blarg?

Stereotypecasting

Capital-N, Capital-T

(Update: The Shorter Daring Fireball.)

An anonymous friend of mine has mentioned to me a couple of times, particularly following the regularly-scheduled brouhaha surrounding MacHeist 3, that Mac developers seem to have a pretty bizzare relationship with things like customers and money. Via noted Apple fanboy John Gruber of Daring Fireball, he referred me to one Marco Arment arguing that:

I’m not interested in arguing the specifics of the MacHeist deal with developers. I’m sure that nobody will argue the core of it: these applications are being sold at a steep discount. My point is whether it’s a good idea, as conscientious consumers, to accept such steep discounts on The products that we use and love. My argument is that it’s not.

And Simon Manganelli arguing that

“If you’re buying MacHeist, you’re a cheap fucking bastard, and it makes me queasy that so many in the Mac community would buy into such a thing.”

I figured this might just be two people who were either dumb or shortsighted or both, but then I came across this today:

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.

The story, as he describes it, is that he has created an iPhone application that sold through the Apple’s App Store and depended on Google Analytics. Then at some point Google cut off the app’s unsupported access to its data, causing people to report that it was broken, because it was. He contacted Google to sort out the problem, which took some time, and then resubmitted his app to the App Store approval process, which is also taking time. In the meantime, people are giving his current app bad reviews; it doesn’t work, after all. And when a customer fails to look over the problems marked “resolved” before submitting his problem (“Sorry. It’s still not resolved for me.”) he brings the snark: “Apparently they didn’t understand that “solved” was a relative term.”

It’s the strangest thing: It’s not Google’s cutting off the app (called “Ego.app”, pegging the irony-meter at delicious), it’s not Apple for not being willing or able to rush the update process, and it’s certainly not the developer’s fault for shipping a broken product. It’s irrelevant that the developers involved in MacHeist got involved freely, knowing what the deal was up front. No, the person in the wrong here is the customer. Those cheap bastards, who buy things on sale or complain when they don’t work, they make me sick.

Garrett Murray, the developer of Ego.app, concludes “I’m far more likely to get 15 one-star reviews when something goes wrong than I am to get 15 five-star reviews when everything goes right.”

Well, yes. You shipped a broken product. Welcome to the human experience, here’s your sign. You want all your customers to be warm, fuzzy, extraordinarily patient people with marginal technical savvy and pails of money? Yeah, me too. Sounds awesome.

Way to fight that stereotype, Mac user.

I think my friend might be on to something here; that’s… pretty weird.

6 Comments | Skip to comment form

  1. Mike Kozlowski

    Wow, that was a whiny-ass post from the developer. Especially because it sounds like he shipped something that used unsupported methods from Google and charged money for it, and then wants to blame everyone else when it breaks. Things that are called “unsupported” are called that for a reason, really.

    (And the side bit about using a bug database as a customer support tool is chock full of blindness. People post outraged blog entries when free software devs like Mozilla go in and WONTFIX or close their bugs. For something they paid for, boy howdy are they going to be even more pissed.)

  2. mhoye

    It’s mind-boggling.

  3. Jemaleddin

    I was complaining about this as well, and was told that I’m “just jealous of his success.”

    That’s not true, but I *am* jealous that he has a posse of internet rabble-rousers to pat him on the shoulder and scream at the injustice of it all when his glorified screen-scraper breaks. When mine goes tits up I just have to fix the thing all by myself. SOB.

  4. Mike Hoye

    Yeah, Gruber spends a lot of time straddling the line between advocacy and jackassery these days.

  5. Mike Hoye

    I’ve since asked Mr. Gruber how users complaining that they’ve paid for a broken iPhone app is substantially different than his complaint two stories later about Microsoft selling a cut-down version of Windows. I haven’t heard back from him yet.

  6. Jemaleddin

    I like John and find that I agree with him a lot, but as he was all up in arms about Google using private (read: unsupported) methods in their iPhone app, I don’t see why he wouldn’t feel the same way about Garrett’s screen scraper.