When speaking with 21-year-old mobile app developer Ryan Kendrick, it’s difficult – if not impossible – to avoid wondering if comedian Rodney Dangerfield has been reincarnated as a brash, techy college senior from the Southside of Chicago.
For Kendrick, it’s all about respect. And he’s not getting any.
“Developing apps is a thankless job, regardless of how profitable it may be,” Kendrick tells Examiner on Thursday. The young tech whiz with a dash of Midwestern charm is among many developers to speak of tangible disrespect this week.
The underlying offending event is Google’s freshly revamped payout schedule for Android app developers, which moves developer paydays from two days after the month ends, to fifteen days after the month ends.
That’s right. Google just told the hard-working developers that make its Google Play store a reality that they have to wait two additional weeks before getting paid.
“I was furious,” Kendrick said. “I can’t fathom how they can make this change while trying to position it as a good thing for us.”
In an email just sent to its developer community, the Google Play team said the following:
We remain committed to offering a best in class marketplace for developers to sell their apps. These changes will allow us to ensure users can buy your apps and we can transmit payments to you in a reliable fashion.
“It doesn’t feel like they’re committed to us,” Kendrick says. “They’re committed to our money. We try to make a living at this. It’s bogus.”
Despite the unprecedented purchases and downloads logged in the mobile app stores of the world last year, the average mobile app generated less revenue per paid app than in 2011. Vincenzo Serricchio of Research2Guidance found that average revenue for paid applications fell from $26,720 in 2011 to $19,560 in 2012.
Kendrick is among the thousands of young developers who rely on mobile advertising to monetize their free apps.
“Mobile ads are a great tool,” says the cross-platform developer. “But even a lot of the ad networks try to hold on to your money for too long.”
Kendrick thinks the problem boils down to respect.
“The mobile industry, and by that I mean OEMs to advertisers, don’t really respect app developers and how vital our contributions are to the sustenance of their piece of the pie. At the end of the day we’re all chasing the same thing – money. But it’s nice to have respect behind the revenue.”
Kendrick does, however, point to a number of companies that do show signs of respect toward developers, one of which is Android mobile ad network Airpush.
“For one thing, they pay weekly,” Kendrick says.
Here’s what the Airpush website (which highlights the less prompt payout timeframes of other ad networks) has to say about developer paydays:
“When receiving payments on a weekly basis, you will find that the improved cash flow results in more opportunities for app development. Simultaneously, you remove the risk of non-payment by the ad network. Mobile ad networks should not be holding your earnings for extended periods of time…”
According to Kendrick, developers not only deserve respect in light of their meaningful contributions to the OS ecosystems of the mobile world, but because it’s really in the best interest of everyone with a stake in mobile’s future today.
“Whether you’re an Android guy or an iOS fan,” he says, “there’s a good chance that the outcome of the OS wars going on will be settled by developers. When we leave a platform – like BlackBerry – it will start to wither and die. If we hadn’t come around to Android like we have in the last 18 months, I don’t think the platform would be as strong as it is now. Developers make the mobile world go around. And that deserves respect.”