updated 09:45 pm EDT, Mon August 8, 2011
Shifty Jelly sees sales bounce back post-Amazon
ShiftyJelly said in an interview during episode 20 of the All About Android podcast revealed that the company had bounced back from going unpaid by Amazon. The Australian developer's Russell Ivanovic noted that sales of apps were up across the board, including not just at the Appstore but Android Market and even the iPhone. Some, after hearing how Amazon had switched the terms of the deal in secret, deleted their Amazon copies of Pocket Casts and bought the Android Market version.
iPhone sales are still overall noticeably stronger, Ivanovic said. That was likely owed to the company's much longer three-year presence on Apple's App Store where Android was still relatively new. Android Market sales in turn were considerably healthier than on Amazon's store.
The podcast hosts also confirmed that Amazon was using bait-and-switch pricing agreements with other developers. Nick Gotch of Fieldrunners creator Subatomic Studios e-mailed the show to confirm that Amazon had also told his company that it had to agree to making no money from the Free App of the Day promo. As with Shifty Jelly, Subatomic's deal resulted in a deluge of new users while the app was free but saw downloads almost immediately settle down the day after the promo expired.
Amazon hasn't formally addressed the complaints or changed the terms it uses to sell to developers. As of Monday, it still promises developers at least 20 percent cuts during giveaways or heavy discounts. The retailer is known to ask developers not to mention its attempt to reduce the cut to zero and has made other controversial policies, such as requiring that developers ask permission to remove their own apps.
The company had envisioned its store as a way of reducing Google's control over what apps are allowed and of creating a vehicle for its own services much like Apple's portal. Its recent decisions have raised controversy as it suggests that the company is arranging the terms such that it draws attention to itself but offers little help to developers.