There is plenty of time I am developing applications for Windows Phone and…
- tools are great (aka Visual Studio rocks)
- learning content is great (aka msdn rocks (not as much as you imagine :D))
- third-party resources are great (growing and growing from day to day), etc.
…but there is something that is crucial, sensitive and final point (for a developer), and (trust me) is not working in this wonderland - publishing.
Publishing is a real pain in Windows Phone (but I’m not talking for marketplace experience) especially for developers from non-listed marketplace countries. But wait, wait… Microsoft is a global company, isn’t it? Yes, MS is global company and you can publish your Windows Phone application from which country you want (but it differs the road to reach destination, marketplace). If your country is supported from marketplace everything works fine (as is written, or as I read in web, there isn’t a reported incident). If your country is not listed (supported) in marketplace you can publish your application through a “global publisher” that covers your country’s region (MS topology). I was in this position some months ago and here is starting point of my story :D. I started this game with a simple search in internet (bing aka Bing Is Not Google :D) and boom, I found a publisher of my region. It was AppaMundi (from here “publisher one”) with their AppaMarket - a bridge to “real” marketplace. I received a coupon from a friend and everything was great, TBH. Their support was great, their response was fast and what was most important thing to me, there was a very polite guy who helped me in every step, from unlocking my device to publishing my app (special thanks goes to Andrej Radinger). I published my first application in marketplace (Contacts Factbook). I had different feelings when I saw for first time my application in marketplace, from happy moments to bad feelings, and this, thanks to publisher name that wasn’t mine :(. But there was not a big problem, because my app has an about page where my name stands heroically :D (albanian metaphor). But there was something made me think to stop using this way, prices. For my standard (country standard) prices in this way were too high and I couldn’t imagine that just an application with three updates can cost me around 70 EUR without a (euro or dollar) cent ROI, and this made me think to see another alternative. I started again to look for (another) global publisher. And I found, it was YallaApps (what I am using right now :D - from here “publisher two”). I send them an email to ask if I can pay just for application submission without annual payment (not trying to cheat but I thought to use just for publishing updates for Contacts Factbook), and they were also charitable with me by giving a coupon code which gave me a special discount, I was happy and grateful. I asked them (in email) if I can publish an update for my app that I initially published through “publisher one” and they answered to me I can. I published “an update” and waiting to see marketplace icon in my phone +1, after three to five days. I spent around 20 days in checking every day my marketplace app and supposing that is not working. This is very annoying state for a developer. All media (msdn, official posts and third-party blogs) write for a period from three to five days and you have to wait (more than) twenty days for submission process, bizarre. What about thinking for user feedback, for planning new things, etc. … all these are covered by your feeling as unsupported a kind of left out person. And finally (after 20 days) my application is in marketplace, but not as an update, as a new application. OMG I have two apps in marketplace with same name, different publishers, different versions (of course different app ids). Look at that.
Simple search in marketplace show this problem. And they differ in ids, publishers (even that is not shown here) and ratings also :D.
Published from “publisher one”.
Published from “publisher two”.
I was stepped, what to do. I used some third party monitoring tools and they showed me that old version is performing very well with more than 600 downloads, but this is not version I like users to have.
…also number of ratings differs. Old version is rated more (this was number just for my market, because it has 12 ratings globally), maybe because of longer presence in marketplace or anything else (yes, because of quality)…
OK. What to do? I decided to remove old version from marketplace (I knew it is a little bit risky for me, because in some third party websites I promoted that, and I can lose all potential users). I emailed “publisher one” with a request for application removal and after two or three days they killed my first lovely app from marketplace ;(.
I was very happy with support from “publisher one” but I was forced to leave them because of prices. I am totally disappointed with support of “publisher two” but I have no choice, even, they answer in my emails after five days, even my applications needs to wait more than twenty days to be published in marketplace.
Stats, is another big issue with global publishers. They all lack on that. I found a great tool to monitor my app (monitor.distimo.com), but I felt in another problem, I couldn’t add my app because I wasn’t publisher. I asked “publisher one” to add my app and after they reviewed my request and tool they did. I was happy to see (at least) states where my app is downloaded. But now, I just see some cumulative stats in publisher’s site that are two or more weeks old. I asked also them (“publisher two”) to add my app in that tool I was using but I need to wait two or more weeks to get an answer (maybe that will (not) add my app there).
I know Microsoft is busy (even) with developing OS, marketing strategies, partnerships and many more tasks, but, developers are heart of every investment they are doing in this business, and this must be main interest for them. And they are not located just in US, GB and some other places, they’re from every part of the world (even from one of the newest states, Kosova :D) and they need to see all as one entity. I know they can do, but they need to do it.