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This article summarizes the epitome of my experience as an Apple developer. I'm 17 years old and a developer on the app store. The App Store feels opaque and like a black box where I submit builds with little to no feedback or control. I get paid when Apple decides, and could be eradicated from the App Store at a moment's notice.

I realized early on that being featured by Apple was unlikely, and have adopted a sustainable pricing model (a term I was unfamiliar with before reading this piece) to fund my development. I'm certain that by charging $14.99, I stay out of the bottom 47% of developers that make less than $100 a month from the app store. I do not rely on the app store for anything. From visibility to app discovery, I feel that Apple has failed me. When I get support emails, I cannot even refund a single paying user, which means I have to send $14.99 back to the user using PayPal and eat Apple's $4.50 fee for that transaction. It's immensely frustrating and a main reason why I allow users to sign up concurrently on my website using a card (Stripe).

Every part of developing for Apple leads me to this conclusion: I do not matter. My app does not matter.

Your experience is the price of admission to gain access to a global audience. The low barrier to entry is why you're fighting for pennies.

Twenty years ago when I was in high school, I worked at CompUSA. They sold a lot of software in their day... in my region of the country, 40% of software sold passed through our store's door. To sell software at CompUSA or similar retailers, you needed to interface with a publisher, who would then try to sell your software to a buyer at the store. Then you'd need to print collateral, get an attractive box, duplicate physical media in quantities sufficient to stock 500 stores. At your expense.

And for all that, you'd be a box on a bottom shelf somewhere.

If you wanted to actually sell software, you'd need to pay for premium placement on an endcap or display. I recall one vendor who paid over $2M for premium endcaps at each store for a handwriting recognition app.

When customers were dissatisfied, or returned your software that wasn't supposed to be returnable, the store would withhold payment for your software (which was running 60-90 days late in most cases) and mail you back the resealed box at your expense, which may have contained a rock instead of your software.

Fast forward to 2015, and you're paying $99 to sell software for $15 that nets you $10, which is paid promptly every month. Apple treats you like cattle, because you are in effect a cow to them... there are thousands of people like you!

> Twenty years ago when I was in high school, I worked at CompUSA

So, selling software was a PITA full of inefficiencies and middlemen. Everyone hated it.

Now, 20 years later, we live on the open web, a level playing field where anyone can experiment to their heart's content and sell what they want, how they want it.

And you wonder why people complain about Apple adding restrictions? And your answer is "tough luck, we have the possibility to do things better, but things were even worse 20 years ago so just suck it up"?

> Your experience is the price of admission to gain access to a global audience

This Hacker News comment has access to a global audience. There are fart noise videos on YouTube with access to a global audience. That means nothing anymore.

Apple also do a piss-poor job of giving that access. It's already easier to find our app via Google than searching for the literal exact app name on the App Store. Whenever you release an update theres a 1-12 hour window where people will get random error messages since there's massive CDN sync lag.

You don't live on an open web. On mobile devices, you live in a garden with high walls (Apple, Microsoft) or lowish walls (Android). The consumers of the garden are... the public, not you. You are the gardener planting trees and cutting the grass.

Apple isn't just giving you a place on a shelf either. You have a half dozen ways that consumers are earning credits to buy your stuff (credit cards, kid allowances, supermarket gift cards, credit card rewards, etc), millions spent marketing the platform, etc.

As long as there is a gatekeeper, that gatekeeper will collect a toll. Free/open is going to come from new players like Firefox & Ubuntu, and traction there will give Apple and Google incentives to behave more

> Your experience is the price of admission to gain access to a global audience.

Nothing they said was inherent to the process of getting a global audience. Apple has created all of their problems they mentioned; we know this because Apple could make them all go away.

Why would they bother when another cow will step forward?

The developers' gripes seem to be about actual problems for them, but potential problems for Apple.

Similar things happen with Google and AdSense publishers.

You could also publish on Android or the web and have access to a "the global audience".

Comparing the App Store with 20 years old methods is a fallacy. To be realistic you should compare using the Android/Mozilla/Windows/Web distribution methods.

The Android model i.e. the Google model is now the same as Apple's.

Only it has the ability to sideload applications which let's be honest as primarily been used for installing pirated applications.

I kind of resent that comment. I sideload apps all the time, none of them are pirated. That stereotype just re-inforces companies attempts to lock down our devices and it kind of pisses me off to hear it constantly regurgitated.

Calling it 'sideload' is already aiding the enemy. It's the normal way of doing things. Installing software from an app-store should have a different name instead.

There is this thing called the Amazon Appstore. Perhaps you've heard of it? On anything but an official Amazon device, it works entirely by sideloading [1]. And considering the broad impact this particular use (not to mention other important ones) has had (e.g. Amazon's official devices probably wouldn't exist without their use of sideloading to bootstrap the app ecosystem), saying sideloading primarily used for piracy is just wrong.

[1] Ironically, I think the pervasive sideloading third-party app stores on Android require is a bug, not a feature. I'd much rather see an official way to add "known sources" so that, after the initial install, you didn't need to leave sideloading enabled in order to use them.

That sounds highly disingenuous. F-Droid appears to have over 8 million downloads[0]. Amazon's store is probably well patronized too (and they seem to have good deals on paid apps). I'm sure there's some piracy, but I don't think it's that prevalent (at least not in the US). Either way, as a user, I'd rather be on a platform that is open enough that piracy is possible.

[0]: https://gitlab.com/fdroid/fdroiddata/blob/master/stats/total...

>I'm sure there's some piracy, but I don't think it's that prevalant

ha. that's a good one. I've had apps on both iOS and Android with < 10% of the installs being legit.

How many of those were in markets you could actually sell in? (i.e. where Google Play is available)

I use f-droid more than google play. F-droid would not ne posible without sideloading.

Pirating iPhone apps is easy, and Apple's signature checking that locks down iOS doesn't actually prevent piracy. A pirated iOS app passes the signature check same as the legitimately bought version - it's the same .ipa file, after all. You don't need to jailbreak your iPhone in order to install apps you haven't paid for.

The signature check makes sure 'the developer has paid Apple', and not 'the user has paid for this app'.

Sideloading of apps allows for apps that Google may not care for, and that Apple actively prohibits (eg bitcoin), the difference being that you can still run them on Android if you really want to.

This is incorrect. Unmodified App Store .ipas are DRMed (app __TEXT is encrypted); the signature is of the encrypted binary, and the keys are tied to your iTunes Store credentials on the device. Piracy thus requires someone to decrypt the binary with a jailbroken phone, followed by either:

(1) installing the resulting unsigned app on a jailbroken phone, or

(2) re-signing it with a developer or enterprise distribution key, which Apple can revoke.

Both of these are done regularly, but it's not like Apple hasn't tried to stop it.

By the way, Apple no longer forbids Bitcoin apps, although this doesn't defeat the general point about forbidden categories.

Good point - but one correction, there aren't thousands but millions of developers, 6mm+ to be precise. http://www.phonearena.com/news/6M-developers-in-Apple-ecosys...

Paradoxically, I think the power of the tools, resulting in the ease of development, and the democracy of the Apple Store is a major contributor to the difficulty of competing for user mindshare, and the resulting low prices.

Isn't this economics 101 ? The easier it is to enter the market the more supply there is, and when supply outweighs demand prices fall ?

I'd even add that this was what the internet promised. A reduction of the barriers between creator and consumer. No more would those pesky publishers/editors/distributors get in the way. Sadly I think we forgot that Sturgeons law still holds.

Or, more realistically, he could pay shit all for a domain name (.io, .ly is so last year) 10 usd/month for a VPS, 3% to Stripe (which is criminally high, but there you go) and have access to the global market. He is more likely to get customers and he isn't constrained to change pennies.

People have tried that, e.g. with Android apps. It doesn't turn out to be much better, actually quite worse sales wise.

Apparently I didn't make the comment very clear: he should build a webapp instead. Make it a game if you want, but build it outside their walled gardens.

But web-based games/apps don't sell very well at all, compared to iOS and Android native apps (even if the native are built with the same web technologies).

Unless it's a service website, the monetization for web apps just isn't up to par.

> 3% to Stripe (which is criminally high, but there you go)

Compared to what? I thought Stripe was famous for offering competitive fees.

Sure, thats the problem. You pay 3% of the transaction for them to make a couple of entries in a database. It is laughable, when you consider that hosting and access to the VPS cost very little.

no it is not.

your argument is the same as saying "i can only fill my gas tank at BP stations, oh well, that is the price i pay to be able to fill up at BP stations since they are the most common around here"

then you proceed to an example, which does not work. because you wrongly confuse apple store with some convenience to reach users. which it is not. 99.9% of non-block buster purchases come from the developer website. the post you are replying to (probably without reading :( even mention that he has no hope of being discovered by users on the app store or being promoted there.

so, physical store or something that advertises or facilitate your sale == ok. apple store is none of those. they actually make it harder for both things to happen.

I think it's better for everyone in this business to have some understanding of how channel works and profits to have a more macro perspective of this issue. Channels usually have huge power and it's one of the four P's (price, product, promotion, and place). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marketing_mix

It's amazing how things don't change.

> Apple treats you like cattle, because you are in effect a cow to them... there are thousands of people like you!

And how is that okay?

It's clearly a problem of oversupply. That's why consolidation is inevitable in this market

Nobody's really disputing that the App Store needs revision in a number of areas (discovery, refunds, trials, etc) It's a hard problem because curation is a hard problem. It is not unique to the app store - take a look at android's store or frankly, any online store that offers a wide array of products - curation is hard. I'm sure they're working on it.

A time of fewer but higher quality apps may be coming - but then there'll be complains about the selection system. Curation is hard.

The real complaint I hear most often is simply 'I thought I was going to make an app, publish it and make money! I haven't made money. I think the app store it broken'

Most businesses fail, there was a false impression that the app store is somehow different - it'll solve the reasons most businesses fail. It won't.

Your conclusion is correct - unless you've got great product-market fit (your product fits the need of many people today), you do not matter, to many people. Your app does not matter to many people unless it has got great product-market fit. Products that have great fit - do well despite some of the challenges, mostly through word of mouth. Just like most other small businesses.

> Curation is hard.

Oh please.

They just don't care.

Take Steam for instance, I have a thousand times better experience finding new games on there than I have on any mobile app store. I get recommendations from my friends, according to what Steam thinks I would enjoy playing, and they even have curators for apps so people whose reviews I can enjoy can list games with a short review. And those are just a few ways of discovering new games, there are a ton of others.

Neither Apple nor Google are even trying. That's the problem. They don't give a shit.

Valve barely gives a shit about improving Steam — since it'll print more money than they can ever spend regardless — and still they've surpassed both Google and Apple.

Scale matters. Steam has less than 4000 games total. The App store has 1400 applications every day.

http://www.gamespot.com/articles/steam-reaches-100-million-u... http://www.pocketgamer.biz/metrics/app-store/

This is the first time I have heard Steam described as a positive example in curation in a long time. They're terrible at it. And as others have pointed out here, they have a MUCH simpler curation problem than Apple or Google have to face. I think even Windows Phone or Blackberry have a bigger app curation problem than Steam has an app curation problem. And Valve's response to this is that they want to move to a model of even LESS curation, because running the disaster pit that's Steam Greenlight is too uncomfortable for them.

If they wanted to move towards less curation, then it seems counter to them creating tags, "recommended for you" games, steam curators, discovery queue, or their two new customizable curation panes on their homepage, and more, all in the past year.

Steam is very visibly and actively trying to improve curation, and despite being very poor at it previously, they have very much improved rather quickly.

The entire point of tags and Steam curators is that Valve doesn't do the work, "the community" does. They're not trying to improve THEIR curation, they're trying to give users the tools to do it themselves.

Actually discovery on Google Play is getting a lot better. I get recommendations based on what friends have reviewed all the time. Most of the interesting apps I find and install are because someone I know on G+ installed it and +'d it or rated it.

Honestly steam as much a social network as a games platform at this point and that's what gives them the data, and we've see. How Apple and googles multiple attempts at social platforms have panned out.

I barely use Steam as a social platform, and still I have a thousand times better experience when it comes to discoverability. I understand what you're saying — people spend more time using Steam than they do the app stores (and they also have access to social graphs and what-not, although you could argue Apple & Google have this as well via messages).

I would argue that point is kind of moot, since many of the ways I discover games on Steam would work without any friends or a social graph.

The sales (holiday, weekly and daily), curators, user tags etc, etc. They would all still work.

They just don't care.

Don't forget the steam queue. It use prediction to show games that correspond to your taste. It's not very accurate, but it allow to show new games on each iteration. You do not waste your time on the always same top 100 games. It allow to discover some strange or underated titles .

I bet the average Steam user also spends orders of magnitude more than the average Android/Apple user as well.

I'm not sure what exactly that would suggest if true, but I think it would be interesting.

Really? I find steams suggestions to be about on par with the App Store: it tends to highlight whatever bid budget game is upcoming and never seems particularly relevant to me.

Well, that's... a point of view. I'm unconvinced it's an accurate one.

Firstly, the app model is pure genius. It means Apple gets an army of developers producing software for Apple with zero health/unemployment/other benefits, no up-front advance payments, and a limited curation cost.

The risks are entirely on the developer side. There is no downside for Apple.

Secondly momentum creates the usual extreme power law, with most of the benefits going to a small minority of developers.

What makes an app sell is some random combination of luck, faddiness, and marketing muscle.

It certainly isn't inherent quality or "fit". In fact you seem to be using "fit" as a rationalisation for app successes, not as a useful description of the processes that make an app successful - some of which seem to random.

Finally, there's the bottom line: devs like to that puts on a stage routine about having the right stuff, it's not unreasonable to expect it to do stuff right.

The point: the benefits of keeping devs onside and treating them with more respect would be immense, and probably economically incalculable.

Apple would have an instant army of fanboys/girls talking up the company to anyone who would listen. App quality would go way up to the point where iOS could potentially totally kill Android. App and hardware sales would increase further, and you'd get a classic virtuous cycle.

Unfortunately when you have a war chest heading towards $1tn you probably don't feel any need to care about the little people, and "eh - whatever" is good enough for you.

But that doesn't mean the opportunity wasn't real, or that it hasn't been squandered.

It was and it has. And that's been a bad thing for everyone - including Apple.

> Firstly, the app model is pure genius. It means Apple gets an army of developers producing software for Apple with zero health/unemployment/other benefits, no up-front advance payments, and a limited curation cost.

How is that different than say, people writing for the Commodore 64 or Windows and selling it with no connection to the company? Do you mean the alternative would be for apple write all of the software available on iOS? I don't see how third parties writing software for an operating system or device would be considered an amazing new idea.

It is different because in the case of Commodore 64/Windows/$thirdParty, the developer can do releases, pricing, refunds, etc outside of Apple's control.

... and without giving them a third of the profit (or is it revenue?)

Apple takes 30% of revenue.

To be fair, Apple handles a lot for that 30%. Accounting/Tax records, payment, bandwidth and storage etc.

They could probably afford to take less, but they do take care of a fare bit of hassle from app distribution and selling.

> "To be fair, Apple handles a lot for that 30%. Accounting/Tax records, payment, bandwidth and storage etc."

I think people would have a better opinion on that deal if it were optional.

Apple offers to take care of billing/bandwidth/storage on iOS for 30% of revenue? Neat!

Apple demands to take care of billing/bandwidth/storage on iOS for 30% of revenue? Lame.

It is optional, we use Stripe, Apple gets nothing. I am surprised there are people in software that don't know this.

No you are incorrect: If you want to sell an app for iOS, it needs to go through the App Store, and it needs to go through Apple's payment processor, be hosted by them etc, and Apple will take 30%.

There are 'work arounds' that involve being enrolled in the Enterprise Developer Program, but you're still at Apple's mercy. If they believe you're not sticking 'to the spirit of the program' (e.g. using it just to get around the App Store) they'll terminate.

Do you really believe Netflix is giving 30% to Apple?

You can't pay for Netflix from their iOS app.

I can sell an app on Apple's appstore without Apple getting a 30% cut if I use stripe?

Do you have a source for that that you can link me to? Because from this, I get the impression that is not the case: https://support.stripe.com/questions/apple-and-stripe-tos-an...

I can confirm this, it is true.

Basically, your app is not allowed to have any links to sign up, or to your website, and you can do this for eg a SaaS app.

The idea is that then you're not using the app store for marketing, it's only for servicing your existing users.

Imagine if Microsoft got a third of the revenue from Turbotax, Photoshop, AutoCAD, World of Warcraft, etc.

A better analogy might be to ask how much Wal-Mart marks up software in their store. The answer is more than Apple does. Apple's value proposition is they bring x hundred million paying customers with credit cards ready to go into the store and you will sell at least 30% more than if they didn't bring those customers to you.

Is Wal-Mart's markup still bigger than Apple's once you take out the incremental costs of dealing with physical boxes in stores [1]? Considering the substantial markups we see on things like books and DVDs, I suspect not.

[1] To be precise we should also take out Apple's incremental (not fixed) costs for delivering apps, but I suspect those are negligible on a per-app basis.

But Apple has thousands of developers producing high quality apps. There's literally zero chance that all, most, or really even a significant some of them will be enough to earn their developers significant amount of money.

How many Windows developers make enough from their one-off piece of software that they can quit their job and work full time on it? Hardly any. How many Linux developers? An even smaller amount, closer to zero (you want to talk about a platform where people expect to get free-as-in-beer software, when was the last time you paid money for any non-enterprise Linux software?). Now look at the difference between a PC and an iPhone. On a PC, you can have meaningful, long-term engagements with software. I've put hundreds of hours into each Civilization and Elder Scrolls games, thousands of hours between the entire series of each. And iPhone games advertise a huge game at under 10 hours of gameplay. I spend $50 to play a game for 500 hours. If I want that kind of return from an iPhone game, even 99 cents is way too much to spend.

I'm not arguing that the apps need to be more engaging. It's just the platform doesn't lend itself to that. It's about small bits and bites and sporadic usage. And for that, apps are even massively over-priced. And you want to argue about discoverability? How is the discoverability on Windows? And the discoverability on Linux... on Debian the package is apache2, on RHEL it's httpd. Same package. That's poor discoverability.

I'll go against the article: I'm not an Apple fanatic, I don't own a Mac, I have an iPhone as one of the many phones I use, I don't have an iPad, I've never published to the store, and I have no relationship with Apple. But is there anything wrong with the App Store? If there is, it's in developer expectations. I've written Windows and Linux software and put it up for free on my website. You know how many views it gets, let alone downloads? Zero. I get around that lack of income by having a job and developing as a hobby, like most software (except, I guess, the App Store). The App Store is an incredible thing for developers, but many developers see it as nothing more than a gold mine that they can exploit, then get upset when they only make $100/mo, even though they put in all that effort. Effort doesn't guarantee success anywhere in life.

If you feel Apple owes you anything, that's your own damn fault. There has never been a better time to be an independent developer than there is right now. But if you go in expecting people to throw money at you then blame Apple when they don't... well just because you play guitar doesn't mean your band is going to get a recording contract.

>The real complaint I hear most often is simply 'I thought I was going to make an app, publish it and make money! I haven't made money. I think the app store it broken'

Where have you heard that most often?

> A time of fewer but higher quality apps may be coming - but then there'll be complains about the selection system. Curation is hard.

Then don't curate. Simple, elegant and effective. Make side loading possible, give root to the devices that people own and make the app store optional. Nobody loses.

"Nobody loses" - of course they do. Apple protect users from themselves by making it hard to install dodgy software on their phones.

For ever alleged power user who wants to do something different there are probably 100 users for will be burnt because they don't understand that your root enabled device and other app source is a massive attack vector.

We're years into the iPhone, you knew what you were buying. Apple have spent years selling the iPhone as safe, what you propose is turning all the marketing into misconceptions for users when they think Vlad's warez site can't ruin their device.

From my view of the world the "pre Apple" app marketplace was much worse. With our J2ME apps (doing apps since 2002) we would have to distribute to 30+ different middlemen (Telcogames et al) each with differing submission requirements, invoicing/non payment issues and the kicker was only getting 20-40% (at best) of the revenue (with the price not being set by us). The holy grail being placement on operator stores with the ever fickle decisions of their games teams.

The amount of non payment, uncharged downloads, operator/distribution backhanders and outright fraud was striking. With Apple we get paid on time, I trust the download reports and it is ‘quite’ clear what the submission rules are.

The Apple (and Android) appstore just reminds me of a very pure form of business in which the barriers are low, not everyone can be a 'winner' , and Surgeon’s law applies (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sturgeon%27s_law)

I do however agree with your conclusion - neither you nor your app matter to Apple but that isn't unique to you/your app - it is just business.

>From visibility to app discovery, I feel that Apple has failed me.

As a consumer you've failed me. The store is full of useless apps, lazy clones, and fad garbage that does me no good. Write the next Dropbox and people will come pounding at your door. I'm really getting sick of all the Apple/Google bashing. We live in a time where you can trivially publish software to hundreds of millions people dying for new apps without a publisher, without cutting deals with dozens of stores, and little to no investment out of pocket.

What's so wonderful about your app? Go on, tell us. Why should it be the next success? Who exactly are you being wronged here other than the typical gen-y whining about not being a millionaire by 22.

    The App Store feels opaque and like a black box where I
    submit builds with little to no feedback or control. I
    get paid when Apple decides, and could be eradicated from
    the App Store at a moment's notice.

    Every part of developing for Apple leads me to this
    conclusion: I do not matter. My app does not matter.
Now that I'm doing iOS Development under my own company, I feel your pain.

We recently had our iOS Developer Program terminated, for what I can only assume was a gross misunderstanding on Apple's behalf. And I can only assume because Apple won't actually tell us why they terminated our account. We just got a standard form reply with zero detail. Whenever we call Developer Support, they can't/won't tell us anything. We have absolutely zero information on why they permanently expelled us from the App Store.

It's not infuriating, its soul crushing.

(sitenote: if anyone within Apple developer relations or anyone else can help us out, PLEASE email me - details are in my bio)

Is it reasonable to say you are pretty aware of why Apple terminated your account? Remember, that the hierarchy of interests that Apple follows (according to Gruber), Apple --> User --> Developer.

We have our suspicions on why Apple terminated our account, that they misunderstood some things and never sought to clarify things and just went straight to the permaban.

But they're only suspicions - we can't talk to anyone within Apple to at least get a reason, let alone explain things.

Of course I am biased, but I am 100% confident in that we were not actually doing anything wrong, and especially did not deserve termination of our developer account.

what are your suspicions?

Don't send them refunds, send them to https://reportaproblem.apple.com/ and tell them you are happy to refund them and here's how to do it. They can then go to Apple and they will process the refund for you.

You and your app technically don't matter to Apple. The 30% feels high, but overall it's really a good deal. I've made several hundred thousand dollars on the app store without almost any marketing spend. That's a good deal.

Can you share more details? What do you sell? How much time do you spend (and money?) on development? Etc.

I've made most of my money on fitness apps, with a few utilities sprinkled in early on. I've been doing it full time for a few years, with freelance supplementing the income. I've written up yearly reviews on my blog[1] a few times. I've spent a little bit on graphic design, and I've partnered and done a revenue split for some of the graphic design.

That being said, it's far from being all roses. My sales have been down some the last few years despite continuing to update (some of the apps, not all) and making new apps. There is a ton of competition and there are definitely things I'd wish Apple would change.

Mostly though you have to think of it as any other business. It's not Apple's job to sell my apps any more than it's Wal-mart or Lowe's job to sell your products. Being in the store is the only thing any of them promise, and that is a huge boost for lots of products. If you get featured (on the app store, or maybe end cap at walmart) it's gravy. I have to work to make a great product, I have to get the word out as much as possible, and I have to do a good job of ASO (or SEO if you prefer).

[1] http://www.entrelife.com/

> When I get support emails, I cannot even refund a single paying user, which means I have to send $14.99 back to the user using PayPal and eat Apple's $4.50 fee for that transaction.

Send them over to https://reportaproblem.apple.com - there they can claim a refund.

Those who purchase your apps are paying to Apple, why would YOU send them a refund? If they want a refund they have to figure that out with a marketplace not a seller.

That's the point?

Customer service is lacking this basic functionality, so this developer is providing it on the side at an increased cost.

Its not lacking. it is easily possible for users to get refunds from apple.

I have no idea why the developer isn't just asking them to go to apple for a refund.

It is very lacking, and I would not spin it as "easy" - unless you're talking about some other process than the "report a problem" path.

I'm not this developer, but if so many users are reaching out to them for refunds, then there is a definitive gap in store functionality.

It's not highly publicized, but it is in fact easy. And if there are lot of users reaching to him for refunds, he needs to improve the app because it's not as advertised. I doubt he's actually getting a ton of refund requests though. It is a thing that happens though, and when it does you inform that user how Apple's refund process goes. No reason to eat $4.50 every time.

Yes and no. For example, you buy some Sony stuff from Bestbuy, you run into a problem, yes you try to contact Bestbuy first, but they fail to you: "Well you must contact Sony now because yada yada...", you may even think "Alright, that's fair..., it's not their fault" and if Sony doesn't provide customer service nor support, I bet you, you will never buy something from the brand again, but you may buy again from the store.

It may not seem right, but a very common customer behaviour.

Customers (and people in general) shouldn't let themselves be so easily deflected. Stay on target.

When you buy a Sony-branded consumer good from SomeCo, you haven't done business with Sony, you've done it with SomeCo. If SomeCo isn't willing to back the quality of the products they stock, they should. not. stock. those products.

If you that argument does not sway whoever takes returns at SomeCo, get your credit card company to issue a chargeback. <-- USA-specific; Unfortunately I don't know what protections are available to consumers in most of the world.

should cuts no cheese in business. What happens is what customers really buy, and really do.

That one line is me offering personal life advice to anybody reading.

That comes under the Magnusson-Moss Warranty Act. In California, the Song-Beverly Warranty Act applies.[1] The retailer has to make good on the manufacturers' warranty unless the manufacturer has convenient in-state repair centers.

[1] http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=civ&gr...

If I bought a Sony tv at bestbuy - I will request a refund from bestbuy not Sony.

The point is that if BestBuy refuses to make it right for you, a manufacturer who cares about customer service and their brand may step in and give you a refund/replacement even though they're not obliged to. Which is what OP is doing instead of saying "not my problem, deal with Apple" to his customers.

No. Nobody will give you a refund. A replacement maybe, never ever a refund for the price you paid on the shop.

Okay, maybe it happened because it was something cheap, a 30$ Brita Filter, I bought at Canadian Tire and ran into issues, I've contacted them and got the cheque with full refund. It really depends on Customer Service, I would buy another Brita product for sure.

I would, too :)

When a user's disappointed with a product, they blame the creator of the product, not Apple. Not offering up good customer service would only tarnish his reputation. People will keep paying Apple no matter what, so they really don't care. People won't keep paying an unknown developer with 2 star ratings.

Can't you direct users to the "report a problem" link in the email receipt that Apple sends to them? That's how I've always dealt with users wanting a refund on iTunes.

> I'm 17 years old and a developer on the app store. The App Store feels opaque and like a black box where I submit builds with little to no feedback or control.

I've been pushing apps on the appstore form day one, there's a lot of room for improvements, but saying that you get no feedback is plain false. When an app is rejected the reasoning behind the refusal is always explained, and you have a chance to talk through the issue (sometimes I had the reviewer calling me on the phone). In the end it's just a matter of following the guidelines.

> Every part of developing for Apple leads me to this conclusion: I do not matter. My app does not matter.

We all like to think we're special, millions of developers do, that's true for the appstore, and the same goes for the open web.

Apple is providing one of the widest most open distribution markets ever available besides the internet/web, but here the expectations of gaining revenues is easier with one touch buying, no guarantee, but less hurdles.

For the price of that we are all sharecroppers in a feudal market where Apple is the King.

>Every part of developing for Apple leads me to this conclusion: I do not matter. My app does not matter.

Well, it's not any different for any other marketplace, including the general internet.

There are millions of apps and millions of developers out there. Of course they don't matter...

> I'm 17 years old and a developer on the app store

Then you probably committed fraud when creating your Developer account. Apple requires you to certify that you are at least 18 years old in order to join the developer program. So does every other means of receiving USD payment on the internet (Paypal, Stripe, BTC exchanges, etc). I hesitate to say it's impossible, but the system is set up in such a way that if you are an Internet entrepreneur under the age of 18 you are probably breaking the law.

I've never heard of Apple doing this, but PayPal is known to freeze accounts it discovers are held by minors and walk away with their money. You probably don't want to advertise the fact that you're 17.

> I'm 17 years old and a developer on the app store

I did this when I was 14. Except, technically, my dad was the developer. It's really easy to make that work, and it's completely legal.

My iTunes Connect account is in a different name than my own for the time being. For my Stripe account, an email from a guardian indicating consent is enough for me to have my account under their terms. I appreciate your concern and I have looked into all of these areas.

> I've never heard of Apple doing this

An old example of this:


Maybe his or her parents signed?

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