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Developer Calls Amazon Appstore a 'Disaster' 241

Posted by Soulskill
from the words-of-protest dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The developer of the current #2 Top App on Android Market has written a very interesting article giving six reasons why they decided to pull their game from Amazon Appstore. From the article: 'If you are a small indie development team, or possibly even alone, don't bother with Amazon Appstore. Create a great app, publish it on Android Market, and provide great customer support. You will never succeed on Amazon Appstore without a big wallet, or at least an established reputation so that Amazon puts value behind their promises.'"
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Developer Calls Amazon Appstore a 'Disaster'

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  • HTTP vs HTTPS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 05, 2011 @04:28AM (#36658654)

    I almost wanted to stop reading after the first point the developer made. Amazon rejected his application because it used an insecure communication channel over the internet. Cry me a river. I actually applaud Amazon for doing that. But instead he goes on to whine that his server can't handle the additional load caused by using HTTPS. While I can understand his frustration based on the other points he makes, the very first one really doesn't help his case.

    • Re:HTTP vs HTTPS (Score:5, Interesting)

      by gnasher719 (869701) on Tuesday July 05, 2011 @05:22AM (#36658870)

      I almost wanted to stop reading after the first point the developer made. Amazon rejected his application because it used an insecure communication channel over the internet. Cry me a river. I actually applaud Amazon for doing that.

      You realize that slashdot uses an insecure communication channel over the internet? The developer used http to deliver game levels to the customer. No personal data, no need for security.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 05, 2011 @06:52AM (#36659254)

        This "slashdot" of which you talk, can't be very secure, can it ?

        I actually heard they have "Anonymous Cowards" in this system, no doubt agents for this "Anonymous" hacker group.

      • Re:HTTP vs HTTPS (Score:5, Insightful)

        by JSBiff (87824) on Tuesday July 05, 2011 @07:36AM (#36659524) Journal

        "The developer used http to deliver game levels to the customer. No personal data, no need for security."

        Actually, according to the fine article, Amazon's complaint was about the session cookie, not the levels, as near as I can tell. That might not strike you as important, but it might be that from Amazon's standpoint, that session cookie might be re-used for something else more important, or might be necessary to keep people from making unpaid copies, etc.

        It might not, it's just hard to tell - there's not enough information from the article to tell how important that session cookie is (or is not), from a security standpoint.

        I tend to agree with the Grandparent - the very first point was the weakest of all the developer's complaints (and if it weren't for the other issues, I suspect that developer himself would still be using Amazon Appstore).

        His first item was actually really 3 or 4 items that he lumped together, and I think I disagree with him on just about everything.

        Subclaims:

        A) It takes a long time for them to review your code:

              The whole premise of the Amazon Appstore, that they use as a differentiating feature from the Market, is that Amazon promises to review submissions. Of course that will take time. 2 weeks doesn't sound like an unreasonable time span for such a review, at least to me.

        B) The complaint about SSL which we've already discussed above.

        C) Amazon told him the App was live, but he couldn't find it - OK, that sounds like a legitimate complaint, but I suspect it might just take a day or two to show up in the system. Not sure how that works, but I agree that once the dev is notified the app has been accepted, it seems like it should quickly show up in the listings.

        D) Updates also have to be reviewed - well DUH! I mean, wth good is it to review the original app submission, but not updates? That's just an invitation for someone who wants to peddle malware to submit a "clean" version 1.0, then after acceptance, submit a "dirty" version 1.1 update a few days later.

        If you are going to do security reviews, you've got to review everything. I'm sorry, that's just common sense.

      • I almost wanted to stop reading after the first point the developer made. Amazon rejected his application because it used an insecure communication channel over the internet. Cry me a river. I actually applaud Amazon for doing that.

        You realize that slashdot uses an insecure communication channel over the internet? The developer used http to deliver game levels to the customer. No personal data, no need for security.

        You do realize that Facebook uses an insecure communication channel over Wifi, which has allowed users of FireSheep [codebutler.com] to hijack any public wifi users session and steal their account? And you do realize that the store is for a device that relies entirely on wireless (3G/LTE/WiFi) technology? Demanding that all apps use only secure communication channels to protect devices most likely on unpassworded wifi is a good thing. A man-in-the-middle attack could easily hit a popular game like Angry Birds, corrupting

    • by thegarbz (1787294)

      Amazon rejected his application because it used an insecure communication channel over the internet. Cry me a river.

      You're making a lot of assumptions about the nature of the app. In my opinion it's incredibly hypocritical. I mean when I go to Amazon they don't immediately redirect me to an HTTPS site either. If you're handling credit cards, logins, passwords, personal details then sure, but if not does it mean that the flickr app also gets rejected because it is using an insecure connection?

      In other related news I also don't wear a balaclava in public, and I don't go around whispering everything to everyone in case some

      • by Myopic (18616)

        My opinion is that encryption is (or, should be) so easy that to do it universally would substantially improve the usefulness of encrypting the parts that do need it. Yeah, I don't go around whispering all the time, but I would if whispering were as "cheap" as data encryption.

        And yet, here I am, not encrypting (most of) my web sessions. Still, I would if it were made as easy as it could be.

  • by DrXym (126579) on Tuesday July 05, 2011 @04:42AM (#36658702)
    Amazon wants developers to cough up $100 for the privilege of being listed on their site. Of course they're graciously waive the fee the first year but to me this seems like a deliberate barrier to stop all those scumbags with their free apps and open source ports from bothering listing on the service at all.

    Anyway I think the appstore will succeed when Amazon unleash whatever tablet devices they're cooking up. Doubtless these devices will be locked down so that Amazon's services will be the only thing users can use. The store makes zero sense in any other context than that since I doubt even 0.01% of non Amazon devices would be bothered to manually install another marketplace app when the one they have installed by default does the job.

    • Amazon wants developers to cough up $100 for the privilege of being listed on their site. Of course they're graciously waive the fee the first year but to me this seems like a deliberate barrier to stop all those scumbags with their free apps and open source ports from bothering listing on the service at all.

      If you want your product placed where people can find it, expect to cough up some dough,

      • by DrXym (126579)
        People can find your product on Android marketplace. It costs $25 to register for lifetime access to Android Marketplace as opposed to $99 per annum. That's a far easier sum to swallow especially for people releasing apps for free or ad supported. I think it's supremely arrogant of Amazon to charge 4x annually for a smaller market and the obvious conclusion is they don't want free apps there at all.
  • Appstore replies ? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DaveDerrick (1070132) on Tuesday July 05, 2011 @05:02AM (#36658792)
    So he got a bad review on Amazon App store he couldn't reply to & affected sales ? I have exactly the same problem on Android Marketplace, some user didn't realise what the app did (its a Utility not a game) & posted a "Dont waste your money" review on a £0.99 app. I refunded him, but I can't respond to his comments, reply to him or have the comments withdrawn, my sales slumped after that. Android Market place is no better than Amazon on this point.
    • Can you not just post up reviews saying that his response was full of crap? Might not be ethical but it sounds like justice to me.

  • by thegarbz (1787294) on Tuesday July 05, 2011 @05:46AM (#36658970)

    The originally Amazon "exclusive" Angry Birds 2, just made fans of the game world wide Angry. Do you know when you get an error message saying that only US customers are allowed to purchase from the Amazon app store (for some ludicrously stupid reason, given how I purchase other things from Amazon all the time). It's not when I log in. It's not when I enter my one-click details. It's not when after I click buy it directs me to download the Amazon App Store App, it's not when I install the App, It's not even when I login and search for an app again. It's only after I SPENT HALF A FUCKING HOUR getting to the stage where I could click to download Angry Birds that I got the error message.

    Well a big fuck you to Amazon, and while I was heated I sent a nasty email to the developers too. Fortunately a week later things reverted and the game appeared (to the surprise of everyone) on the Market.

    Using Amazon from a user perspective is also an incredible mission. I don't have any desire to ever go back there again, even if they would serve me.

    • by KlaymenDK (713149)

      This.

      As a fellow non-USian, one would think they'd post that information somewhere up-front, that it's not very useful outside their borders. One is left to wonder if they are designing such "user experiences" on purpose, or if they really are that dumb. Not that I am a huge Amazon customer, but still, it's plainly bad business.

      • by gmack (197796)

        I vote for dumb. Right now I find myself in Spain and it's very difficult to determine beforehand what is available here and what isn't. I can click and get a list of stores with an item but even if it lists international shipping rates, it may not be available to ship to me. Most of the time the only thing I can do is try and buy it and see if it errors out on my shipping address.

        They *really* need an "exclude if not available in my area" search option, or failing that a warning on the product page that

  • Of couse it is a disaster. The store is US only for starters. Android developers have a hard enough time making money without purposefully isolating yourself to some 5% or 10% of the global Android market. I don't know why anyone would publish anything exclusively on the Amazon appstore. They better bet getting huge payoffs from Amazon to do s.

    • by hitmark (640295)

      Its a standard US company thing. I think Apple got one office covering the whole or Europe and Middle-east...

      • by Xugumad (39311)

        So? Yes, it's hard (very hard) to launch in multiple continents simultaneously... however they're trying to compete with a marketplace that's global, so they either have to roll out to the rest of the world, or get left behind.

        • by hitmark (640295)

          I am just saying it seems like just about every US company approach a global reach as if US == World. Consider that the one Apple office covers a whole lot of nations with differing languages, cultures and laws.

          • by Xugumad (39311)

            I _think_ the office you're referring to is the one that would have oversight of the Apple companies in those countries. Apple have a huge setup in Ireland that covers much of their UK operations (distribution and support at the very least, last time I checked), and a wide variety of Apple stores throughout the UK: http://www.apple.com/uk/retail/storelist/ [apple.com]

            I would presume they have similar setups for many countries.

  • There is a single reason not to use the Amazon app store to publish your app:

    1) Customers willing to pay money living outside of the US cannot purchase from the store. I can publish my app from Australia, but I cannot purchase my own app without some circumnavigation of their block.

  • RTFA, whelps! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eyenot (102141) <eyenot@hotmail.com> on Tuesday July 05, 2011 @07:17AM (#36659394) Homepage

    Everything about this story suggests that the author is an honest, underselling, competitive and straight dealer. I can't BELIEVE the fuckups here who are badmouthing him, who obviously didn't even RTFA.

    I had a post prepared where I point out the problems but why reproduce TFA? Anyways I hit a stray key and it got lost. I'll try to do a decent job of a synapsis, again, anyway.

    1. The review process took two weeks. He was told he would have to use HTTPS. He grumbles about server load but that isn't the point: he put the extra god damn byte in and put the app back in for review. AND WAITED ANOTHER TWO GOD DAMN WEEKS. Over an "S". Meanwhile, where in the fuck was the policy statement: "make sure your app is secure or you'll have to spend two weeks wishing we'd told you about it beforehand". Because obviously the author had no problem with the security policy; he made the change. So people applauding Amazon for their security policy ought to think about how they go about enforcing it, and whether it's worth the extra review time when they could have said to each other "oh, I have the app open right here mister author, and we'll need to type S right here in order for it to be okay to publish. Agreed?"

    2. Here's the author's main point of contention as far as "costing too much": he can't write the app for every device on the market because he can't go out and buy every fucking device on the market for testing. Why, you ask, would he even want to? Why, you wonder, would he bother caring about every device on the market? Because Amazon doesn't filter. He included a manifest that says what devices to reject or accept when users come to download the app, and Amazon ignored it, letting hundreds and hundreds of people download the app -- free or otherwise (oh, yeah, they made him spend a day giving it away free in exchange for it being visible in the app store) -- and plenty were pissed when it wouldn't work or their screen was too small to see it. The author had already thought about all this, he uses a manifest through another service that properly filters the customer base. Not Amazon. So to be successful through Amazon he'd need to go out and buy all these devices, write and test the app on the devices, and then launch. He'd no doubt need to hire a household of people to aid in the effort so it wouldn't take him four years of full time work to complete. Now do you get the fucking point?

    3. He's used to getting feedback email. He gets plenty of these every day. He uses it to tailor the app to the customer base's wishes. He uses it to launch bugfixes. After his "free day" that Amazon made him go through, wherein the app was downloaded 180,000 times, he got 2 emails. Despite dozens of no doubt unhappy customers. He feels that Amazon isn't doing enough to help customers contact authors.

    4. Part of his business practice is to refund unhappy customers. So people saying he's some kind of greedy person need to talk a walk. Well, Amazon doesn't let you refund your product which is a major "helloooo" point for me. WTF, Amazon!

    5. One customer left a really shitty review that made unjust claims about the game and was rife with paranoia. It was written by an actual paranoiac who claimed the app was "tracking" him. This review became "the most helpful" review and is now at the top of the page when you go to the app. The author was unable to comment-back to the comment. Guess why? Amazon doesn't let authors have free access to their review page. You might feel "secure" about that, but consider the liberties that users can take such as the paranoiac above. The author would have to purchase his own app in order to comment on the reviews. He can't: he's in Sweden, Amazon services only to U.S. customers. He's fucked! Amazon won't do squat about it.

    6. Oh, no, that's right. Amazon did do something: they cut his price in half AGAIN. Without asking him. Now he's the author of a one-dollar app that the top "most helpful" review claims is tied to an ad service and is a tracking device (both lies) with othe

  • by cjonslashdot (904508) on Tuesday July 05, 2011 @08:12AM (#36659862)

    I am a book author. I have three books published by traditional publishers, but my fourth book I published through my own company and sell it through Amazon. Yet, if one searches for the book by its exact name, the search results list fifteen other books of other names before listing mine. Clearly these results are being rigged. I don't care about "popularity" of these other titles: if someone enters the exact name of my book, my book should come up first.

    • by Rakishi (759894)

      Why?

      If people search for Armagedon do you think they want the directly matching misspelled song title (or whatever) or Armageddon the best selling movie?

      There's endless cases like this, direct matching leads to worse user experience than trying to infer intent. Apparently, amazon believes those other books are better matches than your own book for the search phrase. Nothing is rigged, you're just bitter at not being popular.

      • by MattskEE (925706)

        If people search for Armagedon do you think they want the directly matching misspelled song title (or whatever) or Armageddon the best selling movie?

        There's endless cases like this, direct matching leads to worse user experience than trying to infer intent.

        And yet the only case you listed was a ridiculous corner case. Chances are the GP's books' titles are not just single letter misspellings of highly well-known and popular books, and he probably should be the top result. I have definitely seen this with

      • You make a good point, but the name of my book is not a general term. It is very specific. If someone enters exactly that phrase, the odds are extremely high (probably 99%) that they are looking for my book, not for a general search category.

        If my book were named "Armageddon", or some other general topic, I would agree. But in this case it makes no sense.

  • Amazon appstore was a much needed way of downloading apps and the developers who are upset because they don't have the freedom to push out terrible applications for free need to grow up. I lost track of the number of times I downloaded an app from the android market and it totally killed my battery in a matter of minutes. Browsing the android market is still a total clusterfuck with more useless crap apps than anything else and actually searching for quality apps is a horrendous experience which is pretty
  • Perhaps not officially... but its new.
    There are going to be bugs.

  • I've bought a couple of things through the Amazon Appstore, but most of what I've gotten as "Free Apps" are items that I would never have purchased otherwise, mostly games.

    Of the other apps I've gotten (or considered),
    * I'm likely to purchase one (Pocket Casts) on the Android Market instead of keeping the Amazon version I have if an update due Thursday addresses the issues I've seen (it's not expensive),
    * I'm likely to purchase another (Enhanced Email) on the Android market for full price instead of 50% off

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