Amazon Appstore Growing Pains

After a week of the Amazon Appstore for Android apps being open, I am starting to see a few growing pains.  I’m sure the team at Amazon will sort things out, but here are a few things I’ve noticed.

Your experience may vary, but there are a few things to be cautious about.


My concerns

  • You have to link to Amazon for all market links in your app.  However, since you don’t know when your apps will be released there is a high probability that one app will hit the store and link to… absolutely nothing.
  • The review team is a little back-and-forth on app approval
  • The approval cycle can slow things down a lot
  • The support team is a little difficult to work with – they don’t seem to understand my requests but are willing to take action…

I’ve had some experience on the subject of app rejection for not linking to the Amazon store.  My app was rejected back in the pre-launch days for not linking to the Amazon store (hard to test, it didn’t exist).  Then it was magically approved.  After launch, while waiting for my update to go through, I realized that I should make the update to Amazon links rather than risk rejection (and waiting another week for review again).  I sent a support ticket very explicitly asking for my free app to get kicked back so I could update it.

And… the kicked back my paid app, which had correct linking.  I was kindof hoping to get that one out there ASAP.  Thanks guys, I resubmitted but it’s still in waiting and I have no exposure.

Then magically my free app (with non-Amazon linking) got approved.  Odd..  however a few days later it was magically rejected, after already being on the market.  Oy.  At least I had the .apk ready to go for that one.  However I now have to wait for another 6 days…

In Limbo

Now my app is in limbo and I get NO downloads whatsoever from Amazon. It’s not visible on search, and can only be seen if you already installed it.  I guess the next 6 days are a write-off.

That said, I’m still for the Amazon appstore and I’m confident that these growing pains will be worked out.

Advice on getting Approved

This might seem simple, but given the mistakes I noted above it’s possible some of you will do the same 😉

  • Make sure your linking is Amazon-only.  Don’t be in a rush to submit and skip that – it won’t pay off.  It’s worth the extra few minutes to make an Amazon flag to switch all links to Amazon.
  • Submit your paid app first, since it is likely to have fewer links to other apps that need to be approved.
  • Submit your free app next, and make sure it links to the Amazon appstore in all cases, even if the app isn’t released yet (you can link by package name)
  • Don’t pester the support team unless something is absolutely broken.  It might do more harm than good.
  • Wait.  For about 5 -7 days (in my experience – I’m sure that will vary). Patience is a good thing.

Again, I’m just venting and warning to help you avoid these pitfalls on the Amazon Appstore.  My Android app was doing very well on the Appstore before it got put into limbo, so I am extra-interested in getting back in the game.  I am confident that Amazon will sort out some of these growing pains, and the rest is up to us as Android developers to work the system.

Has anyone else had similar experiences with the Amazon Appstore for Android apps, or did everyone else figure it out on the first try?  I think the number of developers using Amazon is still small, but I hope to hear from a few of you.  Please leave a quick comment!

Update May 2011: My app was back online in about a week or so after this post was written.  I can’t say for sure how many downloads I missed, but I’ll be careful not to make the same mistake again.  For more updated information, check out my review of the Amazon Appstore.  Or, for reviews of the entire app market ecosystem (more than 30 markets for Android apps), check out the report.

Posted in Android Markets permalink

About ProjectJourneyman

I am a software engineer that escaped the cubicle world at a large company to go solo with Android app development. My attention to detail and quality applies both to my apps and to my research on how to make money with Android. Now that I have the freedom to work on my own projects, I am documenting my efforts in the hopes that it will help other current or aspiring independent Android developers get the income they desire.


Amazon Appstore Growing Pains — 2 Comments

  1. Does your website have a contact page? I’m having problems locating it but, I’d like to send you an email. I’ve got some creative ideas for your blog you might be interested in hearing. Either way, great blog and I look forward to seeing it expand over time.