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How Apple kills indie developers #695

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glushchenko opened this issue Sep 26, 2019 · 24 comments

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@glushchenko
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commented Sep 26, 2019

Over 2 year I am develop FSNotes app, over 1000 commits pushed. I write code almost every day and this is really hard work.

FSNotes available for free in brew and GitHub. I love this app. One motivation point for me was AppStore sales, and this is now ruined by Apple.

This message written after 50 days awaiting approving my iOS app – FSNotes Manager.

Case history

50 days ago I received this message in AppStore Connect:

Aug 6, 2019 at 6:45 AM
From Apple
Hello,

We are unable to continue this app’s review because your Apple Developer Program account is currently under investigation for not following the App Store Review Guidelines’ Developer Code of Conduct

During our investigation, we will not review any apps you submit. Once we have completed our investigation, we will notify you via Resolution Center. Due to the nature of the investigation you will be ineligible to receive an expedited review until the investigation is completed.

We do not require any additional information from you at this time, nor do we have any additional details to share. We appreciate your continued patience during our investigation.

Best regards,

App Store Review

I tried to appeal and got this:

We understand your concern regarding this investigation. However, your account is still under investigation and no action has been taken against it at this time. We are investigating your apps, account, and any related accounts to ensure compliance with the App Store Review Guidelines, Developer Code of Conduct, and Apple Developer Program License Agreement.

Once we have completed our investigation, we will notify you via Resolution Center of any next steps. Due to the nature of the investigation you will be ineligible to receive an expedited review until the investigation is completed.

If we require any additional information about your app or account, we will contact you. We appreciate your continued patience during our investigation.

No any additional info. WTF?

Letter written by bot, and you can Google it by key words https://forums.developer.apple.com/thread/116331

Many people with locked apps awaiting response from Apple. App store team silent from 1 to 3 month, and then unlock (?) reviewing process without any explanations. All these people paid for membership 99 $ and get nothing in results.

This is OK, App Store Team?

I am tried to connect via developers support page, and got same – nothing.

Hello Oleksandr,

I understand that you do not agree with the way the investigation is being carried out. However, until the investigation in to your account is competed no apps under your account will be reviewed.

I know that you would like information to share with your users regarding your app, but until the investigation is completed I will not have any updates or additional information to share.

Thank you for your continued patience throughout the investigation.

I think it's time to explain to the developers, what going on, Apple?

Please share and repost this.

https://news.ycombinator.com/edit?id=21084209
https://www.reddit.com/r/apple/comments/d9o10b/how_apple_kills_indie_developers/

@glushchenko glushchenko changed the title How Apple kill indie developers How Apple kills indie developers Sep 26, 2019
@jpantuso

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commented Sep 26, 2019

Are you 100% certain you have not violated anything?
https://developer.apple.com/app-store/review/guidelines/

It is super annoying that it has been such a long time and they aren't communicating to you. This sort of thing can be life threatening for an indy developer with a family.

@sfermigier

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commented Sep 26, 2019

@jpantuso How can he be sure of anything if they don't give him any useful information?

@glushchenko

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commented Sep 26, 2019

@jpantuso I'm not 100% sure of course. But why not respond? :( Very sad. FSNotes not best of the best, but not worst.

Sent with GitHawk

@lucasverra

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commented Sep 26, 2019

I have not read the entire thing, but hopefully this is just a mistake, hang in there. As they say in France, "Bon courage !"

image

@BernhardBln

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commented Sep 26, 2019

You seem to be back 😉

@UnforbiddenYet

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commented Sep 26, 2019

@glushchenko Ти певен що дійсно не порушив нійких норм чи правил?
Я б тобі радив писати їм листи із проханням розʼяснення на пошту, в твіттер і різні канали звʼязку.

Я про твоє нещастя дізнався із твіттера HN - https://twitter.com/newsycombinator/status/1177312393229152256. Почни тред на HN в коментарях, можливо хтось із спільноти мав схожу проблему і допоможе.

Удачі!

@churchofthought

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commented Sep 26, 2019

Hang in there bub. Could just be a mistake

@jupiterkenji

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commented Sep 26, 2019

This is not good; I also read about app that has big disadvantage because apple has similar product. I reckon we need public mobile app platform.

@petercunha

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commented Sep 26, 2019

I hate that these things are practically automated by bots - developers have very little recourse when it comes to disputing these claims with an actual human at Apple.

I hope everything clears up soon for you, best of luck @glushchenko

@glushchenko

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commented Sep 26, 2019

@petercunha thank you 👍🏻

@UnforbiddenYet дякую за підтримку 🇺🇦

@BernhardBln

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commented Sep 27, 2019

Hm maybe I got this wrong, but when I open your app in the app store, at least it seems I could click the buy button? Or did they not suspend selling your current app, but only updating it?

@wmealing

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commented Sep 27, 2019

When you build for a walled garden monoculture, you should not be surprised when you find the wall or worse.. when the wall finds you. Open platforms are a better choice for developing on and at least you have options when things go south.

Good luck, i somehow feel as though the sunken cost fallacy will keep developers on this platform for longer than it deserves to live.

@scottleey

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commented Sep 27, 2019

guys - You have to recognise that Apple is competing against you. They have all the incentive to put you under investigation to advance their own interest. The platform who purportedly is helping you has an app that is your competitor. what do you think is going to happen when they have the leeway to do whatever they want? of course my claim is without any grounds but I wouldnt be surprised if there's some motive around that.

@davidglassborow

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commented Sep 27, 2019

@gingerbeardman

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commented Sep 27, 2019

This is so disheartening! It is guilty until proven innocent.

I've had similar experiences as a seller on eBay: when a buyer reports you they react in favour of the buyer because buyers make their business model work.

I suspect it's the same here, that Apple have received some sort of complaint about the iOS app (given that the macOS app is unaffected) and the automatic "guilty until proven innocent" system has been activated. And sadly the only thing to do is wait for it to finish. It could be something like waiting 60 or 90 days without any further complaints of the same nature. You could hope for intervention by a sympathetic App Store employee or rep, but I don't know how likely that will be.

To add insult to injury there is also the fact that this is an open source app and dishonest people are cloning it and selling it, and Apple are slow to take them down if they do at all.

Hm maybe I got this wrong, but when I open your app in the app store, at least it seems I could click the buy button? Or did they not suspend selling your current app, but only updating it?

@BernhardBln They are refusing to review/approve new versions of the FSNotes iOS app. But FSNotes macOS app is unaffected, which makes things stranger.

@iszlailorand

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commented Sep 27, 2019

It's simple, all the lookalike companies... don't care about this kind of situations, don't care at all. They will delay you by default and delay times are at the max limit 2-3 months... because: "they have a lot of request" and they don't have enough employees... but they have record revenues and they brag about them... what a paradoxal situation. If you pass this "small app" status and reach miliions of users, the next step is a small meeting where they audit your app... and multiply the value of your app with a number between 5-10 and reach you with "an offer that you can't refuse" and block every good willing app on the market, or change the initial idea of the app... that is modern censorship.

@julian-goldsmith

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commented Sep 27, 2019

@wmealing: Open platforms are definitely preferable for developers, but don't have anywhere near as many users. At the moment, if you want to reach the vast majority of mobile users, you have to go through either the App Store or the Play Store.

@hmans

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commented Sep 28, 2019

The bank always wins.

@Pusnow

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commented Oct 1, 2019

How about AltStore?

@glushchenko

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commented Oct 2, 2019

Finally update approved without any clarifications.

In AppStore connect i am still see this error:

4A04444E-5E0D-4425-B9DF-F2157E09106B

Fucking Apple.

@gingerbeardman

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commented Oct 2, 2019

Where does the "1 unresolved iOS issue" link take you?

@matchavez

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commented Oct 7, 2019

Purchased MacOS in support.

@glushchenko

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commented Oct 8, 2019

@gingerbeardman to resolution center ...

Sent with GitHawk

@wmealing

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commented Oct 8, 2019

@wmealing: Open platforms are definitely preferable for developers, but don't have anywhere near as many users. At the moment, if you want to reach the vast majority of mobile users, you have to go through either the App Store or the Play Store.

There are other options and while not as popular would have had significant more clout if developers decided to use them. The trade off for 'more users' was not a big decision when the iP* devices were first being made, developers made the decision then that the walled garden was more profitable than the alternatives with no consideration of the long term.

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