App Store Experience of a Developer

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by bridgeyman, Aug 3, 2008.

  1. bridgeyman macrumors member

    Mar 16, 2008
    I am extremely frustrated with how Apple is handling the App Store review process and iPhone developer program. I have been trying to get my game, Lumen, up on the App Store since June (as evidenced by my preview video, which was posted after I finished coding) and only got it to appear two days ago. Even then, things were seriously messed up. I really need to let some steam off, so here is my story.

    I downloaded the SDK and began coding immediately after the March 6th event. During the beta period, I was never accepted into the iPhone Developer Program. I applied as a business (Fiery Ferret) a few weeks after the launch of the SDK. Although I was finished with Lumen at the beginning of June, I was unable to submit it for the launch of the App Store or even test it on my own device. Finally on July 11th I heard that all developers were being automatically accepted! I waited for a few hours for my acceptance letter, but was afraid it never would come. I was right. Fortunately, my impatience prompted me to reapply as an individual developer. Sure enough that account got in almost immediately. I was finally able to test on my iPod Touch!

    There were a few bugs that were popped up on the device but not present in the simulator. I got those worked out and then submitted Lumen to Apple through iTunesConnect. I also filled out the contract and bank/tax information so I could sell paid applications. That was on July 13th. Lumen was reviewed and accepted within two days, on the 15th. That was the good news. The bad news is that it wasn't until the 28th that my contract for paid apps was accepted. By this time it had been two weeks since I had originally submitted Lumen. Definitely not an ideal time frame, but I was still happy to see Lumen was now "Ready For Sale." The general word was that it should appear on the App Store that afternoon or early the next morning. I eagerly waited. The afternoon went then the whole next day passed and I STILL hadn't seen Lumen on the App Store. I emailed some other developers that had their applications posted on that date to see when they saw their applications were ready for sale. Perhaps everyone had to wait a few days? Nope, theirs had been accepted earlier the same day their apps went on sale.

    I made a few support calls and sent some unanswered emails but I don't think they helped. It was Friday before Lumen was spotted on the App Store. Oddly though, I couldn't find Lumen in the list of new applications. I checked Lumen and sure enough the release date was "July 16th." Although my application didn't make it to the App Store until August 1st, Apple got the date messed up and now Lumen was on page 39 of the applications sorted by date, instead of page 1. It is effectively invisible. I have an update pending, and a support ticket at Apple to get this fixed, but this could take another few weeks to be done. In the meantime the App Store gets more crowded and I continue to lose money.

    What would you do in this case? Is there any way to make Apple take notice of me?

    Bridger Maxwell
  2. Auzburner macrumors 65816


    Apr 11, 2008
    Syracuse, NY - USA
    Man, that all out sucks. I'm sorry to hear you had such a hard time. Good luck in getting everything worked out, hopefully you could get some front page(1st Page) coverage.
  3. sushi Moderator emeritus


    Jul 19, 2002
    As a prior developer (a few years ago) I understand your frustration.

    The App store introduction has enjoyed some issues, that much is certain. ;)

    Not defending Apple, just stating the obvious.

    Suggest working on your next app while waiting on this one to get fielded.

    Good luck! :)
  4. philgilder macrumors 68000

    Sep 30, 2007
    send an email to apple, or send several. get stroppy, hopefully they will take notice, also afaik when an update appears the app will be appear to have been recently released

    i remember playing this on my mac, good game, and good price as well!
  5. bridgeyman thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 16, 2008
  6. sushi Moderator emeritus


    Jul 19, 2002
    Might do some good.

    However, I would venture to say, that energy expended doing this would be better spent on improving your app, or working on your next app.
  7. TheBearman macrumors 6502

    May 23, 2008
    Cary, NC
    That does suck because like you say it becomes invisible. I'm sure I'm no different than anyone else at the moment. I scan the app store every few days only looking at those apps added since my last visit.

    BTW, I know it wasn't your initial intent but I just downloaded your app! I will also take a little time to do another scan of all the apps to see if I've missed something. That will get harder to do as time goes on with 60+ pages in less than 30 days!
  8. zigzag macrumors member

    Apr 27, 2003
    And what happened to NetShare in the last few days with zero explanation from Apple? The App Store and Apple are very unorganized. I can understand that they have a huge demand, but to under estimate it by this much?
  9. markgamber macrumors 6502

    Jul 2, 2005
    Redneck, PA
    I've sent several emails to several people at Apple asking why I should bother continuing to write code for the iPhone. First, the SDK is shoddy at best. There are bugs, omissions, bad and outdated information everywhere you look. Second, it's not a store, it's a flea market. If you spend enough time wading through the disorganized crap you might find something actually worth paying for. Apple put what, 10 minutes of thought and effort into this thing? Third, the NetShare thing shows me that if anyone waves a big enough check under Apple's nose your app will disappear for whatever reason they care to invent, if they care at all. Sure, NetShare ran counter to AT&T's TOS but what does Apple care? Plain and simple, they totally caved to outside pressure and I'm absolutely positive it will happen again and again if they're allowed to get away with it unscathed this time. When you put this mess up against any other mobile platform I've ever coded for, Apple comes up the loser. If they can't offer some assurance of a relatively free market, I will immediately go back to Windows Mobile and Blackberry where I had the freedom to write and buy what I wanted to write and buy, not what I was allowed to buy and blessed to write. Apple better get it's act together, come up with a REAL plan and actually STICK TO IT for a change or the iPhone will command the same market share as their computers. What is that right now, 5%? Yeah, watch out, here comes Apple!
  10. skubish macrumors 68030


    Feb 2, 2005
    Ann Arbor, Michigan
    I think these expectations of perfection on what is essentially a 0.9 beta of AppStore is a bit ridiculous. Apple should be commended for sticking to a schedule and meeting a deadline. Something that usually doesn't happen in the tech world.

    My advice to developers: Wait 6-12 months and spend the time writing some good apps. By then the AppStore will be much better.
  11. thevol macrumors member

    Jul 2, 2008
    maybe you have already thought of this but when you post an update it puts the app back to the top when sorted by release date. you could add some small feature to the game and submit the update. just a thought.............
  12. know-it-all5 macrumors 6502

    Jun 28, 2006
    Hey buddy, I hear your pain. As a consumer of a number of apps in the app store, I can certainly see why that would frustrate you. Hell, it frustrates me, cause you've got a great app, and i am just noticing it now. its funny though to think how in reality the app store is the best distribution center for apps/games to phones. Even with all the bugs, there is nothing better. It is a disorganized landfill of junk with a few gems, that can only be found if you take time to sift through the crap.

    I really do feel for you. You have made a great app, that i will be buying in about 5-10 minutes from now. Please keep your faith in apple's app store, cause as bad as it is now, everywhere else is worse. The app store will likely be forced to get better, simply because at some point there will be so much junkware, that apple will be forced to do more organization. I say give it a month or two, and we will begin seeing some improvements. At the moment, I would like apple to focus on my buggy 2.0 software found in my iphone 3g.
  13. bridgeyman thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 16, 2008
    I realize the App Store is new, and I can't expect it to be perfect, but is it too much to expect that they would fix a mistake they made? I have been patiently waiting for two months. Other applications have had millions of downloads in the time that the App Store has launched. I worked just as hard to make sure my app would be there too. It seems the only way to get Apple to do anything is to fight for it, or have a big name (Disney, EA, Facebook, etc). I don't have a big name, so this is me fighting for it.

    p.s. Don't worry sushi, I am working on my next application right now. :p
  14. MicroByte macrumors 6502

    Jul 10, 2008
    I'm sorry for your pain but hopefully when things calm down and there is more experience with the app store setup, some of these issues will be alleviated.

    As a side note, I purchased your game, very nice! Don't lose hope, and keep on coding! :)
  15. Xtremehkr macrumors 68000


    Jul 4, 2004
  16. inkswamp macrumors 68030


    Jan 26, 2003
    First off, that's a very cool looking game. If I owned an iPhone, I'd buy your game.

    Secondly, I recommend that you approach Apple and be persistent, but do not take an accusatory tone or lose your cool. As with all things new, the App Store no doubt has some issues to be worked out and sadly, you and your app have gotten the short end of the deal. I'm betting Apple will rectify this situation once it gets through to the right person. Hang in there. :)

    Third, with your story making it to the front page of Digg (with the unfortunate, reactionary headline of "App Store Ripping Off Some Developers") you and your app have probably received far more attention now that if it had gone through the App Store in the proper channels.
  17. applebottom macrumors newbie

    Aug 3, 2008
  18. miniyou64 macrumors 6502


    Jul 8, 2008
    I hope for your sake Apple doesn't see you complaining and rip your App right out of the iTunes store. That's almost biting the hand that feeds you. Sometimes you gotta just put up with crap for awhile to make it to the top. I'd cool off, relax and just keep working hard on your Apps. If you work hard it'll all come out in the wash, complaining, especially to elitist Apple is not going to help you.
  19. krisusa123 macrumors newbie

    Sep 15, 2008
    When you post an update, how do you get the release date to be "today"?

    I've tried to change the availability date, which will cause the app to become available or unavailable momentarily, but it takes about 6 days before the release date changes, resulting in my app being listed about 100 slots down.
  20. krisusa123 macrumors newbie

    Sep 15, 2008
    My update has been available on itunes for a day, even appeared in the "Updates" folder on the device, but my date hasn't changed and I'm still listed very low in the games list on device.

    Any ideas how to get the date changed? I manually changed it last week, but it didn't take affect until a week later, nullifying the benefit.
  21. geist262 macrumors newbie

    Sep 5, 2008
    I already bought your game after playing the lite version. I love it!!!!!! I hope everything gets ironed out for you.
  22. krisusa123 macrumors newbie

    Sep 15, 2008
    I'm actually asking about how to change the release/post date on a different game, but same general issue referred to in this thread.
  23. kdarling macrumors demi-god


    Jun 9, 2007
    First university coding class = 47 years ago
    It's a two edged sword if it's more than a minor update, though.

    Developers have complained that their updated description will appear a few days before their updated binaries submitted at the same time.

    Which has lead to customers leaving upset reviews because the app that they paid for, still the old binary, didn't include what was in the description.
  24. yalag macrumors 65816

    Nov 18, 2007
    bridgeyman: In general iphone development is not worth the time unless you have a huge brand backing you or with a big publisher. Granted you will see example of a few extremely successful individual developer but those are the exceptions not the norm. Of course I dont have access to your sales numbers I can't say for sure, but I'm willing to bet if you actually divided up your total sales by the number of hours you spent (development, testing, fighting with iTunesconnect, graphical work, etc etc) you will find that your return is incredibility low. Probably some where around the range of $10 an hour comparable to the person who sold you your big mac.
  25. bridgeyman thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 16, 2008
    Well, now for the followup. I released an update (along with a healthy amount of calls to support) and the release date was fixed when the update was posted. It definitely made a difference, as my download numbers almost tripled.

    Really, now I am sorry I was such a complainer. :p The App Store definitely has its disadvantages because it is so new, but it has been well worth it to get access to such an awesome distribution channel. Apple was overwhelmed I think, but things are getting more stable and they keep adding features to iTunesConnect for the developers.

    yalag: Was it worth it? I didn't count my hours, but I can be sure that it took less than 1,500, if you know what I mean. ;) Not a bad source of income for an after school project of a high schooler. Also, I have really liked working on Lumen, it has been fun to develop and watch the download numbers.

Share This Page