The story spread around the Internet largely due to one statistic:
That’s right, Amazon gave away 101,491 copies of our app! At this point, we had a few seconds of excitement as well, had we mis-read the email and really earned $54,800 in one day? We would have done if our public agreement was in place, but we can now confirm that thanks to Amazon’s secret back-door deals, we made $0 on that day. That’s right, over 100,000 apps given away, $0 made.
I’ve seen some blogs report that Amazon claimed it gave all developers of such “Free Apps of the Day” 20% of their usual sale price per giveaway, while actually giving Shifty Jelly nothing, but that’s not the true story; Shifty Jelly did know in advance that Amazon wouldn’t give them a single cent, and had the option not to give Pocket Casts away as a Free App of the Day.
No, Shifty Jelly was actually calling Amazon out for allowing the public to think that they’d be somehow helping the developers out by downloading their free apps; for their lengthy review times (it takes up to two weeks to get a new update approved); for being able to change the sale price of the app at any time; and for being generally underhanded.
So, boo hiss to big bully Amazon, right? Well… not exactly. The terms of service that developers agree to when they sign up allow Amazon to do all of these things, and Amazon do let the developers know that they won’t make any cash from participating in their promotion, even if they don’t shout that fact from the rooftops to the public. Plus, it’s an alternative Market; it’s not like it’s the only place for developers to sell their apps.
Developers are already weighing in on this issue elsewhere, but I want to know what customers think. Does this behavior put you off buying apps from Amazon? Vote in the poll, and let me know what you think in the comments.