Well, apparently Google failed to realize this and update their systems. October's payout failed and I received a generic automated e-mail message about it. I realized what the problem was instantly and tried to figure out how to contact Google about it.
Google Checkout doesn't have a direct contact form nor a phone number: instead, their "contacting support" page  presents a list of options about "the topic of your question". Only after I chose something vaguely related, filled out a contact form that didn't have a freeform text field and received an automated form reply I could tell them my real issue by replying.
After they fixed it and re-entering my bank account details, I had to wait until December (the next payout date) to receive the failed payout.
(I've received this month's payout successfully without any issue.)
(Notice that the one Google employee who has replied in the thread is being derided for not doing enough quickly enough. It was 9 AM in California when he replied. This is why nobody speaks up until the issue is resolved.)
Sorry, but that excuses nothing. Do VISA, MasterCard, American Express start business at 9AM? They're 24-hour operations. So should any op dealing with payments.
Hi all, I'm really sorry to see there are so many problems with the checkout merchant center. Unfortunately the checkout merchant center team is going through a major transition. Many of the past owners of the code base have left, which leaves many of you without proper support :( I'm part of a three person team that's getting transitioned to take ownership of the code base, in fact we have a meeting in 15min to get an overview of the basic architecture and start looking into some of these bugs. I assure you we will work very hard to address your issues as quickly as possible, but please remain patient with us as our team makes this transition.
Thanks and Sincerely,
If it is real...
Dear Google - An unknown employee communicating through a random forum is NOT the right way to tell developers why they are not getting PAID!!!!
To the op of this post: It appears you personally feel an obligation to communicate with the people who want to be communicated with the most. I truly hope that you do not get in trouble for this and that your desire to communicate with us is applauded and replicated over and over and over again as the old team vanishes and your new team takes over.
With that said, had Google said something earlier, Jia wouldn't have had to say anything and this would be a non-issue.
When I gave my notice our manager was baffled, and genuinely wanted to know if it was something he'd done that had driven us all away. There wasn't.
I don't have any idea what happened in this case. Perhaps all those people moved to other groups at Google or got recruited to startups. Or perhaps that group's manager was a jerk and everyone left to get away from them.
Thinking is: "If I have a problem, can I get help?". If I can find a solution to that question in a few clicks, kaching, you get my CC details and we're good to go, else, x.
Customer service is not a cost center, if done well, it's the best marketing/PR channel you can get and it pays off massively in the longer term.
This is a danger in the market, and I see it in reviews all the time. Every limitation of the system is the fault of the developer of the app, and the reason the app is slow is because the developer is bad (not because the customer picked a phone with a 700mhz CPU).
The app markets really need a way to protect developers from abusive customers. Amazon lets other customers respond to a review, and Newegg lets the maker of the product respond. Maybe the Android Market needs this, too.
> Every limitation of the system is the fault of the developer of the app, and the reason the app is slow is because the developer is bad (not because the customer picked a phone with a 700mhz CPU).
I think it is the responsibility of the developer to ensure their apps work on the devices they are selling to. If a user is able to install the app from Play, it should work. Google Play shouldn't be a wild-west scenario, where some apps work and some apps don't. If the app doesn't work on the phone, I would definitely suggest the developer has some of the blame.
Testing apps and ensuring they work on all phones is clearly impossible, but by limiting the availability of your app to high-end phones and detecting hardware in code and acting appropriately is our responsibility as developers in a diverse ecosystem.
Unfortunately, this is what Android is, so this is what the marketplace has to be. I don't have apps on the Google Play market, so I don't know if you can restrict your app to only be visible or purchased by phones known to run it, but there are some apps that slower phones just can't run.
Take Grand Theft Auto III for example (or any other high-end game). You can't expect it to run on an HTC Aria with a 600Mhz processor. Should we stop making these high end apps, or should we expect that there would be some kind of control system to help prevent people from making uninformed decisions?
I don't think so, really. Android is the wild west because it's open source and unrestricted. But the Market is Google's own, proprietary and closed system. They have total control over it. App developers can restrict on a device-by-device basis, but it's a pain and I don't really expect anyone to do that (there are maybe 1,000 devices or so out there). However, you can also restrict based on phone feature set like screen size, hardware capability, etc.
I think we should hold both Google and the developers to a high standard when it comes to marketplace apps.
> Should we stop making these high end apps
Of course not. Developers should stop selling them to people who they know can't run them.
I've had people email me and get nasty because my app didn't work on their Touchpad with ICS. Or even better when people write low reviews from Tegra 2 devices such as "Textures missing" but they are using a kernel which reduces allocated video RAM from 128mb to 64mb.
I love Android from a user point of view but I hate it as a developer.
There has to be a better way.
Yes, customers should also be aware of what their phone is capable of, but the developer has some responsibility here.
Don't know if it has changed but when GTA III was new (on android) my phone, Nexus S, wasn't supported - and thus I couldn't even find it in market.
I used to work on downloadable desktop apps, and we always played to the lowest common denominator. It ended up being a big weight around our neck when we wanted to do something 'cooler' but a little more resource intensive. I think we supported Windows 95 even after Microsoft stopped... simply because so many end users were still running it.
Another example: We have a "lesser" brand of mobile phone now, and I notice angry birds is frustrating to play on it... Even though it's perfectly acceptable on an old 8Gb iPod touch I had. Sure, they could spend a lot of resources on it to make it better, but that's likely to be a poor usage of resources.
You definitely need to hit the sweet spot of the performance bell curve, though.
 Google Group disappeared entirely for a couple of days; AdSense upgrade failed partway through; attempt to switch primary and secondary domains on Google Apps resulted in a month of downtime ...
Note that in the event of a technical issue, your payout may be delayed and is expected to be initiated by the 15th of the month.
Maybe wait until after the 15th to start worrying about it?
I'm guessing they're letting it die and are working on something else.
This is the only issue that has seriously given me pause about selling apps on Google Play. If something goes wrong you're stuck in forums, unhelpful issue submission forms, and you can be left out in the cold for weeks.
The lack of support for end user market issues compounds the problem. There's no easy help from google so customers contact the app developers who can't do anything to help but direct them back to the Google support labyrinth.