I’m sure there’s some sex in there…
If you’re not a developer or a Mac diehard you may not have heard of the ongoing Daily Dash Soap - so let me give you the lowdown:
Apple has a problem with its App Stores; they are over-crowded with dead, scamming and crappy apps.
It is Apple’s fault. Period.
But they are finally starting to acknowledge it and they are finally starting to do something about it.
I’ve recently received lots of emails regarding my older iOS apps because Apple decided to add new rules so that they can get rid of them or get me to update them.
Since there is no money left in writing apps for the App Stores - unless you develop games designed to lure people into spending lots more later - I will not update them. And all my bigger Mac apps are sold outside the Mac App Store as well as many, many other developers’ who are doing exactly the same.
So this will probably really tidy up Apple’s mess a little bit; which is good for everyone: customers, developers, and Apple.
But there is a bigger issue, a bigger problem - and this is the scammers and the scam apps.
In a system where only those at the top can make big bucks you have to get to the top; it is called capitalism.
In a capitalistic system you might actually get lucky if you invent, design, or create something that people actually want, love, and pay for because the timing is right. Sometimes you really have a great product but often it is simply because you’re marketing is better - even when your product is inferior.
There is a reason why we all ended up with VHS :-)
And the lines between better marketing and cheating are fine; especially when your livelihood depends on getting to the top because you have to pay salaries, mortgages, new Macs - lots of new Macs - and all the other things we all have to pay for.
In a global system, rushing to the top, those lines ends up being erased very quickly as you have to compete with scam artists from all over the world.
There are over 200 crappy Bean clones on the Mac App Store alone and every single day a new one gets approved by Apple.
I used to be able to pay my rent with Write alone and in the first year of the Mac App Store I earned more money with this single app alone than with all my other apps combined all the years before. In the second year of the Mac App Store all that was left to do was to cry all day long.
On the iOS App Store you can add some zeros to those numbers.
So it is a good thing that Apple is finally starting to do something about it but…
But being Apple, as we (not only the developers but ask those million iPhone 6 owners that had to pay hundreds of bucks for Apple’s mistake) all know and love-hate - they once again shoot themselves in the foot, trying to deal with their own mistakes from the past.
It just works ™ - not :-(
There are not many real independent developers left that are not backed by funded money, big corporations, or have to work for other companies in order to keep their pet projects alive in such a tight capitalistic eco system.
Bogdan Popsecu (Kapeli Software) is one of those unicorns; not because his marketing is better but solely for the reason that he created a product, an application that people actually need, use, and love.
Last week Apple removed his application from the Mac and the iOS Store and terminated his developer account.
Without warning, mind you!
No email, no call, no nothing. Imagine if someone would have done this to Apple…
We have updated the App Store review guidelines to recommend against creating developer accounts for your sketchy cousin.
— Developer Center (@appledevcenter) October 11, 2016
As it turns out, Bogdan paid for someone else’s Developer Membership with his credit card and gifted his old Apple hardware to that person.
That person with her own Apple Developer Account under her own name started scamming; meaning she faked reviews etc.
We - the viewers and readers of the Daily Dash Soap - can’t know for how long that has been going on, what - if at all - Apple did about it all those years. What we know is that Bogdan’s membership was terminated as he tried to move his apps from a ’simple’ membership to a business membership.
Getting your account suspended, canceled, terminated by Apple is nothing unusual - but usually no one hears or cares about it because it happens to developers with smaller apps, or scammers.
This time it happened to an application probably 80 to 90 percent of all iOS, Mac, and web developers out there use; including Apple’s own engineers.
So the ‘press’ got wind of it and the moment John Gruber writes about it Apple either has a new problem or a few billion more in the bank account; overseas, of course.
This recording of the last call between Bogdan and Apple could (and should) be used as a prime example for lawyers, spin doctors and all those uncountable people in public relations.
The first rule of - well, everything - don’t admit to any wrong-doing. Then find the weakest spot and repeat it, repeat it, and repeat it.
They were linked. We did nothing wrong. We did not have sexual relations with that woman…
If I were in his (Bogdan’s) shoes, I would call it a day. I would publish the iOS version on GitHub and would migrate everyone’s Mac licenses from the Mac App Store to a ‘free’ one.
Yes, it is a good thing that Apple is actively doing something about those assholey scammers. Yes, they have the right to suspend, cancel, and even terminate developer memberships if needed.
But here’s the thing: Ask developers how Apple handles (or at least used to handle) complaints:
If it were another app from another developer, Apple would give a damn. If Gruber, The Verge, and all those others hadn’t reported it, Apple wouldn’t give a damn.
But they did and so Apple was forced to save face.
And in a system designed to only allows for winners the moment you get forced into doing something you don’t want to do because it was your fault to begin with - what do you do?
Yes, you force someone else into doing something he doesn’t want to do; like forcing someone into admitting publicly that they are to blame so you (Apple) appear so generous when reinstating their membership.
So Apple, you did not send out a single email to a developer account before ruining their business because those accounts were linked?
Were they linked before or after your legal department had to find the wording?
Did you find a single scam (like a fake review) connected to his account?
Did your representative not tell Bogdan that you would reinstate his membership when he writes a blog post telling /admitting what had happened?
This is unfortunately a soap opera where no one wins in the end.
We all need a reliable partner that stands up to his promises. And you’ve once again publicly showed to all of us that you’re clearly not that partner. Many of us were perfectly capable of earning our living without you before the App Stores and we will be able to continue to do so without you in the future.
Bogdan didn’t fuck it up. Even the person actually doing the scamming didn’t fuck it up. The only entity that fucked up is you and it had nothing to do with fake reviews, memberships, or missed emails.
You missed an opportunity to make it right and I really hoped that this time - besides finally trying to get your shit in order regarding the App Stores and getting rid of those pesky scammers - you would finally get rid of your ‘we give a damn’ attitude as well.
To be honest, personally I gave up on you years ago and you yourself just added a lot of other developers to that list.
In the end, we will all lose in one or the other way because of this…