A Single Developer Tries to “Unionize” Others to Air Grievances About The Android Marketplace

A single Android developer who had a file sharing-related app banned is trying to round up others to air grievances about the app store.

Other media publications have called this a “union,” implying this involves a large number of developers. But it looks like there is one for now and a number of other developers and Android engineers are skeptical of his approach.

Named Rich (he doesn’t reveal his last name), the developer had created 18 apps including Port Scandroid and aBTC, the Android BitTorrent client, and the official ‘This American Life’ application. He says that Google has earned a collective $14,000 through the sale of his apps.

A $2.99 app he built that searches for files from sites like RapidShare was taken down without explanation after 3,728 downloads. He tried to protest the takedown three times, only to receive a letter saying that his account could be deactivated. It’s not clear what the app was taken down for, but Android’s content policies say that apps can’t infringe on the intellectual property rights of others or engage in unlawful activity.

He’s asking that Google lower the share it takes from developers, which is around the standard 30 percent revenue split. Apple developers, he says, at least get quality market curation. The union would also want to see better ways of browsing the market beyond “Top Selling” and “Most Recent,” which gives developers about a 1 minute of show time for users.

Another request, which is on the wishlist of many developers, are more payment options beyond Google Checkout. Then there is a request for a more formal and transparent appeal process for when apps are taken down.

A couple of Android engineers have taken the time to respond saying that this campaign will probably not be effective, because it consists of getting people to bulk send identical e-mails to the team. Developers have tried to put together petitions to improve the Android market in the past with varying degrees of success.