Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) decision to unceremoniously dump Android Market's Just In app section is causing concern and questions among smaller Android developers who say the move is translating to diminished sales and download totals. Google removed the Just In section with its latest Android Market update, a decision prompting two separate Android Market Help forum discussions, installing in its place "Top New Free" and "Top New Paid" categories spotlighting apps under 30 days old.
"That section was my only chance of getting my apps [noticed]," writes one Android developer, while another states "The Just In section was most of our tickets to a better life. I can surely say my plans at a better life with the Android Market being my ticket is totally down the drain. Doing updates that are needed for sizing and posting new apps up almost every single day were getting me sales all day long from the Just In section. The only way for my apps to get exposure is through keywords, and a suspension is in the works if keywords are being spammed into all my listings! Google obviously needs a facelift. You can take our money and treat us like crap. Reminds me a lot like Walmart."
The removal of the Just In section is one of several recent points of contention among the Android Developer community. A number of developers are arguing that recent Android Market payments do not correspond with the number of premium applications they've actually sold via the storefront. The issues date back as least as far as late July, with a post to the Android Market Help Forum stating "Something I noticed the last 2 days: the list of orders in the payout doesn't match the list of charged orders. And I don't mean that I miss one or two orders... no I'm getting payed [sic] out for less than the half of all orders!" Other Android developers subsequently indicated they've grappled with the same issues, determining that all uncounted purchases were initiated using the Android Market web store. Consumer credit cards were reportedly charged and marked as shipped through Google Checkout, but developers were not reimbursed.
Google has since stepped forward to confirm it is aware of the payment snafus. "We're working on fixing it," a Google employee with the username HeidiLC stated. "Once the fix goes out (soon!), orders should be moved to the correct state, which will enable disbursement amounts to be recovered. So if your July activity payouts were underpaid, you will be notified, and your September 1 payout will contain the missing amounts." Google has not clarified when it expects to fully resolve the issue.
Android Market has also suffered from app search result problems in recent weeks. On July 1, developer Kof Software created this Android Market Help Forum thread reporting that its app no longer surfaced in Android Market search results even when the query cited the app by exact name: "Applications that have less than 50 downloads, unrelated titles and ZERO reviews are ousting my apps on the charts which is completely ridiculous!" Kof Software wrote. "Has the search algorithm been changed or is this simply a glitch?"
The thread has now generated more than 1,200 responses, with one Android developer stating that downloads dropped 80 percent over the last month. Another blames an Android Market bug for an app rating decline from an average of 4.35 stars to 4.05 stars. Although Google has said it is aware of the problem and investigating its source, recent Android Market Help Forum comments indicate the bug may still be active.
- read this Phandroid article
App payment issues bedevil Android Market developers
Developers fume as Android Market apps disappear from search results
Android Market fights fragmentation with multiple APK support
Google rolls out Swiffy Flash-to-HTML5 conversion tool
Google yanks new wave of malware-infected apps from Android Market