(again…) Why the Android Market is not the right place for developers?

I’ve been working in Android platform for more than two years now. For two years I read many articles around the web which say the same: the android market is not developer friendly.

After two years of patience i finally decided to state about that and my final thought has no doubt: the Android Market is bad.

There are the reasons why i finally concluded that:

1- Google does not want to support paid apps as much as free apps. From the beginning, how Google builds their “user flow”, it’s not helping paid apps. Because Google wants to build a Google checkout users base, we may see some hope with the new Google wallet program.

If it was only that…

2- The refund politics is unfair. To illegally copy the app and then ask for refund is so easy on Android I truly believe that 1/3 of the refund rate is due to piracy. The licensing API is not good. From my pov, the licensing code should not be hold by the developer but Google itself! You may want to know that there is 30% banking transactions failure (from my own numbers), ~2/3 of them is due to a customer request, 1/3 is technical issues.

If it was only that…

3- No approval process is NOT the way to go. Freedom is good but anarchy is a mess. How many crap apps are flooding the market every day? the market is messy, it’s impossible for the users to find out relevant applications. Check on the new app category… it’s just disgusting. Approval process has more benefits than disadvantages, it prevents malware/malfunction apps for users, it gives feedback to the developers, it keeps the market clean and reliable. Actually I believe Google does not want to provide approval process only because it will cost them too much. And because again they want to promote free apps, they believe in “user-base” rating/censorship, just like the web… NO the Market SHOULD NOT be like the web. The Market is a reliable place for developers and users to sell and buy, publish and enjoy, support and be supported… Unfortunately the market is far from that today.

If it was only that…

4- The developer console is really BAD. Managing applications is painful and dangerous (because of the bad design of the dashboard). There is no way to get in touch with users directly, there is no promotion code system, no offers system (discount, package…) there is no way for users to report issues to developers. The download report is not reliable and numbers are difficult to analyze. The report system is often down, statistics are not reliable (active installs are usually wrong, no statistics for users updates), the Google checkout dashboard is a mess, can’t do anything with that numbers, except maybe the payouts… I’m still amazed by the fact that we cannot create users account for the developer console with different rights!! It’s like Google thinks all the apps on the market are one man-job… no there are companies with Team! We need accounting rights, developer right, publisher right… Should i give full access to my account to all the developers in my team?! No i should be able to define role and applications which are linked to each account.. many many improvements need to be done here…this is crazy…

If it was only that…

5- Google does not recognize the efforts of all the developers who work hard to build nice and useful apps (even if the platform is so fragmented) because if they do they would ANSWER to their support email! This is the last but not least… the support service from Google is awful, we never or rarely got answer from anybody, it seems there is only machines in Google or what?

This is non respect for all of us who support the platform from the beginning even if it still hard to gain money, this is non respect for all of us who work hard everyday to build apps even if the platform is so fragmented, this is non respect for all of us who believe in Google.

Ok let’s talk about the future now what can we do as an optimistic developer? 🙂

– Publish the Android app in others stores like Amazon app store. I will give you soon my feedbacks, i just started today.

– Learn and publish apps on others platform such as Windows, iOs..

There is no hate but only love in this post! 🙂


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