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Apple Has Removed Dash from the App Store (kapeli.com)
1036 points by ingve on Oct 5, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 470 comments

I am annoyed by something else: today Apple stepped on the wrong toe, the community will cry foul and someone from Apple who reads HN will rush to salvage the situation. We have seen this pattern before (usually but not exclusively with Apple). But what about the thousands of small and nameless developers that were crushed by some script bug or killed by operator misclick? Who will ever help them?

Human support is supposed to help them.

What I found unacceptable is "We are banning you and we won't tell you anything about it". This pattern is extremely common. And extremely frustrating. You can't put one in jail without telling why (and right to defend). In many developed countries you can't even fire a worker without a solid reason. It should be prohibited for companies to halt service someone without providing a reasonable explanation.

I am banned from being an Amazon marketplace seller. I have no idea why. They say there is no way to learn more, and it's for life. I've never even sold anything there.

My wife was banned a bit before more. She sold one textbook and fulfilled the transaction perfectly. She found out she was banned when they said they were keeping her money for 45 days, and they would be kind enough to release it to her if the buyer confirmed receipt of the book (they did, and she did get her money eventually).

Based on the mail that was arriving, we _think_ that someone who lived at our apartment before us was doing something shady. Amazon doesn't care though.

This kind of thing is why it's incredibly frustrating that people blithely let a few companies control most commerce.

I wonder if that attitude is reflective of simply how tech companies whitelist and blacklist stuff for many things. Once, my organization's email server was considered a spammer because it had a new IP address that apparently was part of a blacklisted IP block. It took us so long to get everything sorted out and get ourselves off of all the blacklists.

Admittedly, we at least had recourse, while you don't for whatever reason, in the event that you one day do want to become a marketplace seller. My point is that it's really easy to get blacklisted. Perhaps it's because they prefer to have some false positives, rather than deal with real bad actors. Just a conjecture.

You really should be able to sue them for cheap. Like filing it by yourself, without any lawyer, at a small claims or conciliation court (<$5000). There should be a guide explaining how to do that and the justice ministry needs to support that guide. Lawyers will not come up with such things. E.g. http://hirealawyer.findlaw.com/do-you-need-a-lawyer/before-y...

Might be $500 max for the court fees.

Then they eventually have to explain it and litigate with you. And eventually revise their ridiculous CS practices.

Thanks for the comment. I might even pursue that if I still cared but I left the country which makes that option substantially more inconvenient.

Ugg, I meant "a bit before _me_". Not "more". too late to edit though.

>It should be prohibited for companies to halt service someone without providing a reasonable explanation.

By US standards, that would require an absurd level of legislative and/or judicial overreach. I don't think I'd even want to do business in that kind of regulatory climate.

This is very true. However, I wonder if we as engineers and the like can provide a better TLDR ratings guide for marketplaces. Kinda like https://tosdr.org/ or a BBB that works... Then we as engineers refuse to build apps for marketplaces below some kind of score.

Or does it even matter if the Apple App store is the only marketplace of its kind?

If people are making money on a platform, people will develop for it regardless of these issues. Unfortunate reality.

Democracy only works in a growing economy.

Why is this a meme? Is there any evidence that this is true?

Self reply- it appears that Sam Altman made this assertion in a recent New Yorker article as well as a blog post. I think the observation of low growth is good, but the assertion that democracy does t work without a economic growth is less persuasive. All forms of progress need not be measured by GDP. In fact, many issues indicative of social progress have difficult to measure economic impact or even potentially negative economic impact with good social benefits.

On a related note, as a small startup I am looking for some TOS generator that I - the single developer - could also understand and that will be clear and fair to my users. Any advice?

Iubenda,https://www.iubenda.com/en, has worked well for us.

Excellent question. I know of no answer, but maybe part of the issue of terrible TOS's is lack of resources to write good ones?

On the contrary, that's exactly the environment I'd want to do biz in. Some kind of pro-small biz small claims legislation.

An environment where anyone you provide services to can take you to court because they don't find your explanation "reasonable"?

Any sufficiently dominant monopoly is indistinguishable from a government.

So, choose your poison. We can govern them, or they can govern us.

Well, even in US there are antitrust laws, right?

How could that be worse than doing business in an environment of dominant platforms that will arbitrarily shut you down whenever the business they lose to a false positive (i.e. none, because the business just moves to the next guy) is cheaper than the investigation that would avoid the false positive?

Electricity providers, water providers, road maintanance, phone systems, etc... Infrastructure everywhere is either in public hands or tightly regulated. Infrastructure provision is simply not a problem for which unregulated markets are a good solution, for fairly obvious reasons.

Sooner or later the IT infrastructure companies will need to be regulated like infrastructure providers.

The reason these things are regulated is because they are fundamentally limited by and tied to land property/ownership laws and there is no way to efficiently reach a consensus without violating them.

IT infrastructure has nothing in common with this aside from ISP.

They are mainly regulated because they naturally form into monopolies, just like the large internet services.

Large internet services do not form natural monopoplies. Amazon has New egg, ebay, walmart, plus a million new ones trying to overthrow them. The local cable company only has the local Phone company.

For Amazon this might just about be true, however, there are strong platform effects. Amazon is growing faster than the market. There is a fairly obvious argument to make for why its a natural monopoly: If its the first place buyers go to look for stuff, it's the first place sellers go for stuff. If it's the place where all the sellers are, it's the place buyers go to look first.

Really, given that this is a market that is growing double digits by year, the amount by which amazon dominates it is shocking.

And that is in a market that is still growing rapidly. For Facebook/Whatsapp this is even more obviously not true. Facebook even failed to leverage its social network monopoly to establish its messenger against insurgents, simply because they were a bit late.

That might look the way in theory, but it is not so in practice. There will never be another Google, or another Facebook, or another Amazon - efficiency based on scale and network effect mean they are entrenched as monopolies for ever, too big to fail.

Which is why Facebook replaced MySpace and Google replaced Yahoo and Altavista and so on.

The idea that economies of scale make it impossible for a company to never face competition is ridiculous. The only thing that can do that is govenment protectionism.

Along with economies of scale is the opposite effect: the inefficiency of bureaucracy and having competing interests between business units.

Being large isn't the magical unicorn you think.

Ten years ago you could be telling the same story about Yahoo and Microsoft and look at them now.

Yahoo was in a completely nascent unsettled market, and Microsoft didn't go anywhere. Microsofts net revenue and net income are large than Alphabets/Googles.

Except apple is not society. It is not democracy. It's a for profit company, and can do whatever it wants. It is in no way entitled to be fair.

If you don't want it to behave this way, as a consumer or developer, you just have to choose to not deal with it. But you don't want to, because it makes you money and makes you life more comfortable in some way.

What it means is that you value money/confort more than been respected by this company. Accept this is what you choose and don't bitch about it, this is dishonest. You can't have it both way.

Society can decide what behavior is allowed and what isn't. Just because a company is a company doesn't mean it's out of reach of judicial rules.

A company can't dump chemicals in any river without oversight; it could be compelled to accept an appeals process when terminating a contract with a developer.

These aren't even in the same league of similarity. Dumping chemicals harms society -- even those who are not participating in a particular market. Apple dumping a dev? Not even remotely close. A company should have the right to terminate a business arrangement provided the terms of the contract governing such an arrangement are upheld.

Imagine it this way: you are a contract developer, should you have no right to terminate a contract with a client under the terms of the agreement? Almost every contract I'be ever signed as a developer has some form of "either party can terminate this agree with <some days> notice."

From what I am reading here, we want to hold Apple to different rules than the ones we ourselves routinely follow?

I get it: Apple should give the guy an explanation. However making laws to require it? That's absurd. Should there be a law that when a girl (or guy) doesn't accept a dinner invitation that they provide a valid reason? That's really what this comes down to. And no, Apple isn't a monopoly. This company can still sell their products, just not at that particular store.

I feel bad for the situation, but extending government power into private business relationships is a bad idea. Contract law already covers this.

Society isn't harmed by this company not being able to sell on the App Store. This isn't dumping chemicals into rivers or denying service based on skin color.

If the developer was wronged, he could file a lawsuit. However given that the contracts governing the relationship were known in advance, the situation is just the realization of the risks inherent in doing business.

> the situation is just the realization of the risks inherent in doing business.

Precisely. You signed the contract. You could have not done so, but you wanted the money. And you wanted it to come from this source, because this source fits some of your needs. So you decided it was worth putting your life into their hands, and sometime, you loose. It sucks, but you are half responsible.

But what apple is doing is not currently illegal. Just highly disrespectful.

Now we can act as a society to make it illegal, but this won't happen.

>Now we can act as a society to make it illegal, but this won't happen.

Certainly not if everyone heeds your advice to "Accept this is what you choose and don't bitch about it". Bitching about stuff is a necessary part of the democratic process.

No, debating, finding solution and acting is part of the democratic process. Bitching is just acting like the victim you aren't, since it's just the consequence of your choices. There will always be apple like players. Either you do something about it, or you don't.

"Bitching" is just your arbitrary choice of words for something that is a completely normal part of debating the issue.

Making this illegal is a dangerous slippery slope. It could end up like France where firing an employee can be a multi year process and the result-- a shortage of permanent contract employment because employers fear being stuck with an employee forever.

Making this illegal would result in an arduous approval process just to join a marketplace. Additionally it could result in bad actors being unable to be expelled from a market while the legal process unfolds. That could result in a net loss to consumers. Imagine a malware developer -- Apple can't evict them quickly because they'd have to perform extra legal investigation so they wouldn't get in trouble for acting too quickly.

What you are saying is "to avoid making it inconvenient for apple, we shall let them the right do juge people guilty unless proven innocent, and not give any feedback about it".

There is a reason we don't accept that for our law system. We currently accept that from companies, and I don't think it's a good idea.

But don't get me wrong. I don't think going legal is the right way to go. I think either you accept it, and enjoy the benefits of playing with apple and stop complaining, or you don't accept it, complain AND follow the complaining with action such as putting your business elsewhere.

Any unavoidable monopoly is indistinguishable from a government. Whether Apple has reached that point is obviously debatable -- I think most people would say 'No.' But still: their goal is to be the only game in town, and if they reach that goal, we will have to change the rules.

When a corporation behaves this way, it needs to hurt.

How should the law define "reasonable explanation?" In the US that kind of thing is litigated, which small companies can't afford.

Such protections exist for employees, involve lots of lawyers and complexity, and sometimes screw companies and sometimes screw employees and sometimes screw both (though they do also fill an important need). But the economic cost of compliance and management of these rules is quite high, and there are a lot more employees than software developers by several orders of magnitude.

A law could be written so it only applies to larger companies. Those companies both have greater leverage/power over consumers and small businesses (making the regulation more important), and have more resources to handle the overhead. I believe some existing regulations in the US already have an annual revenue threshold before they kick in.

I also see the need for a company to be able to close an account for truly fraudulent activity and not disclose how they caught the misconduct.

I'm in no way implying that such activity happened in this case, just that the policy makes sense.

An appeal process should be in place though.

They don't need to disclose how they caught it, just what said misconduct was - going "yeah we're closing your account due to misconduct" is like fining someone for no reason. It'd be a violation of human rights if that happened, and in this particular case, it's potentially ruining someone financially.

It's not really - it's more akin to closing someone's bank account and saying "we're closing your account for misconduct" which does happen.

Not disclosing the details for the reason could prevent a malicious actor to learn and improve their strategies.

Except false positives always happen, and when you have such a policy, innocent people are caught in the middle and face an accusation of vaguely defined misconduct with no details to use to try and appeal the incorrect accusation, because they don't even know what they're being accused of.

> You can't put one in jail without telling why

Yes you can (if you're Goldman & Sachs). It's called "contempt of the court". See the Martin Armstrong case. There are others.

>>It should be prohibited for companies to halt service someone without providing a reasonable explanation.

What a terrible idea.

It's already required in some industries, e.g. those that extend credit.


Is it? I don't think the idea is that they can't stop service for whatever reason, but that they have to provide a reason. On the other hand, I guess it doesn't have any teeth if they can just say, "Because you smell funny plus it's Tuesday..."

What about price discrimination? Should that be legal or illegal?

Do you mean the kind where my wedding cake costs twice as much because I'm gay or the kind where my car insurance costs twice as much because I'm a serial car wrecker?

What about the case where your car insurance costs twice as much because some of your neighbours are serial car wreckers?

Uhm, that's EXACTLY how insurance policies are calculated..

Local insurance claims gears the local premiums, obviously.

If you live in the city with the worst drivers in the country, your premiums will be high.

well depending on the service you are not allowed to halt that service for various reasons - for example you can't halt or refuse to provide service in just about anything for reasons of race in countries whose legal systems I am familiar with, therefore there is some requirement to provide a reasonable explanation for refusal of service in almost any business - it just so happens that an app store type business seems different enough that it does not have to provide the same level of explanation.

They did provide a reason - fraudulent conduct. Are other business required to provide more detail?

No, I was replying specifically to the parent comment that said it was a terrible idea that a reasonable explanation be provided. Although, depending on the relevant legal system, just specifying fraudulent conduct without providing a lot more detail would be in itself problematic.

Take this question for what it is-- I'm not blaming the victim here-- but how much responsibility do small and nameless developers bear for making a deal with the devil to begin with? Don't they go into this knowing that Apple can at any time capriciously cut them off from the sole means of distribution of their product at will?

I get that there is money to be made on the iOS app store-- but why is there a willingness to set up shop in a town where if one of the local officials doesn't like you-- for any reason-- he or she can effectively confiscate your hard-made product so you can't sell it anywhere else and kick you outside the walls?

You act like there's a choice -- customers get apps through the app store, so that's where developers have to be if they want to eat.

The choice is that if you're going to develop software for sale to the public, you can choose to develop software for sale in another market which is not so restrictive and oppressive. Other platforms and marketplaces exist, and money can be made there. To contemplate the actual possibility of sweating for years building a business, slaving over software, creating marketing campaigns, and a brand and fighting to beat out the competition, all while knowing that at any point for any reason Apple may decide to pull the plug and leave me with absolutely nothing-- no sellable product and no other avenue to sell it-- sounds like a pretty obvious choice: Don't ever get in business under circumstances like that unless there truly is no other choice.

Stories like this from Dash (and others) is a real-living and breathing worst-case scenario... it makes the choice to not participate in this marketplace all the more obvious to me.

"The choice is that if you're going to develop software for sale to the public, you can choose to develop software for sale in another market which is not so restrictive and oppressive."

The smartphone 'market' is an oligarchy, ergo, it's not really a free market, and those kinds of principled positions just don't hold.

It's pretty reasonable to argue that Apple's arbitrary control of the AppStore is an anti-competitive practice.

If the market were commoditized, like, the choice you have for where you want to 'eat lunch' or 'buy a car' - it would be different.

Just goes to show that selling App's in a walled ecosystem is NOT the exact same as building a software business. You lose so much control over your product, you essentially become commission-only contract software developers. Publishers have been pushing for this kind of control for a long time.

You trade that loss of control for the convenience of not having to distribute/host/manage money or returns/etc.

People work and go into business and otherwise partner with people who can capriciously screw them over all the time, that's how businesses work. You can put a certain amount of things in contracts and internal procedures but ultimately you need to trust your partners/boss/employees not to screw you over. The App Store is no different and many people build their businesses around it because it is a huge market and Apple has built up a lot of trust that mistakes (presumably like this) are corrected and AFAIK they do not go around wantonly destroying people's businesses.

Can we drop the whole "need to eat" language when talking about software development? We're talking about people with abundant opportunity to make tons of money. Tugging on the heartstrings with "they need to eat" or "feed their families" is preposterously over the top rhetoric.

I can't speak for you, but my family needs to eat.

Can I choose my opportunities? To some extent.

Yes of course, your family needs to eat and you need to eat. If you're most concerned with just making enough money to eat, you have a huge number of jobs available. If your app's failure vs. success is the difference between eating and not eating, you've made that decision consciously, knowing that you (necessarily) have the skills to get other jobs without such dire consequences.

The point I was making is that this rhetorical device of "I need to eat" is used way too often as a euphemism for "I want to make a lot of money". It's used that way because the former statement elicits sympathy and the latter statement attracts derision.

In the context of the original comment, the "need to eat" phrase was used in the context of an app developer. You don't create an app on the app store as a last ditch attempt to feed your family. You do it to make money, and you do it knowing the risk that it won't be successful and you won't make any money. Apple's inscrutable opaque approval process is another annoying risk on top of that, but whether you're going to eat shouldn't be a part of the equation here.

I was going to say something clever and snarky here, but then I realized that I am an "at will" employee for a single company that could ruin me financially with one arbitrary decision, and they would have no obligation whatsoever to justify it to me in any way.

At least Apple only takes ~1/3 of the value of the work you put into in the App Store.

It is not the case that all developers have easy access to abundant income. It is at least as wrong to assume that is true as to assume that they are living hand to mouth.

For those developers, it makes even less sense to pony up for a Macbook and an Apple Developer license and spend all their time on an app that's going into someone else's environment - especially someone who has a history of treating developers on their platform as second-class citizens.

They're told they'll make money. That is not only Apple's rhetoric but the press's.

It is fairly easy to assume that there are other routes to food than publishing apps in Apple's App Store. No one is guaranteed abundant income in general, never mind via some third-party business.

If a particular practice is acceptable for Apple, then it is presumptively okay for other software companies to do, too. And conversely, if everyone in the market for software-development labor wouldn't be allowed to do something, we shouldn't allow Apple to do it, either.

If a particular bit of conduct would be a poor idea if everyone were to do it, that's a pretty good idea it shouldn't be allowed at all.

Sorry, I don't understand how your conversation is relevant to the conversation.

Yes, developers have multiple opportunities, but often they don't choose what actually works. I did many things over my career, the only one that was truly successful financially was in a closed, proprietary environment. My open-source projects are all semi-failures. So where I spend my time is not my choice, it's my customers'.

There is a choice - and it is the right choice. Just make your software browser-based.

That's not a choice. Browser technology is still a long way from native performance.

So much this. There are also weird quirks to deal with when dealing with browsers vs. native. On iOS, native scrolling 'just works,' but within our app (Cordova-based) it took a bunch of hand-holding to make it a decent experience.'

One example, on iOS WebKit if you flick to scroll, and then "click" (touch) on the screen while the scroll animation is still running, the click event will report a position on the webpage that was as if the scroll had never happened (e.g. you had clicked on the same place on the screen without having scrolled in the first place).

That is Apple's fault, not the web's or browsers' in general.

Well, then all browser vendors are to blame, because the experience with Apple browsers is no better or worse than any other browser for serious web-based apps.

That may be true for 3D games. But for things like Dash, a documentation standard, I doubt it matters.

It's true for a lot of applications other than gaming.

The whole point of Dash was to make documentation offline.

When people say "there is no choice" it usually means there is a choice. A better way to have the discussion is to avoid the binary framing and talk about the tradeoffs.

Here is one key tradeoff I see: the App Store brings more visibility in exchange for a cost. This situation accentuates another downside: plug-pulling for intentional or unintentional reasons.

FWIW, I use plenty of apps not on the app store.

"If you run to the press and trash us, it never helps."

The thing the pisses me of about these cases is this:

"I called them again and they said they can’t provide more information."

They terminate your account and then they even refuse to tell you why. A basic human thing, a chance to fix the issue, but no. Go f* yourself from Apple and that's it.

What's enraging is that you pay $100/year for that abusive treatment.

What's enraging is you pay 30% of your sales for that abusive treatment.

In their eyes, it's more like "we give you 70% of OUR sells in OUR platform, to OUR captive customers, they just happen to buy your App but they will buy something else if we want to ban you..."

It's a matter of perspective. In their eyes, they are being incredibly generous with that deal.

I own an app that pays social media celebrities to respond to fans, we pay them 60% of our profits. Apple broke their own app store rules stating we would be disqualified from IAP and forced us to use it. So after we pay out our partners of which our entire app exists, Apple are making 3x more money than we do from our own app. And take 2 months to pay us. Oh, and provide no transaction id's for unique customers so if one of them requests a refund or does a chargeback we have no way of tracking it back to his account. To say there's a culture of hatred towards Apple in our team is an understatement.

are you the guys who pay celebs to advertise that random social media app on their snapchat/instagram with taglines like "more on [social media app i've never heard of and a chance to talk to me"? really amusing tactics that abuse the core fanbase's rabid enthusiasm for content from their favorite personalities. i never considered that the appstore is probably taking a lot of money from you too

Eh, without the apps the phone wouldn't sell in those numbers. In their eyes they are dependent on the devs.

That may be true at first, but when they have a huge part of the market... they could argue: "without our customers, you wouldn't have that many users". Kind of like a chicken and egg situation. When they already have such a large slice of the pie, they start to care mostly about the bigger app developers, and the small ones are just something they need to show big numbers, but they are not that important anymore...

(Just to be clear: It's not that I think they are not important, it's what I perceive as their attitude when things like this happen)

They are dependent on developers as a whole, but not on any individual developers (with perhaps a few exceptions).

The iphone sold in those numbers even before there was an App Store.

No, it really didn't. The first iPhone was 2G and it was a year before the app store was available.


You pay a massive markup on dated technology for that abusive treatment.

$100/year? What if you have say a company of 5 people whose salaries get paid by the virtue of your app. One noreply email from Apple and Google and their jobs and your $1m/yr company is over? This has only become possible with the invention of curated app stores. You cannot even be fired from a normal job in the US instantly by a noreply email.

It's extreme but it's not entirely new. A new version of an operating system or Internet service you depend on could make your app impossible or infeasible.

True, but something changing and your app not running, is different than them just blocking you from using it at all.

You can fix an app if the platform changes, but you can't put an app on a platform if the platform won't let you.

For what it's worth, both Amazon and Google can be the same way. (I've had to deal with such from both of them before.)

That said, it's not always that way with them, and I suspect Apple is similar. We always hear about the rough encounters, but few people write about "I just had this issue, and it got cleared up immediately. The end."

You have other means to distribute your app w/Android, including self-distribution. It's an uphill climb to be sure, but there are apps who do that. Correct me if I'm wrong, but iOS doesn't offer that opportunity as sideloading and non-Apple markets are not possible unless you jailbreak your device

To clarify, I didn't mean pulling the app, or anything app-related at all. I just meant Amazon and Google both can have such Kafka-esque "you're not allowed to appeal" responses to issues. I've personally experienced it with Amazon, and have read about it with Google.

I don't know how much I should believe you since a comment above you said "(I've had to deal with such from both of them before.)" and now you say you have read about it with Google.

Ha. Sorry, it was a long day at work today... Forgot about the Apps For Business (or whatever they've changed the name to) issues I had back in the day when I had to set it up for the store I work at. Not nearly as mind-bogglingly frustrating an experience as my most recent Amazon issue, which I detailed in another comment of mine in this thread somewhere.

Can you name a single Android app that has even made 100k distributed via side loading? I can't.

Firefox for Android & Yandex.Mail on Yandex.Store. Here you go three examples.

Humble Bundle hosts mobile bundles frequently (Android only). Although they are not as successful or popular as HB's PC games bundles, they certainly bring decent level of exposure and revenue to game developers outside the play store bubble. They're only possible because of side-loading.

I don't know the actual numbers, but I suspect Amazon's non Play Store apps are doing pretty decently.

Amazon's app store maybe?

Out of the frying pan - into another frying pan!

Yah so you trade Google garden for amazon garden. Not sure what that helped.

Betfair app


Depends how to define 'Sideloading'.

With a free Apple developer account you can build an app via Xcode onto your device. These will only be signed for 90 days, but it's something.

That's very common with anything where a company claims fraud is suspected, because they argue that sharing any details will allow scammers and people doing fraudulent activity to figure out ways to game the system.

Google does the same thing when they kill your AdSense account for "invalid click activity" right before you're about to get a big payout. Amazon does the same thing with Amazon Payments. No explanation, no recourse. Infuriating.

For seller accounts, Amazon provides tons of indicators that let you know you are about to be shut down. After being shut down, you can fix the problem, prove that you fixed it and they may let you sell again on their platform. You should never be faced to a wall, unless you know you cheated the system someway.

That's not quite right. I've been selling on Amazon for 6+ years and have lost selling privileges a few times (every time due to an issue with our order management software). Sometimes dealing with it was as you described. But I can state factually that they don't always indicate that you're about to be shut down, nor do they always make it remotely easy to get back on or even figure out why you were shut down.

For instance, I went through quite a Kafka-esque nightmare just a few months ago. Something got messed up with our order software so that when we shipped something it wasn't marked as shipped and the tracking info was not uploaded to Amazon for a few days during a busy season. Customers weren't complaining since they were getting their stuff. Amazon sent a warning that our late shipment rate was too high just an hour or so before they sent an notification saying we lost selling privileges. I immediately figured out what went wrong. I got the order software working right again, and I manually marked all the "unshipped"-but-actually-shipped orders as shipped and added the tracking. I wrote to Seller Performance about this, exactly as they instruct you to. I explained what happened, showed them how I fixed it, and explained how we'd ensure it didn't happen again. Their response was simply that our late shipment rate was too high and that my account was suspended as a result. I sent the same info I had sent, and this time included full tracking info for all of the affected orders (and by this time most of them had already been delivered). I received the same response as before. I tried doing their "Contact Us" methods, but no one would respond to my messages or talk to me on the phone, since the account was suspended. All anyone would say is that I need to contact Seller Performance to attempt to get back on. Finally, after several emails to Seller Performance about this, where I basically explained the situation and how I fixed it and how all the supposedly-unshipped orders were actually fine or already delivered, but just phrasing it slightly differently each time, I was unceremoniously let back on, more than a week later. I asked very politely why it took me so many attempts to get back on, even though I just told them the same thing each time, and they said they could not discuss it, and that I may have my account suspended (!) if I contacted them again about this.

So maybe you've had an experience having your account suspended on Amazon that went smoothly, but that's definitely not how it always is.

Based on your side of the story it sounds pretty shady. Total speculation: maybe someone got a ticket assigned to them and slacked off, closing it over and over with a canned response. A rep can probably watch a lot of YouTube if they do that to most of their tickets. Then when you'd reopened it by replying enough times to make them worried about their manager noticing they fixed it quietly and closed it. Asking why it took so long spooked them bad enough to threaten you for asking questions about their service/response which I imagine is prohibited unless the customer is being hostile.

measured on performance/risk on the Seller Performance and no one wanted to take a chance on you?

i'm just guessing here.

Fair to guess, but I doubt that's it. The store I work for has been selling on there for almost a decade (it was selling since before I was hired), steadily, with very high customer feedback.

I just have a standard Amazon Payments account I used maybe once or twice. I set it up to use Kickstarter back when they only supported Amazon Payments. Then they started using Experian for identity verification and because I had no credit history, I didn't exist in Experian's system and they disabled my account and requested that I submit various identity documents to reenable it. Every time I tried to do so, I would hit an error saying I couldn't submit my ID because my identity couldn't be verified.

After getting frustrated with the absurdity of that situation, I contacted support and they said it was a mistake and they reset my account and to try again. I did. Same errors. Then support told me that if I didn't submit ID documents within a certain number of days, my account would be permanently closed. I responded saying I had been trying to do so repeatedly over multiple periods of time and constantly got locked out and prevented from continuing every time I tried. No reply. Then a final announcement my account was permanently banned.

In the year since, I've contacted them sporadically trying to see if they've changed their policy or will reconsider, and just get blanket statements about my account being closed and nothing they can do. The last time I did this, they got fairly aggressive and said they could not and would not be reinstating my account, would not tell me why, and would not respond to any further inquiries from me.

No. I sold a bunch of stuff on Amazon. Then one day a lens I sold arrived three days late. The buyer complained. Amazon blocked my account from seeking. I appealed, said I was willing to be FBA only (Fulfilled by...). "After a review we have determined that your seller account will remain permanently closed". One complaint on thirty things sold.

> Google does the same thing when they kill your AdSense account for "invalid click activity" right before you're about to get a big payout. Amazon does the same thing with Amazon Payments. No explanation, no recourse. Infuriating.

And we still continue to use their service lika a b*ch we are :( They have no incentive to change, because no one else cares.

They could at least say what you just said, right? At least it's an explanation for why they can't say more.

Or it could just mean that the person they talked to couldn't see any other information beyond what had already been communicated to the developer (terminated for fraudulent activity). Assuming this was human error on the part of Apple this would make sense, because there was no actual fraudulent activity and so no info would be available beyond the fact that someone flagged the account as such.

>Or it could just mean that the person they talked to couldn't see any other information beyond what had already been communicated to the developer

Which is, in and of itself, a problem.

It's understandable that the information might not be immediately on hand, but then the correct response would be to direct the caller to someone who can help. Otherwise, yes, it does come off as a big "fuck you".

Why are you assuming there's anyone who could help? Machine learning is used heavily in anti-fraud systems. Machine learning is also relatively opaque—a spam filter can't be prodded to "explain its thinking." I suspect there's frequently not a single human being in the company who could pull up the raw score vector fed to their anti-fraud model and use it to tell you what exactly made you look bad.

So instead of fobbing him off they should have said "sorry, on the help desk we can't see that information, I'm escalating this issue to X who will contact you with more information in Y days"

That isn't how you deal with fraudsters. You tell them nothing, complete stonewall. Anything you say about why they were flagged will assist them in not getting flagged next time, so you tell them nothing. Some non-zero percent of time you will flag the wrong person and start a social media shit storm but that's just the cost of doing business.

That seems stupid- if they really thought the person was a fraudsters, Apple could ask for more information to investigate, they could get additional contact and/or identity information from the suspected fraudsters, and after investigating, if it turned out it was indeed fraud, they would have more data to report to authorities and make it easier to stop the fraud. But instead, Apple takes the lazy approach.

They do not want to investigate. They do not care about pursuing matters with the authorities (unless there is major carnage). They just want to keep involvement low, close the case as quick as possible and move on. Fraud mitigation is a cost center.

Yes, customer service is a cost center- and cutting corners on the said customer service is exactly what previous commenters were complaining about- app store developers pay Apple n extraordinary amount of money, they should get better customer service in return.

I think maybe you're operating under a wrong idea here. iOS developers are not customers. They are not treated as customers nor considered as customers.

There really is no analogue to the relationship Apple has with iOS developers except perhaps, "Extremely bad contracting relationship." Apple has a lock on the perception that you need to publish on their platform to be serious about mobile dev. As such, they don't need to treat developers well unless there are very large corporate relationships to maintain (and while I assure you such things are in play, sadly I'd be in very big trouble for getting into specifics on any of them).

Apple's model is to convince developers that they're obligated to prop Apple's platform. It is not the stunning core iOS experience that drives people to the platform, nor the beautiful default app toolkit. It's the sweat and prowess of its developer community, and yet the power of the relationship is completely inverted.

While Google can be a faceless cancelmachine, my experience shipping a few apps now is that Google is actually really responsive once you get to the stage where you have a direct rep. Getting Apple to respond to my needs historically has been Game of Thrones level politics and a function of how connected our startup funding network was.

This is an excellent reason for developing on an open platform, such as web.

Yes, perhaps 'partner' would be a better term... but I am not operating under the wrong idea... I am fully aware of Apples abusive relationship with developers, and that is why I have stayed away from their platform.

iOS developers are not customers.

$100/year says you're wrong.

I certainly hope people are moving off that abusive platform. But that doesn't make the relationship a customer relationship.

If I pay you money, I'm your customer. It really is that simple.

So I'm a customer of the DPT when I get a parking ticket?

Sigh. Let's try to confine the discussion to voluntary business relationships, shall we?

Sigh, let's remind ourselves that businesses misrepresenting themselses do not deserve special air cover. I'm not sure what you're hoping to gain by pretending this is a customer relationship and you can somehow coerce Apple by pretending you could get money back from them.

Any developer who thinks they are a "customer" in any meaningful sense of the word needs to re-read their click-thru contract with Apple. The concept of "customer" is distorted beyond belief here.

The lazy approach is probably way cheaper. Unless the social media shit storm is too big in which case they can correct after the fact.

Not saying it is ok to do it. Just that business will always pick the cheapest option they can get away with - that is, that does not affect the bottom line.

> That isn't how you deal with fraudsters. You tell them nothing, complete stonewall.

And you deal with murderers by putting them in prison, which is equally irrelevant because the person in question is neither.

It would be terrible if his source code or build system/process was carefully subverted by an attacker. With Apple stonewalling him he'd never know.

Try contacting Google about anything.

No one was making that comparison.. Being "less shitty that someone else" is not a good thing from any viewpoint..

If it's industry standard response then it's a valid argument against the claim that this particular company's policy is somehow out of line with normal practices.

Why do some people always make this kind of "argument "?! Why can't you keep it focused on Apple when it's Apples actions in question?

Saying something about some other company does not in any way justify the questionable actions.

Because, we must always speak of Apple and Google in binaries, as everything is always one or the other.

Chocolate and Vanila, Male and Female, Apple and Google. All these things are binary, and are always inversely related to one another.


Dimensions and directions are useful for describing stuff, though

You're of course correct that it doesn't justify the questionable actions. But it shows that it's a much bigger problem than one company... Is there some reason such issues happen all of these multiple companies? Can we do anything about that so that other companies don't also start doing this?

Whataboutism is annoying as hell.

If you're actually paying Google money, they have pretty decent support. I've gotten support for their ad platforms, their apps for work, Google Fi, and my Nexus phones/tablets.

I see no reason for them to, nor do I expect them to, provide me support for things like GMail, or Hangouts, or their search.

> If you're actually paying Google money, they have pretty decent support.

I wish I could pay for my browser, my email and my search...

You can pay for the email, I do.

You can pay for one of the basic storage plans, that will get your foot in the door, so to speak.

I think he has a good point. A lot of our business and life are under the rule of big private companies. We are merciless to question their behavior even when their acts have great impact upon us.

Sure, we should add add a lot of names to this list: "Try contacting [Apple|Google|EBay|PayPal|AmazonAws|.*] about anything."

I'd like to say that it is possible to reach paypyal. They've even been moderately effective.

And, ironically, the same people _enabling_ these companies by building all their tech are right here on HN!

When I use AdSense e-mail support, I get personal replies in less than 24 hours.

The existence of a second, (even bigger, perhaps) problem has no bearing on the legitimacy of the first problem.

Could it be because of legal reasons? maybe you have a lower chance of suing them when they don't provide you with any details? (either way, it's wrong but I'm just trying to find a possible reason why they do this)

Who here has read Franz Kafka?

Is that a blog or Twitter account?

I'm hoping this was sarcasm.


Someone probably thinks it's a manual for best practices.

The Metamorphosis: from best practices to disaster overnight


I would imagine the Trial is what the op was thinking of

Kafka wrote beautiful prose. If he were a tech writer, he'd write lucid explanations of very difficult problems. Strongly recommended.

When a serious action is going to be taken for any reason, that action should be PRECEDED by at least an E-mail to the owner and the path to reverse the action should be clear. The E-mail should not just be a terse message, it should contain a wide variety of resources; something like: "Your account and applications will be disabled in 2 days for <reason>. Please select from the following links to attempt to resolve the issue, or call <number> as soon as possible.".

It’s not just apps, either. There is frequently a “less disruptive” option for any major action; for instance, you can “delete” files by starting with the instantly-reversible "chmod 000", and after some period of time you actually go ahead and "rm -Rf". If, in between, a panicked user E-mails you back and says they really needed those files, you undo your "chmod" and instantly fix the issue. Why should anything on the App Store take days?

They can't give you advanced notice for "fraud" though. If your app actually commits fraud it's got to go right away to limit the amount of fraud you commit. They at least think some kind of fraud was happening, correctly or not.

No, they still could. The message could say: “We have received X complaints of fraud for your app, "Totally Not a Scam Lite", and it will be removed in 2 days unless you contact us immediately at <number>. In addition, if this is found to be true, any sales of your app will be refunded and not credited to your developer account.”.

Sure, they could, but it doesn't make business sense. This scheme might even cause a class action lawsuit from the people who bought it AFTER they knew it was fraud but BEFORE they removed it. Refunds very likely cost money in the form of credit card transaction fees and wages (people doing the refunding as well as CS fielding calls for two days).

Isn't that a classic cost of business which they're charging 30% of each transaction to cover? Banks do that kind of thing all the time with things like wire transfers where the fees and delays are, in part, expected to cover the cost of errors and abuse.

This scheme might even cause a class action lawsuit from the people who bought it AFTER they knew it was fraud but BEFORE they removed it.

Class actions suits have to show damages, no? After the money is refunded, what would the plaintiffs allege?

First, a class action suit for 48 hours of downloads on an app is not likely.

And certainly when fraud is detected some refunds will occur. So they set the tolerances such that they can pay those refunds with the fees they extract on the other side of the curve.

> First, a class action suit for 48 hours of downloads on an app is not likely.

You'd be amazed at what a few billion in the bank will attract, especially when it's cheaper to settle than litigate.

Nope, they can't.

First of all, if it's actually fraud that totally doesn't scale.

But in a more nuanced case, look at the iMessage App that allowed people to send images that looked like a stock Messages blue bubble. Good idea for humor, not so good for non-trolling UX. Apple pulls it but gives the developer a week to see if there's any way to salvage the situation to ease the heartstrings and pocketbook.

IMMEDIATELY calls go out to download the infringing app, several thousand more than anyone who might otherwise (full Streisand effect)...

Then imagine that app actually has Malware! Lots to think about, and if people hate on Apple for this, fair enough — as an iOS dev it's tough to defend. Really love Dash. Hope it gets straightened out. 8 years in on the platform and you can do a ton of things you couldn't do back in 08, and vice versa.

You should have downloaded "Totally Not a Scam Pro" when it was on the store!

They can put your payments on hold. After all, everything goes through them already

Kinda puts it in perspective how weird it is that companies have so much control over how software is distributed and sold these days. This would never have happened a decade ago.

We also weren't using as many walled-garden devices and ecosystems a decade ago.

There are certainly a lot of issues with the app store model. But using a service like download.com was also rife with issues.

A curated app-store should not be considered synonymous with walled garden. android allows side-loading. windows has "install.exe", the microsoft store and steam co-existing side-by-side. linux distros have their package managers, container images and `curl ... | sudo bash`.

Anyone who argues that all users must be herded into a walled garden in the name of security and alternatives are not acceptable is essentially advocating a digital nanny state.

> `curl ... | sudo bash`.

That is the herpes of the Linux world. That is one of the worse things that someone can suggest to install something.

You missed the essence of my argument. The curl approach serves as an example of some less trustworthy, unvetted ways of installing software, similar to downloading an installer or apk from some random website.

Is it a bad idea? Maybe, especially if you're not technically versed. Does that mean we should take everyone's freedom to make their own choices. "because we know what's best for you"? I don't think so.

I believe that most non-technical users are self-aware enough that they stick to curated app-stores of their own volition.

And having lived through that, and now lived through the walled garden/App Store experience, I'll say with confidence the old way was better.

Better for you maybe, but not better for the average user who ended up with malware infecting their systems left and right because they weren't technical enough to avoid it.

Exactly. I have personally been on the receiving end of plenty of phone calls from users who had no idea they couldn't necessarily trust an application downloaded from a 3rd party site. "But it's the same application!" Sure it is, but who knows what else you're getting, even if it's as 'benign' as shitty toolbars. Has no one ever seen a parent/grandparents nightmare of toolbar hell in a browser window?

We did. And somehow the computer revolution still happened even though people actually had to learn a bit about how their tools worked. Meanwhile in that crazy wild west the whole OSS infrastructure powering the most important global computer network was born. Tools, operating systems and software that isn't allowed to exist in app stores because they might be "dangerous" to the average user (whoever that is).

people actually had to learn a bit about how their tools worked.

They didn't, though; they just muddled through and asked their friends or some tech support service to reinstall Windows occasionally, when the viruses, adware and other crap made the computer too slow, or when the ramsomware encrypted all their files.

Then we should either:

a) Educate users and give them more knowledge and better tools to easily protect themselves


b) Have app-stores organized in such a way that user interests and legitimate security concerns are not conflated with commercial interests of the platform owners as it's currently the case. Either treat app stores as a public utility with rights and regulations or require all devices to support competing stores.

You don't necessarily need a walled garden to solve that problem - package managers on Linux distribution do the same. It needs the appropriate user experience for non-technical users.

This is an excellent example: all of those less "walled gardens" ended up a mess of malware and abusive advertising. It's a pretty clear trade-off so far as I can tell.

I get a headache every time I look at an app store.

Google Play is full of crap, Apple's app store has plenty of low value apps, the Windows 10 App store sucks, etc, etc, etc.

They've improved user security, but the amount of garbage to sift through is terrible.

I think the following is a good way to do an "App Store":


And companies, individuals, non-profits, and others are all allowed to run their own repos, or mirror these.

To be honest I think the chrome extension storefront(?) is pretty decent as well. It's just a matter of curation from the point they've got it at. The reality is that the average user _wants_ a barrier to entry: no one likes what download.com or sourceforge have become.

Mozilla now, and not sure how long it's been doing this, does code review on all submitted extensions to their extension marketplace. Google chrome's store is less restrictive as they don't do any review of it but rely on user reports to find violations of TOU/malicious activity.

Similar approaches to the apple app store vs. android store... up front binary check from apple vs. a permissive store with user reports being the primary thing that pulls apps from circulation.

They've improved user security, but the amount of garbage to sift through is terrible.

From my POV, it's like complaining that the seat belt left a bruise after an automotive collision; IOW, missing the bigger picture. I can sort my own garbage, thanks (and that's not to say that you're not right about the quality in app stores). It's easy, and if I screw it up then I've just got a garbage binary taking up space that is otherwise harmless.

But what I grow increasingly tired of is wondering if bad actors have found new ways to make my life difficult before I install that random app. Download from an app store, the app might be garbage, but at least I can be confident that it won't trash my machine. Servers, my dev machine? Sure, I'm willing to put up with a little more rigamorole for more control, etc. But my phone? I don't want to put up with that crap, vetting everything binary that goes on the box. I just want to tap and download, and if the quality of the app sucks, then fixing that is a long-press away.

My point was more that they aren't entirely a trade off from ended up a mess of malware and abusive advertising.

That second problem remains unsolved (crap apps blasted into the stores just to show ads fit my definition of abusive advertising).

A fair point that I apparently missed. Because, yeah, though an app from an app store might not trash my machine, it ain't all rainbows and roses in AppStoreLand, either.

You can have sandboxing without an App Store (macOS supports it)

Why can't we just have the equivalent of APT for mobile devices?

We did. On N900, but the hardware was bulky and then Nokia stopped being Nokia.

That's actually pretty much what Cydia for iOS is.


What things like apt-get?

Yep. That was, best I can tell, the original "app store".

Also, still the best implementation.

As a consumer, I love the walled garden. I can trust things will work more or less as advertised and that I'll have financial recourse if they don't.

What you trust is the app store manager. The entire ecosystem doesn't need to be walled off in order to achieve that.

Download.com was no more than SEO junk site, no one really needed it.

It was more than that, originally, it just degraded over time. They also bought up all the good competitors (softseek anyone?) and then killed them off.

A decade ago there were many more, much higher hurdles to software distribution.

This developer's woes are nothing compared to the challenges to getting shrink-wrapped software in boxes, getting people to download and install an executable, or god forbid getting a mobile app onto one of the mobile carrier's app stores,

Not on Palm OS. Check out the old Treo phones. Touch screen, camera, SD slot, full keyboard, free and open API for app development.

> This would never have happened a decade ago.

Happened 30 years ago with Nintendo.

Today's non-geek has two choices: walled garden or malware cesspool.

Or, increasingly, the web. Sure some things will always have to be native but that list is getting shorter all the time and would be shorter still if Apple were keeping up with web standards in Safari.

Third choice: buy advice/services from an expert with similarly aligned interests.

If the walled gardens charge 50% on top of the manufacturer's price (or 33% what the customer pays), there is plenty of room to undercut there.

> buy advice/services from an expert with similarly aligned interests.

For most people, that's probably the walled gardens that people not on HN don't complain about.

No, the walled garden is the walled garden. The expert consultant is often a relative or favorite blogger or golfing buddy or corporate IT person.

How many of us have set up a clueless person's computer? We give them a restricted user account, so they can't install 500 random spyware/adware toolbars. We change the IE/Edge shortcut to open Firefox instead. We install ad-blockers and script-blockers with an overly generous whitelist. Maybe we even install Linux with remote admin, and automatic updates, and just slap on a wm that looks vaguely like Windows. Their expert is us, or people like us, and our services are not always bought with spendable currency.

I don't always enjoy being that expert, or getting paid for it in cookies and ugly sweaters. And in that situation, the walled garden is great. We can all roll our clueless friends up in carpets and dump them over the wall, where they can stumble around all day without getting hurt.

But some people can actually make a business out of it. They do exist. And some of them won't shamelessly price-gouge their clueless customers.

The difference is, that that user can turn off the walled garden if they will. That user can also choose what it wants inside the garden instead of being told what he can use by someone from California which may or may not share the values or culture.

And what I'm saying is that for most people that expert is Apple, or Microsoft, or Google depending on what OS/Device we're talking about. And the company running the walled garden is that expert because they have already paid them to be such.

I make a regulatory compliance software. Apple refused to list my App until I removed functionality at their request. Functionality that is required for compliance.

Apple's arrogance in running their store may eventually cause it's decline.

I wouldn't expect Apple to understand compliance for every possible use case. Apple doesn't have to bend their rules to comply with apps that want to comply with local/state/provincial/federal laws, they can just say "We don't support x feature, and therefore you can't distribute through our store."

> I wouldn't expect Apple to understand compliance for every possible use case.

Wait, you're actually saying that the richest business entity on the world can't be expected to employ people that use their brain and do a bit of fact checking on outlying cases?

No I'm not saying that. Let's take an example. Let's say a local government wants to deploy iPhones to all their staff but as part of their local laws, all communication on government owned equipment can be monitored. So a developer writes up an app to record all typing on the iPhone (this is a hypothetical). They submit to Apple and Apple rejects this because it's against their policies (apps are sandboxed and wouldn't really be able to do this, but you get the point). Apple shouldn't be forced to comply with this local requirement, nor could they since every single government or private business would have different pieces of compliance. It would be impossible for them to develop an operating system that would allow for all these corner cases.

Were there any articles describing how they actually work? I wouldn't be surprised at all if they simply employed a number of clerk-level people following a set of rules for the app verification. Otherwise it would take a lot of very experienced QA engineers.

Silly decisions like banning dictionaries for including swear words only seem to confirm it. The rules matter, not the judgement.

| "We don't support x feature, and therefore you can't distribute through our store."

Of course, for iOS, this also means "you can't write apps for our platform."

This isn't accurate. You can certainly write iOS apps and distribute using the Enterprise distribution mechanism for a number of use cases.

But that will mean that they can't be too upset when industries that require whatever compliance they won't allow into software moves to another ecosystem. It seems arbitrary to me to ask devs to remove functionality (except for in-app purchases that evade iOS or similar), but it's hard to judge without details.

> But that will mean that they can't be too upset when industries that require whatever compliance they won't allow into software moves to another ecosystem

That is quite right, and they don't get upset at all. Apple don't pretend to compete in every market for every niche and have no interest in doing so. If the Apple way doesn't suit you, they'll quite happily wave you goodbye as you move to Android or elsewhere.

I often see people get upset because Apple doesn't address their particular use case or preference, but the fact is Android, Windows and Linux exist and are fine options for many people. The only case where this is really an issue IMHO is when someone buys in the Apple but didn't realize the limitations they would be under or when the limitations change to become more restrictive but that's not very common. Usually restrictions actually ease over time, such as the explosion in cross application functionality and opening of access to the JIT javascript engine in iOS made possible by secure cross process communication in recent iOS versions.

Yea, that's what they did say. I sent copies of our laws. No change.

Arrogance is exactly the right word. Arrogance that is not justified at all by their execution lately. Developers were willing to look the other way while the app store gold rush lasted but those days are long over and it's increasingly looking like a Faustian bargain sold cheap.

What functionality did they want removed?

Without getting too into it, they thought some data visible in the App was in violation of US drug law (Schedule 1)

Yet other, semi-related consumer apps have this data.

In fact other apps in the store assist with the purchase/sale of these regulated items. A clear violation of Apple policy.

I'm not so mad about being blocked. I'm really mad about the inconsistent/random application of said policy.

Translation: edoceo built an app to help marijuana stores sell weed and keep track of weed and implement controls on the amount of weed purchased and where it came from and where it went.

Other apps either do the same thing or are less obvious about what their functionality is for, and Apple ignores it or is unaware or turns a blind eye.

edoceo thought an app which documents compliance with State law (and documents non-compliance with Federal law) should be allowed in the app store. Apple didn't.

This is a correct summary.

This really sucks - just bought a copy of his MacOS app through his website to try and help compensate. At this point I'm starting to avoid buying software through the Mac App Store unless it's not available anywhere else. Even if it's slightly easier to make a purchase initially, you risk the headache of situations like this where you can't even migrate your license.

Additionally the apps outside the app store tend to work a lot better (nearly all the apps I wrote work far better in the website versions, not having the restrictions of the MAS versions), and also the developer gets more of the money, 95% instead of 70%. And then you're a customer of the developer, not of the app store, which is also better.

I have had a ton of Apps I use every day just up and disappear from the App Store to the point that I am actively avoiding the App Store.

At this point, this is neither surprising, not unexpected. There is ample precedent, there are tens of stories like this every days (maybe even counting only those that hit the HN frontpage).

To avoid these problems, don't sell on the App Store, it's as simple as that (and very sad). Apple's processes suck and Apple doesn't care, as it has had year to fix things, but hasn't. Complaining won't change it. People have complained, and it didn't change.

> there are tens of stories like this every days (maybe even counting only those that hit the HN frontpage)

As someone who comes here every day, I don't think tens (or even ones) of this type of story hits the frontpage every day. I'm not saying it's not a problem, though.

I wonder if Apple knows how many developers use Dash. They probably don't realize what a high-profile faux pas they're making.

In any large organization there are islands of mass stupidity. Apple is no different. I bet this ends with a mea culpa caused by the 1000 people at Apple who use the product who are now pissed. Note the review team operates in an airless void separate from the rest of the company on purpose; however those 1000 know where they sit.

It doesn't look like this was caused by the app review team, the whole developer account was canceled due to fraud reasons, which doesn't sound like something the app review team would be responsible for. But the rest of your comment stands.

This is the first time I've heard of this (not a mac user but am a developer).

At least as this is software for developers, I reckon most won't mind buying it outside the appstore, it sounds really useful.

A plug for it: I love Dash. I was on the fence for a while ("I'm not more than a terminal window away from 'man foo'; why pay for it?") but now I love having a common interface to lots of the docs I use. It also integrates nicely with common editors, so a single key combo in Emacs pops open a Dash window for the thing I was looking at. Yeah, I know Emacs has that built-in, but Dash in a separate window on a separate screen is still more pleasant to use and look at.

If you're not on mac, there's Zeal[1], that shows Dash doc sets on win & linux.

[1] https://zealdocs.org

Even if you are, https://github.com/zealdocs/zeal/wiki/Build-Instructions-for....

It works quite well for me.

It's a lifesaver on planes where you won't have internet. If only I could download an archive of stackoverflow too, then I'd be set.

I use `devdocs.io`. It's open source and works great!

First time seeing this site... DevDocs is nice!

Wow, thanks for sharing.

Thanks, this is pretty slick.

Oh my...

Dash already includes the ability to download offline Stackoverflow datasets by language.

It's wonderful at Railscamps also! http://railscamps.org

It's great, works a treat with PyCharm.

I like to think this is a foulup and will be fixed soon. However, XCode 8's help system is massively improved and this might be a case of Apple trying to force developers down that route. Which is a bloody shame. I really hope this is just some screwup :(

I'm certain a fake fraud tag is not the way Apple would go about this.

It is helpful when the Python doc's search sucks. Also I keep a copy of all the documentation offline, which is good when I don't always have WiFi

I used to have Dash when it was still free and in beta, but had some use hiccups (was on an older machine) and recently considered getting a license for it and getting the iOS versions as well... So now I have a problem, because my main point was not the Mac version (I could even use the emacs compatible package to browse Dash documentation) but iOS, and that can't be maintained.

iOS devs have stolkholm syndrome. We deal with all sorts of crap from apple.

Like code signing. Or the encrypt-then-compress DRM adding many MB to binary sizes. Or code signing causing pre-main startup times to bloat. Etc, etc.

High profile what?

Developers will continue using and supporting Apple products regardless. We hear a story like this at least three or four times a year.

Geeks love their Apple products far too much to ever walk away no matter what Apple does.

More likely they simply don't care. Developers are a tiny fraction of their overall userbase, and there are plenty of devs who will put up with any kind of abuse just to have a shot at App Store riches.

I'm a developer and I don't use Dash. I wonder how much I miss.

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