Amazon's App Store's terms and conditions. I find it amusing that you talk about "Android fanboys" when your Apple fanboyism is very evident.

Grow up, and get your facts right.

Re:iOS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36966212)

To be fair the vast majority of apple app store developers don't make any money either, unless you are in the tiny minority of extremely popular apps you are unlikely to even get your dev costs back.

Re:iOS (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 2 years ago | (#36966330)

To be fair, you're 100% wrong. I have two apps, one of which is just a better version of the other. It is a niche program, intended for Orthodox Jews. In the nearly 3 years I've been in the App Store, I've made 6 times what I've spent in subscription fees. I've made enough to pay for the iPod Touch and iPad that I would have bought anyway. In fact, I bought the iPod Touch before I had any idea I'd be writing any apps.

I am not making a living by any stretch, but as a hobby, it more than pays for itself.

Re:iOS (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36966268)

Once again, Apple's app store remains the only place to actually make any money and get a fair deal. The Android fanboys are already making smart remarks to defend their platform, but it doesn't change the fact that this is yet another mark on the face of Android development, on top of so many things.

Worst Apple fanboi troll ever.

Confused by the confusion. (2, Insightful)

PeanutButterBreath (1224570) | more than 2 years ago | (#36966060)

Amazon told them in advance that they would get 0% of revenue (which would be $0, anyway). Amazon repeated this when they asked for confirmation. They recieved $0.

The only problem is an apparent error in the reporting which stated $54,800 in revenue on $0 of sales. But that is the only contradiction here.

Is this a good deal for developers? I don't know. Is Amazon screwing developers out of promised revenue with "secret back-door deals"? I see no evidence here.

Re:Confused by the confusion. (1)

fuzzytv (2108482) | more than 2 years ago | (#36966344)

Well, yeah - they've accepted the deal, there's no argument about that. They're just pointing out how bad move that was, and that even although Amazon suggests the developers will get 20% (so that the buyers think they've supported the developers). Which is not true, because Amazon did a back-door deal with most of the developers so they've actually get 0%.

Re:Confused by the confusion. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36966424)

Please show us where in any Amazon documentation there is a 20% deal.

Thank You (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36966068)

Amazon's deceptive business practices have been noted for future reference.
- AC & Android Developer

To those saying "Read the Contract" (1)

Lysander7 (2085382) | more than 2 years ago | (#36966076)

Amazon used intentionally misleading and vague wording. They did not state definitively whether or not the devs would receive 20% of the earnings, but I can see where there was confusion. It's always good, especially when dealing with businesses, to err on the side of caution, due to situations such as these.

Re:To those saying "Read the Contract" (3, Informative)

chrb (1083577) | more than 2 years ago | (#36966140)

There wasn't any confusion. From TFA:

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.

It was clear that they understood that they were being asked to "give away their app".

Re:To those saying "Read the Contract" (0)

cratermoon (765155) | more than 2 years ago | (#36966178)

Speaking of misleading and vague wording.. from the article, as quoted in the summary: "We would have done if our public agreement was in place"

I reread the article twice, and either the author a) is not a native English speaker/writer or b) is a sad commentary on the state of education in his country.

Re:To those saying "Read the Contract" (1)

fuzzytv (2108482) | more than 2 years ago | (#36966418)

Misleading wording? The first e-mail from Amazon is quite clear and they've even confirmed that (after the devs sent them a bit rude e-mail)? English is not my native language, but I see no misleading wording in that.

Biased Summary (5, Insightful)

chrb (1083577) | more than 2 years ago | (#36966086)

The summary implies that the developers didn't know that they would get no money. The article makes it clear that they not only were told they would get nothing, but they confirmed in subsequent emails with Amazon that they would get nothing. Knowing this, they still decided to go ahead with the deal.

The Amazon emails have a good point:

The Free App of the Day promotion is the most valuable and visible spot in the store. It hosted the launch of the likes of Angry Birds Rio, Plants v. Zombies and more. Amazon will not receive any sales rev share from the Free App of the Day; and in fact, with as the Free of the Day for one day, you will receive a subsequent Appstore main page placement for the following 14 days. All these highly valuable placements are at no cost to you. We want to promote your app and in exchange of the placements, at the 0% rev share for one day only.

Being "Free app of the day" is a huge advert for your app - and adverts have a cost. Being app of the day is optional - not mandatory - the developers in question could have said no. And the cost is not 101,491 copies of your app - that's RIAA accounting. The majority of downloaders will try your app once and then never use it again. Some may continue to use it, and when they do, if you're smart you'll figure out a way to monetise their usage (e.g. charge for version 2, offer premium feature updates etc.).

thanks to Amazon's secret back-door deals, we made $0 on that day.

Amazon also made $0 that day (from your app). You agreed to the deal. It gave your app enormous exposure. You didn't lose 101,491 sales, because the vast majority of those people would never have bought your app anyway.

Re:Biased Summary (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36966264)

thanks to Amazon's secret back-door deals, we made $0 on that day.

Amazon also made $0 that day (from your app). You agreed to the deal. It gave your app enormous exposure. You didn't lose 101,491 sales, because the vast majority of those people would never have bought your app anyway.

To be fair, Amazon profited by using this "free app of the day" to attract people to the Amazon Appstore. I had always thought that the developer was profiting financially from Amazon when they offered an app as the free app of the day. Apparently, they do not compensate the developer except that they feature them on the main page and then give them priority placement for a week afterwards. However, they seem to be able to set the price to whatever they want for that week afterwards. The author says that they discounted their app for a few days afterwards to 99 cents when it had the priority placement.

Re:Biased Summary (2)

BradleyUffner (103496) | more than 2 years ago | (#36966376)

The majority of downloaders will try your app once and then never use it again

Most the of the "Free App of the Day" applications I download never even get installed because, as far as I can tell, there is no way to see what permissions the app will need before "buying" it. I have a ton of stuff in "my apps" that I downloaded and refused to install when I saw the permission they wanted. Still haven't figured out how to remove something from that section either.

Re:Biased Summary (2)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#36966452)

Yes, it was not fraud, nor does TFA imply that it was. They just wanted people to know what the actual deal is/was and to point out a few reasons why it may not be such a good deal for developers.

They also provided their experience that the "exposure" was more expensive than one might realize and that it may not help in the slightest, especially if Amazon decides that you get to be the $0.99 app right after.

Amazon also made $0 that day (from your app). You agreed to the deal. It gave your app enormous exposure. You didn't lose 101,491 sales, because the vast majority of those people would never have bought your app anyway.

Right, but they did have to upgrade their server hardware to deal with those 101,491 users they wouldn't have had otherwise and they couldn't pay for it out of income from the app and they had to deal with 300 emails a day from users who paid nothing, so the exposure was fairly expensive.

Just because it's perfectly legal and not in any way fraud doesn't mean it's a good deal. TFA just wanted to point out the significant pitfalls.

Re:Biased Summary (1)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | more than 2 years ago | (#36966520)

They said it didn't help, and app sales went back to the 2 or 3 sales per day that they had before the promotion. They also wondered if every potential customer, who wanted their app, had already downloaded it for free.

Re:Biased Summary (0)

maxume (22995) | more than 2 years ago | (#36966530)

The summary is an excerpt and explicitly states that it is the words of one of the involved parties.

Given those facts, why on earth would you expect it to be free from bias?

Deal with the devil (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36966090)

Amateur developers are funny. Is this some kid in college developing for Android? You probably don't deserve to get paid anyway.

Read your contracts morons and then recheck the terms every once in a while.

Or better yet, don't sign deals with the devil in the first place.

LoLZZZ (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36966096)

Loving it! Maybe you fucks will give up on that shit and develop apps for a real smart phone.

Re:LoLZZZ (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 2 years ago | (#36966224)

Loving it! Maybe you fucks will give up on that shit and develop apps for a real smart phone.

I'm hoping those fucks give up on developing "apps" and get back to developing applications.
Software that does shit, software that runs on my local machine, software that comes with documentation, etc.

But alas, those days are over.

The distributors (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36966100)

Amazon, google, apple, microsoft and all the other big players control the market for apps. This is a very bad position for individual developers because it means that to get a foothold in the market, they need to be a part of one of them.

Is the moral of the story to read the contract, No. The moral is to stop feeding these companies and stop them from being able to command the market.

I really hope tech people realise this soon else we can safely say that we asked for this state of affairs to come about.

Please please please, stop giving your hard work away to these monsters just so they can grow bigger. Seriously, what else do they do apart from get bigger? It is us as individuals that do all the innovating, not them, they just pick up our innovations and run away with them. They are leaches!

How about we start distributing our hard work ourselves?

Give away 1 or 1,000,000,000 (-1, Troll)

kurt555gs (309278) | more than 2 years ago | (#36966120)

It's software. It cost nothing to duplicate. You get exposure.

Quit whining.

Re:Give away 1 or 1,000,000,000 (1, Funny)

Manos_Of_Fate (1092793) | more than 2 years ago | (#36966170)

It's software. It cost nothing to duplicate. You get exposure.

Quit whining.

According to the RIAA and MPAA, that's 101,491 lost sales.

Re:Give away 1 or 1,000,000,000 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36966296)

your math is wrong, that's 101,491,000 lost sales by RIAA accounting

Re:Give away 1 or 1,000,000,000 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36966172)

Although their app connects back to their server which does cost them in electricity, bandwidth, servers, etc. (But, they knew that going in too)

Re:Give away 1 or 1,000,000,000 (2)

gregfortune (313889) | more than 2 years ago | (#36966184)

Read the article and note the increased support and hardware costs.

Re:Give away 1 or 1,000,000,000 (1)

outsider007 (115534) | more than 2 years ago | (#36966428)

In that case amazon is also out of pocket. For promoting *their app*

Re:Give away 1 or 1,000,000,000 (2)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 2 years ago | (#36966200)

By that logic, there shouldn't be a market for anything in print, artwork, music, movies, or anything else that can be digitally replicated. You're using the cover story of someone who downloads music for free, then rationalizes that somehow word of mouth will convince your friends to pay for what you just downloaded for free.

Re:Give away 1 or 1,000,000,000 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36966252)

It's software. It cost nothing to duplicate. You get exposure.

Quit whining.

Except, if you RTFA, his app would request files from his server. The extra 100K users (who got the app for free) caused them to have to upgrade their servers, costing them extra money. And sales after the free app of they day event dwindled back down. Amazon also discounted the app to be $0.99, and the revenue sharing was 80% Amazon, 20% for two weeks.

The summary does a poor job portraying the developers complaints.

Re:Give away 1 or 1,000,000,000 (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36966362)

It most definitely costs something to support all of those users that got it for free, however.

This dev is making the same error as the RIAA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36966180)

When people get things for free take an X amount, it does not mean X people would have paid for your app if it was not free. This developer did not lose 50000 dollar in revenue. More likely they lost like 100 dollar, tops.

I really can't see the problem here (-1, Flamebait)

waddgodd (34934) | more than 2 years ago | (#36966198)

I don't even know the average size of the typical android app, but I'm guessing a 1000 LOC app would be HUGE in comparison to most of them, yet they want actual valuta for what is essentially an afternoon's work? I've seen a "must-have" app a friend showed me once, it was a GUI frontend to pgrep/pkill, for $5. The ripoff here is they charge you $$ for what is essentially a "hello world" app, then one day Google has the infernal gall to actually give it to you for free, and the devs whinge. Here's a surefire way to not get ripped off when Google puts your app up on "free day", opt out of the darn thing. I'm sure there's some way or another you can tell Google that you don't wish to have your app given away that they'll honor, or at least indemnify you for lost revenue when they DO put it up for free.Short of that, you can always go back to windows developing, and stay off free platforms until you realize that the crap you puked out on your keyboard in an afternoon isn't worth $50 a pop.

Shooting themselves in the foot (2)

sserendipity (696118) | more than 2 years ago | (#36966230)

They present one deal publicly, then renegotiate every Free App of the Day deal depending on whether or not they feel that the it is to Amazon's advantage. The Angry Birds get paid, the small local guy does not. This is predatory, though not illegal, and shows that they fundamentally misunderstand the ecosystem they need to foster in order for them to do well. If they were the only game in town, this might work for them, but they are not.

I have only anecdotal evidence, but it seems to me that the Amazon Store is used to grab free apps and nothing else. It's not compelling for users or developers.

The "exposure" scam (4, Interesting)

oGMo (379) | more than 2 years ago | (#36966236)

I see people posting about "free exposure" and that sort of thing. But this is only getting exposure for Amazon, who presumably wants to build a user- and application-base for their own upcoming Google-free Android devices.

See, advertising is about drawing attention and profiting when people purchase your product. Regular advertisements do this. Even sales do this. But giving your stuff away doesn't make you money. Any exposure you got was immediately lost to those exposed who either wanted your product or didn't even want it for nothing. Anyone who didn't see it wasn't exposed, and therefore doesn't matter, or worse, will pass on your app even on sale to just wait for the next "free" one. Why pay anything?

However having free stuff does net Amazon a lot of exposure and incentive for new customers. This will sell their devices and platform through exposure.

Re:The "exposure" scam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36966454)

If I saw an app on a friends phone that he got for free, and I liked it, then I would get it, even if it means buying it while he got it for free.

It's that simple, and it works.

As said above you haven't lost sales on 100k copies of your app. You've only lost the average sales for an average day. If the app wasn't posted at 0$ and heavily advertised by Amazon, you wouldn't have gotten those downloads, downloads not buys.

What the app makers don't show, and won't, because this is yet another publicity stunt, is that the number of sales increased in the next few days. And this time, we're talking full price sales, not downloads.

Re:The "exposure" scam (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#36966532)

But giving your stuff away doesn't make you money. Any exposure you got was immediately lost to those exposed who either wanted your product or didn't even want it for nothing.

I don't know about software, but I've downloaded hundreds of free ebooks from Amazon and Smashwords and when they turned out to be good I've then bought other books by the same author for real money. In those cases that's money they would never have made if their book hadn't been free.

Even if I wanted to pay ... (1)

quenda (644621) | more than 2 years ago | (#36966366)

Like countless other foreigners, my Amazon appstore account has a fake name, fake US address, and fake US credit-card number.
Using it to get a paid app might be crossing a line, even if it worked.

You can't read your own e-mails? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36966382)

The article makes it perfectly clear that you knew you wouldn't get any money, and still chose to give your app away for free, in exchange for the exposure. So what exactly are you whining about?

Amazon Appstore is not that great... (1)

Kurusawa (1416157) | more than 2 years ago | (#36966388)

Every Amazon purchased app will try to contact the Amazon Appstore when it is launched.
The Appstore itself will try to phone home at least a few times a day even if the Amazon purchased apps are not running.
Some Amazon purchased apps will not launch if you uninstall the Appstore.
http://www.the-digital-reader.com/2011/04/12/apps-from-amazon-routinely-phone-home-and-other-interesting-details/ [the-digital-reader.com]

Cry me a river (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36966404)

The current price of this placement is at 0% rev share for that one day you are placed.
The emphasis there was actually added by them in their email. So we asked them to confirm, what seemed a ridiculous proposition:

They even added the emphasis in the email, how much more clear could it be that you weren't going to get paid for apps given away that day?!?! I mean, cmon, do you expect amazon to start paying 50k a day from no revenue to the app developers from your free app? What were you expecting exactly? I'll attempt a music analogy with the RIAA and a band here (I know how much the crowd here hates the *IAA but whatever). You're in some band that nobody really knows. You sell a few tunes on iTunes here and there, barely a dozen a day, certainly not enough to finance yourself. Then along comes the RIAA and tells you they like your tune, and they'd like to promote it. They're going to promote it and let people download it free for a day. Of course you say yes because you want the publicity and go along. You realize 100,000 people have heard your song by the next day and you're thrilled to have such a great fan base now!! And maybe you didn't make any money that day, but hey you've got a name for yourself and the sky's the limit now!!

Oh wait.. is that not how it went? Oh yea. I forgot that if this was reality, you'd never actually make any money on any of your songs due to your shady record contract. You can still collect on all future sales of your app. Also, from TFA

"Did the exposure count for much in the days afterwards? That’s also a big no, the day after saw a blip in sales, followed by things going back to exactly where we started, selling a few apps a day."

Maybe your app wasn't as popular as you hoped it would be, hence the low number of buyers afterwards? Maybe you're just a little bitter having to come to terms with that and you're taking it out on amazon? So tell me, instead of your free publicity, would you rather have not gone through with this at all, and kept up with the single or double digit daily sales?

why cut off stats after the free day (1)

jkcity (577735) | more than 2 years ago | (#36966426)

Its a little disapointing they only printed stats for a few days before of sales and stopped at that they should have posted the after stats so we could see if the exposure they got was worth it as amazon tried to say it would be.

Android users steal software anyways (-1, Troll)

jmcbain (1233044) | more than 2 years ago | (#36966446)

Android users are basically unemployed pony-tailed degenerates who've made a series of bad decisions in their lives, thus ending up with an Android phone. Undoubtedly these users would end up stealing Android software through "jailbreaking" methods, so the developers in this story would have ended up with $0 anyways.
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