You might be aware that Amazon has an Android AppStore and that its most compelling feature is that every day Amazon provides an app for free that you otherwise would need to buy. I’ve assumed that Amazon brokers deals with the companies selling those apps where they got some compensation for the free app, but a developer has disclosed that to not be the case.
Shift Jelly sells Pocket Casts, which is a podcasting app that I wrote about back in June when it was the free app of the day on Amazon. In a blog post, Shift Jelly states that 101,491 copies of Pocket Casts was downloaded on the day the app was given away for free, which would have accounted for $54,805.14 of sales in one day. Unfortunately, Shift Kelly did not receive any money.
Now, Shift Jelly is upfront in saying they knew they would not get paid because Amazon told them as much when they offered to add Pocket Casts to their free app of the day calendar. Amazon appears to believe that the publicity gained by prominently marketing the app derives benefit to the developer. Initially, Shift Jelly declined the offer, but later changed their mind to see whether they would in fact gain any actual sales, which did not materialize.
The point of the blog post isn’t to declare that Amazon is pulling the wool over developer’s eyes, or that they are particularly evil. But, I think it does describe why Shift Jelly believes the Amazon AppStore Free App Of The Day is not a good deal for developers. If I were a developer, I would seriously consider not participating in the promotion. One would have to seriously weigh the perceived benefit against the lost sales and costs associated with supporting that many additional apps. For their party, Shift Jelly has removed Pocket Casts from the Amazon AppStore and is only selling it in the Android Market.