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

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  • Facts (Score:5, Interesting)

    by YodasEvilTwin ( 2014446 ) on Tuesday August 02, 2011 @06:41PM (#36965966) Homepage
    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 [] with the added sentence "No Royalty is payable for Apps with a List Price of $0.00." in Section 2(a).
  • by fuzzytv ( 2108482 ) on Tuesday August 02, 2011 @07:02PM (#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.

  • The "exposure" scam (Score:5, Interesting)

    by oGMo ( 379 ) on Tuesday August 02, 2011 @07:05PM (#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:math is hard (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mabhatter654 ( 561290 ) on Tuesday August 02, 2011 @07:06PM (#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: []

    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:bitter much? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Kalriath ( 849904 ) on Tuesday August 02, 2011 @07:40PM (#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.

  • by macs4all ( 973270 ) on Tuesday August 02, 2011 @08:21PM (#36966866)

    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?

    What would be saying if it was Apple that did this?

  • by pkinetics ( 549289 ) on Tuesday August 02, 2011 @09:09PM (#36967248)
    I found it amusing, mostly because it reminds me of me years ago, when I was a naive developer. Now I'm more worldly, not necessarily wiser, very much more cynical and not trusting.

    Even further down the author actually admits "As we said in our post, we deserved what we got, because we did indeed agree to it". Simply put, if they had asked the right question, and not beat around the bush, they would have gotten it explained.

    They make this comment, which I found kind of snot nosed brat kind of comment, back to Amazon at the initial onset:

    We’d be happy to reconsider if you decided to pay us the 20% that we agreed to in our original developer agreement, but this new one seems to favour only you, at the expense of us?

    Amazon's response is:

    ... 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.

    Amazon never said they would get 20%. Matter of fact, Amazon emphasis that there is no expense to the developers to get potentially highly profitable placement. Their actual technical complaints, slightly valid, accounts for about 7 bullet points, and 20 sentences. Their first technical point is rather naive. Assuming that Amazon would immediately post something is... well stupid. Just cause Google does it, does not mean Amazon is Google.

    The developer's use of the words "expense" implied a different meaning to people in marketing and sales. The developer's point was that they would not make money and have costs of supporting the free sales. The marketing / sales / accounting people, think of expense as the cost of doing business. Grasshopper chose his words poorly.

    The reality is they do not have enough business savvy. They hopefully will gain this over time.

    Its always amusing to me cause in college, CS and Business Admin students mock each other. And yet when it comes to the real world, they both need knowledge from the others area of expertise.

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