Monday, September 5, 2011

Android Market Horror Story

As a registered Android developer with a published application on the Android Market, I'm becoming more amazed each day by how bad the Android Market team is supporting their developers.

The relationship between developers and the Android Market has never been good, caused to a large degree by the many bugs and issues developers are facing on that Android Market.

The reason for me writing this post was something that happened a couple of days ago on the Android Market. Have a look at the video below to see what happens when users try to search for my application :

A couple of days before, a fellow developer contacted me that his sales dropped to almost zero since the new Android Market was released. When I went on the Market to search for his app, I noticed the following:

It's not only end users who are facing serious issues in finding, downloading and purchasing applications, but developers are having a very difficult time in getting any kind of support from Google for the many issues they are facing.

One should not forget that Google is taking 30% of all sales. Something that they are entitled to, and something I don't have any issue with whatsoever, but on the other hand, developers should expect some level of quality and support coming from the Android Market when working in such a model.

A couple of weeks ago, Google has decided to close the Market Technical Forum for developers, making it an end-user forum only. To quote Google, "Because of the nature of developer issues, we feel that one-on-one support is best for the types of threads that have historically been posted to this forum by app developers."

The Android Market forum was a place where developers could interact with each other on market specific issues, however, it seemed Google noticed that the forum was full of frustrated developers, making the Market look bad. Every once in a while, external sites like The Register started picking up stories from the forum, like when developers were not getting paid for a part of their app sales.

Every once in awhile a Google employee posted something on the forum, mostly to state that they are looking into the issue.No due dates, no updates, effectively leaving developers all alone to rant about the various issues they are having.

A forum might indeed not be the best way to deal with issues, but obviously a one-on-one support model also does not work in its current form. Either their support team is heavily under-staffed, or issues are given very low priority. I have the impression that Google is trying to hide these issues from the public instead of actually put effort in resolving them properly.

Like me, many developers have logged tickets via email and don't get any response beyond "look at the known issues page", or worse, no response at all. This seems very strange for a service that is taking 30% of your profits. I wonder what kind of support big companies are getting when it comes to getting their issues resolved.

Clearly, there is a need for support giving the many (sometimes serious) issues users and developers are facing with the Android Market. Just have a look at the known issues pages for both users and developers.
The issues that stand out for me, that have been open for a long time, and are hurting independent developers are listed below.

It's about time Google starts taking the Android Market seriously, but putting in place a decent support model, staffing the team appropriately and really start looking into resolving these issues. If not, I'm convinced that many developers will steer away from Android as a development platform.


  1. Android is one of the fast moving mobile application due to its Incredible features.I like your blog foundation.
    Android app developers

  2. I've also noticed about it, android market or the play store doesn't make a good search results for what users really needed. I also tried to install yahoo messenger voice plug-in but it never comes out.

    Elle from jupe tutu 

  3. It’s never too late to improve your information and your contents inspire me.
    android rooting software

  4. The people not reading your blogs are missing out a lot of quality contents.
    one click root droid x