Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Developer Accounts Nearly Terminated

Zac Wood (via Paul Haddad):

Submitted a minor update for @AtticsApp after nearly two years on the App Store and @Apple has decided out of nowhere that I have been engaging in “a pattern of manipulative or misleading behavior” and has permanently terminated my account. No evidence or specific reasons given.

It started after a build got rejected without a reason last week. A couple of days after, I received a message very similar to the screenshot that my account is being terminated. I appealed, trying to get info on what exactly the problem is, and then got the last message

Despite not telling him what he’s accused of, Apple writes:

This appeal decision is final, and any subsequent appeals you file will be closed without review.

Nathan Lawrence:

I cannot tell you how often I’ve seen this or a similar message, whether in personally helping someone or in a news story - and how often those then get reversed, like they say won’t happen, because there was a mistake.

This costs Apple nothing, but it’s terrifying for us.

Zac Wood, after some help from running to the press, which “never helps”:

Attics has been approved and my account will no longer be terminated -- apparently my app had been copied across the App Store many times and it wasn’t caught that mine was the original.

Gui Rambo:

This is scary. It’s not the first time Apple bans a developer because copies of that developer’s app (the original) were found on the store. If Apple is not good enough to determine who’s the owner of the original app, they’re not good enough to make these types of decisions.

If you are an iOS developer and you see copies of your app in the App Store, it is now your job to monitor the store for such copies and alert Apple, otherwise your entire developer account is at risk.

Ironically, I know of at least one case where the developer rightfully pointed out copyright violations of their app in the App Store, but in the end Apple banned their account because they couldn’t figure out who was the developer of the original app. 🙃

Tom Angistalis (via Chuq Von Rospach):

This happened with @FilmNoirApp back in May. The app was only available in TestFlight and out of nowhere we receive almost exactly the same email after we asked why our account was going to be terminated. Of course they didn’t tell us at first what was the reason.

Tom Angistalis:

We wanted to have a good user experience and open all links in the app, does that mean that we are responsible for all third party content? What baffles me is that the review team didn’t say anything about it until a tweet got some attention


We changed all links to open in native iOS Safari app and that deemed acceptable. Now the real question why they can’t tell you exactly that but they also ignore your appeal?

We simply asked what was the issue and they responded back by saying that our account was going to be terminated and the app review team wouldn’t consider any more appeals.

Of course, the rules are applied unevenly, and other apps are allowed to display links directly in the app.


6 Comments RSS · Twitter

Hardik Panjwani

I get that there are a lot of issues with how Apple is managing the App Store. What I don’t get is why indie developers are letting Epic be their representative for this matter.

Why can’t a couple of hundred developers unionize formally or informally and write a letter to Apple that laid out improvements to the store? See what the response is from Apple and if it is dismissive then go public with the whole issue. That PR move I would have huge sympathy with.

If you guys do do this, then most likely the response would be inclusive and you would probably get a sizable fraction of the things you want. There will be some points of contention that stay unresolved but there will be progress as well. This is the same company that publicly admitted that they fucked up with the trashcan Mac Pro so its not as if they are incapable or unwilling to learn from past mistakes.

"most likely the response would be inclusive and you would probably get a sizable fraction of the things you want"

I really really don't think so. Even with the Mac Pro, Apple didn't listen. They made a Mac that's only really appropriate for the super high end market of video editors making feature films or TV commercials with huge budgets. Regular users who want some pro features don't have $6,000 to spend. There's still no $2,500-4,000 Mac Pro for the rest of us --- something half the size of the big Mac Pro, with performance equivalent to (or better than) the best iMac, with lots of ports, 2 (or more) slots for adding drives, user replaceable RAM, and 2 or 3 PCIe slots.

To compare it to cars, right now our only option is a Honda or a Ferrari. Where's the BMW?

Old Unix Geek

@Hardik Panjwani

Apple views Indies like gum stuck to their shoe. They pretend to care, in a generic kind of way. Come to WWDC, you'll learn so much! We develop APIs for our devs! But they don't actually. If they did, you wouldn't see so many developers being ignored. The only thing they really care about is money.

"Regular users who want some pro features don't have $6,000 to spend. There's still no $2,500-4,000 Mac Pro for the rest of us --- something half the size of the big Mac Pro"

And it is woefully overpriced as well. The baseline Mac Pro with 1TB storage costs 7000 Euro in the Netherlands. A few weeks ago I built a new machine for with a Ryzen 3700X, which has the same GeekBench score as the baseline Mac Pro, 32GB RAM, Radeon RX580, and a 1TB SSD. It cost ~1300 Euro. So, it's basically the same configuration as a Mac Pro at less than a 5th of the price.

I would have loved to have such a powerful machine with macOS. But I am not going to pay five times as much to get a similar configuration.

I love Apple's current MacBook lineup, they are competitively priced. Desktops, not so much.

>you would probably get a sizable fraction of the things you want


People make "open letter to Apple" attempts like this regularly, and they get nothing.

>why indie developers are letting Epic be their representative

Nobody is letting Epic do anything. Epic just happens to be the only company who's big enough to do something, and has the desire to do something, so they made themselves the representative. Nobody wanted Epic as their representative, and nobody is letting Epic be the representative, but Epic *is* the representative, and there's not going to be anyone else.

Either pick this chance to win, or lose. Those are the two options.

If you're talking about the Japanese devs, they simply see no other recourse.

You can't fight Goliath, you leave that to (any) larger organization to do so. In this case, Epic and the JFTC.

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