Aug 05 AT 12:05 PM Justin Shapcott 21 Comments

Is Google stiffing Android developers?


There’s a storm a-brewin’ in the Android Developer scene. At the heart of the storm is a claim that Google isn’t paying Android Developers the full amount due to them.

In a report filed on the Android Market Support forum on July 28th, one developer noticed his sales for the month did not match the payout. While it’s not unusual for the Android Market order processing to lag a little bit, the developer claims these orders were in fact charged, but simply didn’t make it into the monthly payout. As it turns out, this developer is not alone; many other developers have spoken up, indicating this issue has also affected them.

Through further investigation it was found that the processed orders that were not paid out all came from the same source:  the web version of the Android Market. It appears that, when a customer purchases an app via the web version, the order is processed slightly differently, thereby stopping the payout to the developer.

As of Thursday, August 4th, Google has stated they are aware of the issue and are working on a fix; however, no time frame for a solution was given. Until there is a confirmed fix, we recommend making purchases via the on-device Market client. After all, we want our developers to be paid for their hard work in a timely manner, right?

This isn’t the first time Android Developers have called Google out (see here and here) on these types of issues. Not surprisingly, some developers are beginning to urge Google to be more transparent in these types of problems. The idea has even been raised that Android developers need to unite in the form of a union in order to get Google to be more responsive to developers’ concerns. While I don’t think a union is the answer, I can appreciate the sentiment that Google should be more forthcoming with developers, especially when it comes to payments (which many developers rely upon as an important source of income). The fact that it took a week for Google to respond to this issue makes it glaringly obvious that something needs to be done.

Again, I’d like to remind you that you can help out developers until this is confirmed as fixed by making your app purchases via the on-device Market. I’m sure they’d appreciate it.

As far as transparency goes, what do you think? Does Google need to be more transparent with developers (and users) when it comes to Android? The recent study of open-source projects we posted yesterday suggests Google could stand to be more transparent in general.

Via: The Register

Source: Android Market Support Forum

Justin is the founder of and lead developer at nEx.Software.

    Most Tweeted This Week

  • DarkPyroGuy_09

    I a union is the answer then the whole thing is screwed. Developers would would be paying more for having their apps on the market.

    • Justin Shapcott

      I agree. Having a collective voice definitely doesn’t have to mean a union. I’m not sure that they are referring to a union in the traditional sense. I’d hate to have to pay dues, and I’d imagine most developers would feel the same way.



      • repeat for truth


  • MB

    I can confirm that I am also experiencing this issue, and that it was been going on since the 27th of July, although payouts stopped completely after the 28th.


    Wow this will not help in our quest to receive future quality apps. Developers may hold back some of there work until this is resolved.. I certainly do not blame them. I will be making all future purchases from the in device market. It was easier to do it from the web since i could direct it from there to either my xoom or sensation. Also easier to check compatibility from the web also. By doing it through the web i save a 3 to 4 step process. But until this is resolved I will take the time to ensure our cherished developers get there due in a timely manner

  • Brad

    Oh let the over reacting begin, wow since the 27th of July, 8 whole days. Clearly many of you have never had anything to do with running a business or anything even remotely close to it. You are lucky to get 30 days net if you are lucky in the real world (that is 30 days after the work has been performed and your customer receives a bill, so really 60 days from the first day on that bill).

    • BiGMERF

      Why must you be so brutal? When one area of the market is running fine and then another branch is not working the same, then guess what it needs to be addressed. If you ask me , there is no reasoning as to why it should be that way. If that where the case Google would say it in there disclosures to devs.

    • user X

      Brad, thats the problem.

      Your still living in a REAL WORLD. Where things TAKE TIME. You know, these 60 days your talking about? 2 months of your horrible life?

      60 days is like 5 years to me. Your used to your 9-5 back breaking slave labor. good for you!

      Where us, Developers, we live in a digital world. Where payments can be sent to god and back in a matter of.. 15 seconds? Everything we (as developers) do can be shown, exploited, ripped off and repeated, in a matter of minutes.

      You ever have your car stolen? Did the police try to find it?

      well Google lets people steal our cars, and does NOTHING about it, other than tel us to
      install a security system, and one that clearly notifies down-loaders it is actually there (internet permissions for LVL? stupid )

      And we’re really just fueling the fire. Google does not give 2 sh!ts about its developers.
      The only people that are happy are ones that havent gotten Screwed by Google yet, or the ones that are making enough $$$ to not care that they’ve been screwed over once or twice.

      I Personally, am going on a 2 month – f*cked – by google – a thon.

      If developers weren’t treated like shit, maybe some of us would give a damn about helping improve Android in maybe a long run type of idea, not just “enjoy this goldrush while it lasts” type of mentality.

      The market offers favoritism to some developers.
      immunity to people that are violating TOS, MCMA, but have received no complaints about.

      Where if you aren’t in violation of anything, and someone does make a complaint, your account and all apps go under review for EVERY single possible thing that they can violate you for.

      My apps were removed from the market 6 times in 2 days, because i used the word “KEYWORD” to my product description, to help identify real keywords that would help users get to my app, since Android does such a poor job of that.

      Then, when my app was removed, and I showed the exact URL and other market apps that I actually used as a template, to make my description, NOTHING happens to them, no one gives them a notification, and their keywords are still 500 words long.

      Android does a absolute piss poor job of satisfying developers needs, or even listening to their customers.

      The fact that I cant call in, and talk to 1 person that can bring up all my account info, and tell me what the flying f#ck is going on, is completely bullshit. There are more than enough employees, to at least be able to give google developers a fucking HOTLINE to at least get some sort of real world answer. Not a “please review the android market terms of policy” type of email, and 30 other emails following that, that is a copy and paste type of

      “Sorry, but were fucking idiots, and wouldn’t know how to help you out turn on your phone, let alone help you with an account issue.”

      ^- that is a mostly what you get, if you ever have an account issue, ,while being an android developer.

      I dont have to be thankful, or grateful. There are many sh!tty ways to make money these days. Making it from google is one of them. I don’t have to be interested in what they do at all, nor be raped by their poor customer service and higher than agreed taxes / percentage cuts. I can continue to cash in, while still spreading the word of HOW HORRIBLE GOOGLE TREATS PEOPLE THAT HELP THE ANDROID ECOSYSTEM.

  • michal

    There is one more problem with AM, its limited number of countries your allowed to sell from. I’m a small developer considering entering android market, but I cannot sell apps from my country (Poland) I can only make ad enabled applications. That is very frustrating…

  • Ray

    I’ll throw my hat in the ring with those who think this is unacceptable. My love for Google is not without limits. If they do not rectify issues like this to the satisfaction of developers I call foul. Development occurs at the clip it does because google saves time and money by allowing contributions from non-employees. As such developer’s require protection from abuse that is not afforded to them by the government. If they do not operate in a transparent way, I would have to believe there was an intent to abuse, as opposed to any random accidents resulting from bad code their actual employees write.

  • RandyN

    Hopefully, Google will straighten this out quickly and get developers what is due. A big part of the problem is Google’s poor customer service across all Google products. Yes, Google does some great things but their customer service was and still is very bad.

  • David

    I have a few apps on the market and noticed this as well. Now I don’t depend on this for my income, but I make more than enough for my car payment every month.I got an email stating there was an issue and they are working on it. I’m perfectly fine with that. Atleast we got an email stating there was an issue…

    I do feel their should be some sort of hotline for actual, registered developers to call with issues. Having my one of my apps removed once with no explanation was alittle annoying. But it has yet to be removed again so I guess I fixed the issue.

    If there was some was of contacting someone who could pull up my account and help guide me to fix the issue at hand, that’d be great. I think in the long run, it would help create a more uniform community.

  • Paul

    This is typical Google sadly. Horribly unresponsive support, very little credence to the developers, who by all means is the lifeblood of Android. If it weren’t for them android wouldn’t be as popular. Google really needs to wake up and take care of their developers better. This is the #1 annoyance I have with Google/Android, I love my phone, the platform, etc. but can’t stand their attitude towards support and developers.

    • userX

      +100 for you

      stupid D-bags -1 things that are the TRUTH.

  • Artem Russakovskii

    Google already acknowledged the issue – Heidi from the market team posted some additional details on the 4th page of the thread:

  • Daniel Friesen

    …well great, isn’t this a beautiful combination of bugs. I use a Google Apps account on my android phone (I don’t want my phone to have access to my primary e-mail accounts). And there’s a bug that prevents in-app purchases and iirc also on-phone marketplace purchases from working for Apps accounts. The web based marketplace worked for Apps accounts so I’ve been able to happily purchase apps through there.
    Now this bug… the combination of these two bugs now tells me that theoretically none of the money I’ve ever spend on an Android app has ever gone to a developer.

    • Justin Shapcott

      The good news is that the developers will get the money they are owed. Google has started sending emails out to the affected developers indicating the next payout will include these missing funds.

      • SliestDragon

        That’s good news for the developers. Glad to see Google owning up to this.

  • sylar

    Well it wouldn’t really surprise me all that much….. well at least they owned up now lets hope they fix it and it stays that way.