The Developers are Rioting in KindleTown
Until today. There’s a fascinating post over it iReaderReview that offers a behind the scenes look. Amazon’s approval process for games and apps for the Kindle is long, obtuse, and probably designed to sap the developers' will to live.
BTW, iReaderReview, besides being an excellent Kindle blog, is run by the folks behind 7Dragon, a developer with several games and apps on the Kindle. In terms of reliability I would call them a two-fer. They have demonstrable inside knowledge and they are creditable bloggers.
And they’re not happy. Amazon has given them the run around, rejected apps based on changes made at Amazon request, and also bounced apps for frivolous reasons.
Their post today focuses on just one of the apps that Amazon won’t let them release for the Kindle. It’s an app that teaches speed reading, and they first submitted the app back in October of 2010 – over a year ago. It offers a 7 day course and includes 15 pd ebooks to work with. But it doesn’t let you read any ebook sold by Amazon (it’s against the rules).
So they’ve had this app ready to release for over a year, but Amazon won’t let them because:
- lack of credentials to release a reading speed app
- legal concerns (BS)
- users might give it a negative review (BS)
- the price is too high (let them make it Wifi only, then)
The only possible valid concern is the lack of credentials, but that only holds up until you really think it through. Amazon cannot really care about credentials; after all, they let anyone publish just about anything in the Kindle Store, don’t they? So why would credentials matter for app developers?
But it’s not just the one app. They also had to fight with Amazon to get their apps updated, which only happened after they threatened to pull their apps out of the Kindle Store. They also have other apps, including some very cool ones, which Amazon won’t let them release.
They did eventually get their Notepad app out of Amazon’s clutches, but Notes with Email is still buried under Amazon’s disapproval. The second app would have allowed you to email your notes to yourself (that is so very shiny). And they have even more apps, including a photo album, "please return me", and personality test apps.
Just think. If there’s some app that you wish you could have on your kindle, it’s probably already been made. The reason you don’t have it is that Amazon won’t release it.
In conclusion, let me put this rant into perspective. I’ve known these folks for just over a year, and Ive never been able to get them to comment on the app process. They had always been afraid of Amazon and didn’t want to rock the boat. But now they are so pissed with Amazon that they don’t care anymore. They are airing Amazon’s dirty laundry in public and daring Amazon to respond. What we have here is effectively a scorched earth policy towards Amazon. That is how pissed off they are.
But this should really come as no surprise. We’ve heard many past complaints about Amazon’s high-handedness before,
both in how they treat Android developers (here, here) and in the way they have treated customers.
The greater surprise is that anyone still submits apps. If this is the norm for Amazon’s behavior then I wonder why we haven’t seen actual rioting.
P.S. If anyone cares to share their horror stories, I will protect your anonymity.