A few weeks back I launched a website called SaveMyHouseFromApple.com.
Admittedly, the domain name is a bit over the top (in a mildly awesome way). But the problems discussed and highlighted are very real.
Here's what happened, in a nutshell:
On Saturday, February 18th (which was my birthday... a fact which has no actual relevance to this story... but I think it's rather funny) Apple experienced a technical glitch in their systems. This glitch resulted in the termination of my Mac Developer account and the removal of my software from the Mac App Store.
Being as I am an indie software developer (with a wife, kid, dog, fish and two goats to feed) this was very concerning. Despite the fact that I release my software for multiple platforms (including Linux and Windows), a critical amount of my income comes from the Mac App Store. An income I depend upon.
But, I figured, no biggy. These little technical issues crop up from time to time. "I'm sure Apple will have it fixed first thing Monday morning," I thought.
A few days passed...
I managed to talk to someone from Apple that Tuesday (I was starting to get a little nervous... as I'd already lost 4 days of sales). Sounded like everything should be fixed and back to normal within a matter of hours.
Over the course of the week that followed I never heard a peep from Apple. No replies to my emails. No returned calls for my voicemail messages. Nothing.
And, of course, my software was still unavailable in the Mac App Store. At that point this had now been going on... for a little less than 2 weeks. Half a month of sales lost.
Now, I completely get that technical problems can take some time to fix. But the fact that Apple pretty much just went dark for two weeks made me nervous. Very, very nervous.
So I launched SaveMyHouseFromApple.com for three reasons:
- The lost revenue was pretty killer. So I set up a system where people could "help me out" and, in exchange, get copies all of my software (and my game... and my comics). Basically it was a combination of a killer "pay what you want sale" and me standing with my hat in my hand.
- I hoped that by talking so publicly about Apple's issues, Apple might be more motivated to fix the problem (that part worked... at least partially... for a moment).
- And last, but not least, I wanted Apple to know that they needed to fix their internal processes so that their third party developers were treated properly (a returned call or email at the very least).
And, the site helped. Apple got in gear and "temporarily" restored my software to their App Store almost immediately.
By "temporarily" I mean "only until March 15th". Their thinking was that this would allow them time to fix whatever the initial problem in their system was. So they set my Developer account to expire on March 15th (who knows why) because that would be "more than enough time".
(Just to call attention to that... they actually fixed the problem. But put a time limit on the fix so that they could... fix the problem. If your brain starts to bleed a little after reading that... you're not alone.)
Today is March 15th.
And my Mac Developer Account is still broken (stuck in a state of "pending" according to their system... where it's been stuck for almost a month).
So. What will happen now?
Will my software be pulled from the Mac App Store again? Who knows. Because I haven't been able to get anyone at Apple to return my calls.
So now I wait. And hope for the best (I'm not optimistic).
(And, while I wait, you better believe I'm trying to figure out how to completely end my reliance on the Mac App Store...)
Update: As I typed this, Apple's stock had hit $600 per share.