Ultimately the choice is to release a new version of Informant for Android and do what we can to ease the transition for existing users to the new app; or drop Android altogether.
For years we’ve heard how Apple’s review process is opaque, unfair, arduous, and shifting where developers spend months/years developing some software and then going through the approval process, enjoying a week or two of good sales and press -and then getting yanked by Apple. I remember thinking that I had hoped to never experience that myself and yet today, I have experienced worse.
I started this post with my choice; now let me explain how we got to this choice. Yesterday we got an email from Google saying that Informant for Android was suspended due to a violation of the Google Developer Agreement. The email said it was due to the TapStream SDK that we use to monitor install counts from newsletters, ad clicks, or from our website. So I sent in an appeal and within the hour got denied. I was told that to fix this we needed to strip the app of this SDK and upload a brand new app, losing all purchase history of our users, ratings, and reviews. Even worse it seems Google has disabled our use of Google Tasks and Calendar APIs tied to the Informant Android account.
Seriously? This is Google’s way to deal with issues like this? I’ve already filed another appeal trying to persuade them that – ok for a free app this might be OK but not for a paid app. This is just plain wrong.
So back to the appeals process. As I said we got denied the first time and from what I can read – this is a common problem. So what can I do?
First, Yuriy is already working on an update with a plan to allow all existing users to move to the new version free of charge. It won’t be seamless unfortunately because it will be for all intents and purposes a brand new app, but we are going to do our best. Secondly, I am still working with Google to try and get them to allow us to strip the Tapstream SDK and upload it over the current release.
So are we blameless here? I don’t know. Searching the web I see that other people in November/December got emails from Google saying that their apps would be suspended if they didn’t remove the TapStream SDK. This week is the first time I’ve heard about this so obviously it wasn’t enough of an issue that it bubbled up to my regular news feeds. Also did we miss an email from Google? Did it go into a spam folder or did they fail to notify us?
Right now I don’t have all the answers, but we are trying to deal the hand given to us as quickly as we can to take care of our Android customers. Please give us a few days this week to try and resolve this and get you working again.
Update Thursday Feb 12 2015
We have published a new version of Informant, its Widget and so on. Please backup your existing Informant first, then download the new Informant. Install the new Informant and restore your backup. Also grab the new widget as the old widget points to the old Informant data.