Amazon Appstore makes developers unhappy
Amazon Appstore makes developers unhappy
Written by Kay Ewbank   
Wednesday, 03 August 2011

Promotion and publicity and are usually seen as good for brand building. But whose brand does it build and when should you turn down a seemingly golden oppportunity?

Those of you putting apps onto the Amazon Appstore might do well to check out a blog post by ShiftyJelly  that gives the experiences of a developer who’s less than happy. Titled Amazon App Store: Rotten To The Core it tells how Amazon’s Free App of the Day promotion is good news for everyone apart from the developers. As the name suggests, Amazon’s Free App of the Day is free to download by anyone.



When Appstore launched, Amazon's offer was that it would give developers 20 percent of the asking price for listed apps. According to ShiftyJelly, though, that isn’t  what happens any longer. The blog says that before being featured by Amazon in the coveted "Free App of the Day" slot, you get an email like this one:

“As you may already know, the Free App of the Day offer placement is one of the most visible and valuable spaces on the Amazon Appstore. We would like to include your app “[name removed]” in our Free App of the Day calendar. We have seen tremendous results from this promotion spot and believe it will bring you a great deal of positive reviews and traffic. It is an opportunity to build your brand especially in association with a brand like Amazon’s. The current price of this placement is at 0% rev share for that one day you are placed.”

In other words, the developers get nothing for any copy ‘sold’ on the day of promotion. After some discussion, the ShiftyJelly team decided the exposure would be worth it, and went for making its app the Free App of the Day. Having previously seen sales of between two and 20 copies per day, they saw 101,491 copies given away, after which sales dropped back to their previous levels.

As the team had other issues with Amazon including lengthy review times, Amazon setting the price for the app and rewriting the description, late payment and not providing the option for the developer to directly remove the app from the store, the team at ShiftyJelly decided to remove itself from the Amazon Store.

They’re upfront about the fact that they could be seen as naïve. As the blog says:

“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. Perhaps. I guess it’s just lucky for us that this was an experiment, and that we don’t make our full time income from selling Android apps, but rather from developing for iOS. That said, we want to make a clear stand here, so that Amazon doesn’t take advantage of those less fortunate than us.”

Whether the developers are naïve or not, it’s worth knowing that the rules have changed before you decide Amazon App Store is the place for you.



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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 03 August 2011 )

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