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19 Mar 2012

Android app developers have complained about a hold-up in payments from Google.

Europe-based software writers have posted hundreds of comments on the company's forums, saying their February fees had not been received on 7 March as scheduled.

Coders receive a 70% share of sales of their app on the Google Play store.

Six days after the first complaint, a Google employee wrote that: "We're actively investigating this."

"We apologise for this inconvenience. At this time, no action is needed on your part," the developer relations manager added.

She did not say whether the problem originated with Google or one of its payment processing partners.
'Hard to contact'

Some users in France, Sweden and the Netherlands reported that their banks had received the money by midday on Friday. However, others in the UK, Spain, Portugal and Germany said that they had still to receive funds.

Many complained about the difficulty in contacting Google for more information.

"They seem to think no direct contact is a good thing??? Crazy situation but that's how these big corps work and until it hurts their bottom line nothing will change," wrote one developer nicknamed UKAPPS on the Google page named Checkout Merchant forum.

The forum members became particularly annoyed after the firm provided an update last night on its developer console - the page programmers log into to track their sales.

"We are aware of reports from some European developers that they are yet to receive their March 2012 payout for February 2012 sales," it said.

An attached hyperlink promising "learn more" led to a page which said: "We're sorry but the information that you requested cannot be found."

One forum member, nicknamed Red_Rage wrote: "Their response to what is a make-or-break issue for some developers is so amateur. A broken link in the console link after all this whining? Really Google? Really?"
Automated systems

The BBC spoke to one developer who is owed thousands of pounds, but asked not to be identified in case it jeopardised his livelihood.

He noted that he had been previously been able to contact a staff member at Apple when there had been an issue with one of his apps on the firm's iOS platform - but said in this instance it had proved impossible to reach a Google representative.

"If you traverse through the 'contact us' pages of the site, you'll eventually get to a form, but it's pre-populated with generic a/b/c choices, and there is no space to write a custom note," he said.

"Google need to realise that investment in actual human support staff is essential; there are limits to the ways in which a system can be automated - however financially attractive that option may be."

A spokesman for Google said he was unable to provide a statement about staffing.


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