App Store Customers Are Neither Bad Nor Good by Default

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Garret Murray’s most recent post on his blog, the land where posts do not have titles, is about what happened last week with his (lovely) application, Ego. In it, he basically vents about being a single developer caught between a rock (customers angry that something stopped working) and a hard place (Apple’s arcane approvals process). His frustration is completely understandable with regards to Apple, but I think his larger concern is wrong. In the post, he says this:

This kind of thing continually reinforces something I’ve thought about a lot since the App store was released, which sounds horrible to say but it might be true: Apple is creating an ecosystem of the kind of customers I don’t want.

John Gruber thought it important enough to link to the post using that link as illustration, with the title “Are App Store Customers Good Customers?” This time, though, I think the question is already answered: No, not realy. But the App Store doesn’t create Good or Bad Customers, either. Sturgeon’s Law just as well here as anywhere. What the App Store does do is make it very easy for a user to complain when the mood strikes them.

It’s hard not be frustrated when you have to wait for something beyond your control, but the simple facts are these:

  1. Garrett charged money for an application.

  2. The amount of money is irrelevant.

  3. The application sold Google Analytics support in the same breath as support for other applications that have solid developer APIs

  4. In doing so created an expectation that GA support was “stable” and “not likely to break at the whims of Google with no warning.”

  5. You cannot blame any customer for being angry when that happened.

Do I agree that the users leaving many of these comments are probably huge assholes? Yes. Could Apple do more to mitigate the costs for Developers when something goes wrong? Yes. But the frustration that made Mr. Murray write his blog post is the very same kind of frustration that made those customers, assholes or not, write their negative reviews.

More users means more sales means more assholes.

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My name is Phil Nelson and I make beautiful objects for a troubled world. I'm a designer / developer / writer / director / editor / narrator at Occipital.

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