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Something is rotten in Amazon’s App Store

Developer calls out bookseller on bad practices
Wed Aug 03 2011, 11:50

THE CONTROVERSIALLY named Amazon App Store has attracted criticism from someone other that Steve Jobs, a disgruntled software developer.

Just three months into using the Amazon App Store, Shifty Jelly, an apps developer, has nothing good to say about the experience. It does, however, have a lot of bad to say about Amazon's pricing and promotions.

"Amazon's biggest feature by far, has been their Free App Of The Day promotion. Publicly their terms say that they pay developers 20% of the asking price of an app, even when they give it away free. To both consumers and naive developers alike, this seems like a big chance to make something rare in the Android world: real money," wrote the firm in a blog post.

"But here's the dirty secret Amazon don't want you to know, they don't pay developers a single cent."

Unfortunately for developers Amazon offers a Free App of the day position on its app store, a placing that it described as one of the best on the web site. The chance to appear here is offered to developers in a cloud of puff and camaraderie, but apparently it is a software developer's worst enemy - a vicious assault on its earnings expectations.

Developers get an email from the firm, according to the post, which offers them the chance to appear in this prized slot. The catch? They won't make any money out of it.

"As you may already know, the Free App of the Day offer placement is one of the most visible and valuable spaces on the Amazon Appstore. We would like to include your app '[name removed]' in our Free App of the Day calendar," it says.

"We have seen tremendous results from this promotion spot and believe it will bring you a great deal of positive reviews and traffic. It is an opportunity to build your brand especially in association with a brand like Amazon's. The current price of this placement is at 0% rev share for that one day you are placed."

Shifty Jelly is not impressed with this, and nor does it seem to be impressed with the 80 per cent cut that Amazon takes out of any sales anyway, and it put this to the bookseller, which in turn told it to consider itself lucky.


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