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Feeling violated in the worse possible way!

01-18-2011, 03:10 AM
#1
Joined: Jul 2009
Location: Victoria BC
Posts: 1,170
Feeling violated in the worse possible way!

I hope no developer ever has to go through what a young talented developer from India experienced with Apple.

Here are the details

He talked a person from Oman and Canada (me) into helping him realize his dream. (This guy was relentless and persuasive.)

He wanted to be his own App developer.

So out comes the other guys credit card and a shiny new iMac x large, best memory possible, iPad ,iPod etc are delivered to Calcutta.

Unpacked ready to go, new developers license in hand, all of a sudden self employed with his peers from his tech job gone. He has his wish.

I gave him the idea, layout concept for his first app called " You" we worked together to get him on the right pathway and he is knee deep in the process in days, basically teaching himself the stuff he needs to know to get around many issues.

After a few months the "You" app is ready. Great logo, great name tonnes of great features ( way too many) all built by one guy.

App gets released on the store sells a few hundred right away but unfortunately the app was buggy because of all the moving parts. We tested it but not in all the possible combinations. The app crashed on occasion. Customers were ok because we committed to fix the app immediately. App works perfect after only a few days (simplified some points) and we submit the new version.

This new developer is on top of the world successful from day one, committed to stand behind his product and show the world his new found skill.

Part Two the downward death spiral.

App reviewer from hell that doesn't want to help and leaves "You" guessing for more.

Basically we get an email telling us the app "You " will be removed from the store immediately because the app resembles a desktop.

Ok, we agree and quickly a new version is built with the desk top split up onto many different pages. The app now is half as nice because you have to search for everything and scroll and click to find anything. Any ways the new version is submitted. After 13 days of no communication I finally call the reviewer and get his voice mail. This is so and so please leave ........ another week passes and nothing. So finally after 21 days after the patch was submitted I get persistent and keep leaving messages. I get a call back and the reviewer says you can only have one item per page. I ask for an example and he tells me you can't have the time and weather on the same page. That was it. He kept explaining to me that it is up to the developer to know all the rules and regs of the store. It wasn't his job to coach us. So after I explained to him that the store is full of apps that have two items per page he basically told me it wasn't his problem. We need to follow the rules set out by.....

So again we create more pages to place one item per page like we were told and we had gone from 6 pages on the app to 49 housing each function on a page. We test the new app and it was now useless. Unwilling to submit this scroll thing. I tried contacting my assigned reviewer and again nothing.

So I requested a new reviewer a week later this guy was willing to help. He helped us figure out what we could possibly do to get re-instated. Then wham the New and ....Featured lists that Thursday are loaded with apps that have more than six items on the front page of the app, resembling a desktop. So I asked Steve what about the level playing field you promised us. Please look at these apps with all these functionality's on the same page how is that even possible? Not only are they on the store but they are recommended by Apple, meanwhile "You " misses Xmas because no one will deal with us in an affirmative and timely fashion.

So Steve realizes we are right, pulls his tail in and tells me he can't deal with this issue, it is way beyond what he deals with we need to file with the review board.

So we file with the review board explaining everything.

It is going on two weeks now and we have only received an email (after vigourous complaining) stating that the board needs more time.

We have two apps submitted for the Mac app store that also seem to be frozen in time as well now ( more than 11 days) because we are in dispute.( I guess? and the fact that one of them is " You " for the Mac )

So pretty soon it will be three months the way it is going and we still have no idea what to do with "You".

One thing is for sure the young developer has been sick ( really sick) and his motivation is corked in a bottle sitting on the review boards desk.

I wouldn't want this story to happen to any other developer, believe me nothing bothers me, but this ordeal has hurt a hard working committed young man willing to solve any problems apple was willing to throw at him and they have no interest in dealing with him at all.

He told me today in a very sad voice " how do you fix something when the group you are fixing it for has no idea how to tell you what is broken in the first place.

We have always been polite and upfront with everyone at Apple so experiencing this firsthand is very sad. I have never had a problem with any of my own apps with apple.

A sad three months to say the least.

STR8TS , STR8TS 6X6 , DOMINO DICE , PUZZLE DICE,
CAVEMAN TEST, 1 TO 25, SUDOKU+STR8TS, ZARTE, ABSORB WATER, YOU, TIME SHEET (PHOTO VERIFIED),Office Alarm, Travel weather, dock clock,

Last edited by Syndicated Puzzles; 01-18-2011 at 03:28 AM.
01-18-2011, 04:58 AM
#2
Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 168
wow...truthfully speaking I have myself spoken with reviewers who hold the "apple and i take no bull" attitude and refuse to be helpful.

it's discouraging to hear what originally might have been a heartwarming success story turn into something like this.

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01-18-2011, 05:21 AM
#3
Joined: Jan 2011
Location: UK
Posts: 195
The best thing to do would be to start on a new project, something much simpler but guaranteed to make a few hundred sales, then build up from there.

Apple can be harsh at times, and I know many people who absolutely HATE how they manage things.
But they are a huge business and with so many little things to deal with, it is understandable why they sometimes behave the way they do.

I feel for your friend in India, I really do.
But worrying about the past will not help him, and he has to continue to move forwards.

As they say, "Prevention is better than cure".

Advise him to complete an App that he knows for certain Apple will not refuse; although it may not help with sales, it will ease his mind and motivate him enough to create bigger and more ambitious projects in the future.

Even a completed free App is better than no completed paid Apps.

All the best
01-18-2011, 07:52 AM
#4
Joined: Apr 2009
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,005
I feel for you, but can't say I'm terribly surprised. This is what you get when you have submission guidelines full of mostly subjective criteria and a review process that alternates between being a rubber stamp and a grueling "gotcha" session, depending on which reviewer you happen to get. There are things that the guidelines say you "should" do which some reviewers consider optional, and others don't. It's not uncommon for the 10th update to an app to get rejected for something that was an issue with the last 9 releases.

That being said, not all experiences with the app reviewers are bad, and some rejections are in your best interest. A reviewer once caught an obscure OpenFeint bug that happened only on one software/hardware configuration. Another reviewer listened to an appeal and allowed an app update (containing a critical bugfix) update to be approved even though it had been initially rejected for not conforming to one of their UI guidelines, with the promise that another udpate would correct this.

The problems aren't really Apple-specific. They are common to almost any large bureaucracy. These system feature impersonal relationships, where the person you are interacting with has no real incentive to help you. You need to take the right tone with these guys to have any chance of swaying them. Coming across as beligerant is the worst thing you can do.

Personally, I think it's always better to err on the side of approving more rather than less. The user base of the app store will quickly sort our what is appealing and what is not.
01-18-2011, 11:51 AM
#5
Joined: Jul 2009
Location: Victoria BC
Posts: 1,170
Thanks guys,

The only issue for us is that no one seems to want to talk to us. ( almost from day one). So how do you fix something when no one tells you what needs fixing.
As for the developer he is working on smaller projects now, but he definitely isn't the same person. Maybe getting the snot kicked out him will make him a better developer.

STR8TS , STR8TS 6X6 , DOMINO DICE , PUZZLE DICE,
CAVEMAN TEST, 1 TO 25, SUDOKU+STR8TS, ZARTE, ABSORB WATER, YOU, TIME SHEET (PHOTO VERIFIED),Office Alarm, Travel weather, dock clock,
01-18-2011, 12:44 PM
#6
Joined: Jun 2009
Location: Hollywood, CA
Posts: 1,869
Quote:
Originally Posted by Syndicated Puzzles View Post
Thanks guys,
As for the developer he is working on smaller projects now, but he definitely isn't the same person. Maybe getting the snot kicked out him will make him a better developer.
that's the truth right there.
man I had some wild hopes and dreams starting out at the beginning of this. Well - tempered with my already considerably jaded cynicism from years of having my ego trounced in this godforsaken industry (but hey that is another story). During the earlier part of our developments, things started to pick up incredibly and I found myself sitting in a great situation with everything lined up perfectly. I had all the right contacts, people wanted to give us lots of money, etc etc.

And then as things do, the house of cards fell for a bunch of seemingly senseless reasons. I quickly learned first hand what I'd seen so many times in the more traditional game industry was definitely the case in this newer one as well: there's no guarantee of anything. Unless you have everything setup perfectly in front, and you've been through a very specific ringer a few times already, there's always gonna be that certain amount of X Factor which will very possibly kick you in the ass and truly put you back at square one.

This is probably one of the big reasons why there's not so many more wild successes on the App Store. We've all seen promising young devs with lots of very exceptional releases early on in the cycle "oh, these guys are one to watch, a year from now they will be dominating the scene." POOF one by one so many of them disappear into thin air, with nary a trace or explanation. One can only imagine, but you know it's that unknown BS that creeps up. Apple gives a hard time once too often.. programmer and artist have a falling out.. money makes people crazy, other politics.. take your pick.

The long and short of this all is that the Gold Rush Days of this scene are long gone for a good year and a half now. This is not to say it's a dead scene in any fashion, but it is way more complicated and risky than it was during the simpler days. A good base of contacts, a little nest egg of cash to start up with, a well-intentioned novel idea for an app are all nice but none of these is really a great key to the Big Time anymore. It requires a lot of other things, particularly perseverance and luck, and the second one you can't really count on.

So yeah, this is absolutely a huge lesson for your young developer friend. I feel for him, but I do respect that he (as any of us) needs some serious ass-kicking to get a real understanding of what participating in this all means. If he really enjoys doing this stuff, and the promise it holds - and he's so talented and driven, then now's his chance to sit down and get to work and see what he is made of for real

alright, time to get a bagel.

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01-20-2011, 11:23 AM
#7
Joined: Jul 2009
Location: Victoria BC
Posts: 1,170
Still waiting for three apps floating in mid air to make it on the store. It is now getting unrealistic to consider this a business anymore. it is tough enough to make money even if your apps are in the store.

STR8TS , STR8TS 6X6 , DOMINO DICE , PUZZLE DICE,
CAVEMAN TEST, 1 TO 25, SUDOKU+STR8TS, ZARTE, ABSORB WATER, YOU, TIME SHEET (PHOTO VERIFIED),Office Alarm, Travel weather, dock clock,
01-20-2011, 01:39 PM
#8
Joined: Jan 2011
Location: UK
Posts: 195
I think you have to consider the possibility that your Apps just do not appeal to Apple reviewers.

Waiting times for reviews and approval seem to vary wildly from hours to weeks, and I have a hunch that Apple do some kind of internal prioritization of Apps to favor those more likely to stand out from the crowd (be it a unique genre or gameplay style, or because of exceptional graphics, or something else which sets it apart)

Nothing is guaranteed in any market, but do not forget the flip side of the coin:
anything can be sold for a price, but it must be packaged correctly and marketed to the right people

Our company is relatively new into the iOS and mobile markets, so I honestly could not make any realistic recommendations to you.
Best of luck
01-20-2011, 03:06 PM
#9
It's incredibly frustrating when you can't seem to get a straight answer. We had a similar problem with our photo editing app to the point that we finally gave up on the project and moved on. It hurt, it wasted a lot of time, but sometimes you just can't fight city hall.
01-20-2011, 11:11 PM
#10
Joined: Jul 2009
Location: Victoria BC
Posts: 1,170
[QUOTE=nvx;1549153]I think you have to consider the possibility that your Apps just do not appeal to Apple reviewers.

Waiting times for reviews and approval seem to vary wildly from hours to weeks, and I have a hunch that Apple do some kind of internal prioritization of Apps to favor those more likely to stand out from the crowd (be it a unique genre or gameplay style, or because of exceptional graphics, or something else which sets it apart)


I hate boring so I am quite sure the reviewers had some interest at looking at YOU

Here is a video from the version apple took off the store we have since built 3 more versions.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVX7zPWjNrM

STR8TS , STR8TS 6X6 , DOMINO DICE , PUZZLE DICE,
CAVEMAN TEST, 1 TO 25, SUDOKU+STR8TS, ZARTE, ABSORB WATER, YOU, TIME SHEET (PHOTO VERIFIED),Office Alarm, Travel weather, dock clock,

Last edited by Syndicated Puzzles; 01-21-2011 at 01:08 AM.