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Apple removing App Store name squatters

post #1 of 46
Thread Starter 
Developers who reserve an app name without eventually uploading a binary are being warned by Apple that their records will be deleted.

Alongside some of Apple's more high-profile changes to the development guidelines for the App Store, Apple has quietly begun removing the records of app names that are reserved but remain unused, TechCrunch reports.

The changes come as Apple is being more transparent about its app submission process. The Cupertino, Calif., company published Thursday its guidelines for approving or rejecting apps submitted to the App Store.

Although the issue of app store "squatters" was brought up over a year ago, it wasn't until recently that Apple began restricting the name reservation process.

Developers will have 120 days to upload a binary after creating an app in the iTunes Connect system, according to an email from Apple obtained by TechCrunch. After 90 days, developers will receive a notification from Apple, warning them that they only have 30 days left to upload their app. Once the 120 days are past, "the app name will then be available for another developer to use."

Management of the app store has become increasingly critical as developers flock to a platform that many have described as a "gold rush." Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced in June that the App Store had already paid out $1 billion dollars to developers in just two years.

As of March, an estimated twenty percent of iPhone app developers come from startups founded specifically to create applications for the iPhone, according to a survey by Flurry.

With over 250,000 apps on the App Store, "'discoverability' has become a significant issue," noted Flurry. As such, app name squatting, much like cybersquatting during the 90s, has become an issue too serious for Apple to ignore.
post #2 of 46
Name squatters suck. How about doing something useful instead of trying to find the next trick.
post #3 of 46
120 days is probably too long. Hopefully they ban developers that are willfully doing this.
post #4 of 46
It would be nice if this happened to patent-squatters too. If you don't show an implementation of your idea within a reasonable time-frame then someone else can use it freely.
post #5 of 46
why i can't update to iOS 4.1?
the computer shows that was not internet to update the iOS on my iphone 4? help!
post #6 of 46
Well this has seriously pissed me off. I'm one of the people apple has given 30 days warning to. I'm not a 'name squatter" and now im gonna have to rush 3 sodding apps out the door in 30 days.

NOT amused.
post #7 of 46
That's why you only make one app at a time.

~Callum
post #8 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by monstrosity View Post

Well this has seriously pissed me off. I'm one of the people apple has given 30 days warning to. I'm not a 'name squatter" and now im gonna have to rush 3 sodding apps out the door in 30 days.

NOT amused.

I'm in the same boat and am in the middle of working on several apps for which I have already "reserved" names. Names are important for marketing plans and artists for design of titles, icons and other things as well as related websites & domains.
Development for an idea can take a lot longer than the 120 days Apple now gives.
If you are developing several products in tandem then it will certainly take longer than 120 days.

There is always the option (I guess & hope) of uploading a binary that will not pass the review process or the option of contacting Apple with a reason for why it's taking so long to submit a binary and why you should be allowed to hold on to the name.
post #9 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by callumacrae View Post

That's why you only make one app at a time.

~Callum

Yes, and tell clients to go away and come back in 2-3 months for new contracts, because they're not going to go elsewhere, right?
This just makes it a little harder for the 1/2/3 person devshops.
post #10 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeroenhmg View Post

Yes, and tell clients to go away and come back in 2-3 months for new contracts, because they're not going to go elsewhere, right?
This just makes it a little harder for the 1/2/3 person devshops.

Yep. I support the change, as names are quite limited, but we're also somewhat in the same boat.

Fortunately there are better names we'd rather have that are currently being squatted on than the ones we have reserved.

(And we already got the one we wanted: Digital Comics)
post #11 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeroenhmg View Post

I'm in the same boat and am in the middle of working on several apps for which I have already "reserved" names. Names are important for marketing plans and artists for design of titles, icons and other things as well as related websites & domains.
Development for an idea can take a lot longer than the 120 days Apple now gives.
If you are developing several products in tandem then it will certainly take longer than 120 days.

There is always the option (I guess & hope) of uploading a binary that will not pass the review process or the option of contacting Apple with a reason for why it's taking so long to submit a binary and why you should be allowed to hold on to the name.

Perhaps there is a middle path. Yes, contact Apple and discuss this and offer to show them your progress and I suspect they will allow you more time. Apple isn't the post office you know LOL. That would be far better than rushing out three unfinished apps and risking pissing off buyers and or advertisers. I have always found Apple are very reasonable. It is for a good reason they are doing this and it benefits people such as you too to remove real squatters. Best of luck.
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post #12 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Madcapper View Post

Yep. I support the change, as names are quite limited, but we're also somewhat in the same boat.

Fortunately there are better names we'd rather have that are currently being squatted on than the ones we have reserved.

(And we already got the one we wanted: Digital Comics)

Nice app name! Just curious, do you try to make sure the DN is also available in such situations as part of the business plan or isn't that necessary in your experience?
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post #13 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

It would be nice if this happened to patent-squatters too. If you don't show an implementation of your idea within a reasonable time-frame then someone else can use it freely.

+1 Exactly! The current patent system is horrible...
post #14 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

It would be nice if this happened to patent-squatters too. If you don't show an implementation of your idea within a reasonable time-frame then someone else can use it freely.

Good idea. Although 120 days is probably not long enough... 2 years?
post #15 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by monstrosity View Post

Well this has seriously pissed me off. I'm one of the people apple has given 30 days warning to. I'm not a 'name squatter" and now im gonna have to rush 3 sodding apps out the door in 30 days.

So why are you wasting time here reading and posting.
Get coding, man!
post #16 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

It would be nice if this happened to patent-squatters too. If you don't show an implementation of your idea within a reasonable time-frame then someone else can use it freely.

One result of that would be that real innovations which are difficult to finance would become even more so. I'd be unlikely to invest in development of an item if the patent could be lost before the inventor was finished.

For equally risky ventures, poor inventors would lose their rights while rich inventors would be able to prevent such a thing.

It is a very bad idea for these two reasons.
post #17 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Newtron View Post

Poor inventors would lose their rights while rich inventors would be able to prevent such a thing.

That's what I was thinking.
Even getting a prototype of some things would take lots of cash and if Joe Six Pack who came up with it could not get some financing then he loses it?
Yes, there could/should be some type of reform in the patent system.
post #18 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by themexican View Post

why i can't update to iOS 4.1?
the computer shows that was not internet to update the iOS on my iphone 4? help!

A: This is not the proper thread or forum to ask for support.

B: You have to be a lot more specific

- What iTunes version are you syncing with

- what computer to you sync with

etc.

but seriously, try better the support page at www.apple.com there are a lot of helpful threads in the user forum as well as FAQ's covering this kind of problems.
post #19 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Newtron View Post

One result of that would be that real innovations which are difficult to finance would become even more so. I'd be unlikely to invest in development of an item if the patent could be lost before the inventor was finished.

For equally risky ventures, poor inventors would lose their rights while rich inventors would be able to prevent such a thing.

It is a very bad idea for these two reasons.

Obviously if those people were working on a project then they'd have some sort of proof that the idea was being worked on regardless of wealth. Even if the project needed funding to start, evidence of funding progress would allow them to retain the rights.

If they show no evidence of work to implement an idea nor any attempt to fund a project within the 2 years mentioned above then they are merely squatting with the intention of taking money from the hard work of other people and their patent rights should be removed.

They'd be free to resubmit their application at the end of that period but if someone else came along with a similar patent but with evidence of an implementation then the lack of progress for 2 years would act against the original applicant and the rights would be transferred to the people who show evidence they will make something of it.
post #20 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeroenhmg View Post

Yes, and tell clients to go away and come back in 2-3 months for new contracts, because they're not going to go elsewhere, right?
This just makes it a little harder for the 1/2/3 person devshops.

Hire more staff.
post #21 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Obviously if those people were working on a project then they'd have some sort of proof that the idea was being worked on regardless of wealth. Even if the project needed funding to start, evidence of funding progress would allow them to retain the rights.

If they show no evidence of work to implement an idea nor any attempt to fund a project within the 2 years mentioned above then they are merely squatting with the intention of taking money from the hard work of other people and their patent rights should be removed.


I think you assume too much WRT the intentions of patent holders. What if they have naively been sitting there for two years, waiting for the world to beat a path to their door?
post #22 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by monstrosity View Post

Well this has seriously pissed me off. I'm one of the people apple has given 30 days warning to. I'm not a 'name squatter" and now im gonna have to rush 3 sodding apps out the door in 30 days.

NOT amused.

If I understand the article correctly, you must have been warned 90 days prior to your 30 day notice.

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post #23 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeroenhmg View Post

Yes, and tell clients to go away and come back in 2-3 months for new contracts, because they're not going to go elsewhere, right?
This just makes it a little harder for the 1/2/3 person devshops.

Being over-extended is a problem in any business. My personal hope is that this helps to encourage more monolithic apps rather than multiple complimentary apps from a single developer. I realize that this puts some developers at a disadvantage (harder to sell a $6 app than $2, and the $2 could lead to additional sales of other $2 apps), but as a consumer I hate the practice.

With a single monolithic app and plans for upgrades, you create value for 2.0 and 3.0 versions as major features are added.

Too many apps out there creates excessive confusion and requires disproportionate marketing effort.
post #24 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mister Snitch View Post

Good idea. Although 120 days is probably not long enough... 2 years?

I'd say 5 years. 2 years isn't long enough for products that have long development cycles. I mean, the iOS devices wouldn't exist in such magnitude if the patents expired as soon as they received them. The patent office is already 2-3 years behind on approving patents. Once they're approved, they're back-dated to the start time of development. Essentially all tech and bio-tech patents (and possibly all patents) would be invalid as soon as they're released due to patent-squatting. 5 years gives the inventor a small monopoly for about two years if the patent squatting limiting is 5 years. Even then, it's a tough call because two years isn't really enough for a new invention to properly monetize. Maybe 7 years.
post #25 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by yeshuawatso View Post

I'd say 5 years. 2 years isn't long enough for products that have long development cycles. I mean, the iOS devices wouldn't exist in such magnitude if the patents expired as soon as they received them. The patent office is already 2-3 years behind on approving patents. Once they're approved, they're back-dated to the start time of development. Essentially all tech and bio-tech patents (and possibly all patents) would be invalid as soon as they're released due to patent-squatting. 5 years gives the inventor a small monopoly for about two years if the patent squatting limiting is 5 years. Even then, it's a tough call because two years isn't really enough for a new invention to properly monetize. Maybe 7 years.

Do away with the Patent system completely....here is a great example.....The App store. It is equal playing ground for everyone to compete. Can you imagine if all the developers who wrote "Tip Calculators" started suing each other? Instead, they all coexist and the best ones rise to the top and reap the benefits. Look at all the iPhone wannabes that blatantly rip-off the iPhone, instead of suing, Apple just moves forward and they slowly go away because they are inferior. Patents slow-down technology and cost the consumers more money because of patent trolls.

The app store is loaded with thousands of apps of which many are the same, yet, developers aren't suing each other, its wonderful! Its fair ground for everyone and look how quickly the great apps rise to the top and the suck apps fall into oblivion. I don't want to waste 5 years protecting some "Napkin Scribbler" if someone else can do it in 2 years. I like the idea of a "Free" market. Steve Jobs and Woz started in a garage like everyone else, I live down the street from the original Microsoft office next to MITS computers where Gates had his humble beginnings. Great inventors will achieve great things from all walks of life. History proves it!

Don't you hate it when you hear that some idiot is suing some company because he had the "idea" to stream music wirelessly from the web to a device? Or, some dumb company patents the ability to purchase something with "one-click"? Come on......Waste of time. Aren't all of you sick of this?
post #26 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by tundraBuggy View Post

Do away with the Patent system completely....here is a great example.....The App store. It is equal playing ground for everyone to compete. Can you imagine if all the developers who wrote "Tip Calculators" started suing each other? Instead, they all coexist and the best ones rise to the top and reap the benefits. Look at all the iPhone wannabes that blatantly rip-off the iPhone, instead of suing, Apple just moves forward and they slowly go away because they are inferior. Patents slow-down technology and cost the consumers more money because of patent trolls.

The app store is loaded with thousands of apps of which many are the same, yet, developers aren't suing each other, its wonderful! Its fair ground for everyone and look how quickly the great apps rise to the top and the suck apps fall into oblivion. I don't want to waste 5 years protecting some "Napkin Scribbler" if someone else can do it in 2 years. I like the idea of a "Free" market. Steve Jobs and Woz started in a garage like everyone else, I live down the street from the original Microsoft office next to MITS computers where Gates had his humble beginnings. Great inventors will achieve great things from all walks of life. History proves it!

Don't you hate it when you hear that some idiot is suing some company because he had the "idea" to stream music wirelessly from the web to a device? Or, some dumb company patents the ability to purchase something with "one-click"? Come on......Waste of time. Aren't all of you sick of this?

Sick of Patents? No.
post #27 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by monstrosity View Post

Well this has seriously pissed me off. I'm one of the people apple has given 30 days warning to. I'm not a 'name squatter" and now im gonna have to rush 3 sodding apps out the door in 30 days.

NOT amused.

Can't you just upload an alpha version or something? Or is that not the same as "uploading a binary"?

Anyway, how long is too long to call dibs on a name without doing anything?

I (my brother, really) just put out an app called Multiplex (for my webcomic called Multiplex), knowing full well that there was already an OSX app called Multiplex and SUPPOSEDLY an iPhone app in development, at least as of a year ago. I was fully prepared to change my app name (I need to use Multiplex10 as my Facebook page's short URL, for instance), but I was lucky that they weren't "squatting" it (although it would have been for a legitimate use, so "squatting" is probably not the right term).
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post #28 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Newtron View Post

I think you assume too much WRT the intentions of patent holders. What if they have naively been sitting there for two years, waiting for the world to beat a path to their door?

Then they lose the rights to those patents like I said because that defines squatting - sitting doing nothing while holding onto an idea.

Naivety and laziness are not traits that should be promoted. If they were aware they could lose the rights and subsequently money, it would put an end to both naivety and laziness quick smart.

Quote:
Originally Posted by yeshuawatso

I'd say 5 years. 2 years isn't long enough for products that have long development cycles. I mean, the iOS devices wouldn't exist in such magnitude if the patents expired as soon as they received them.

But again, if they proved they were working on the idea, then the time constraint wouldn't apply. If someone has a half-built fusion reactor, it would be stupid to remove their rights when they have proven that they are working on it. By contrast if someone has a patent for a fusion reactor and has no means to acquire the parts to built one nor the expertise to build one nor the access to funding then why allow them to have the rights to it?

Obviously some companies want to protect the fact they are working on something but the patent office pretty much has the designs for it anyway so it shouldn't matter and showing a half-finished product would be fine.

This would work exactly the same way as the App Store. You basically just submit a very early version of the app to show you are working on it or just decide on the name later on.
post #29 of 46
Quote:
With over 250,000 apps on the App Store, "'discoverability' has become a significant issue,"

Name squatting does seem a problem that needs to be addressed.

But how about VASTLY IMPROVING the SEARCH FACILITIES on the AppStore.

1. The search options are not the same on the iPhone, the iPad and in iTunes. That's unusual for Apple whose GUI guidelines used to ensure a similar experience in all (or most) MacOSX apps. True, the issue is somewhat complicated by the fact that certain functions are accessed differently in a "touch" paradigm (as opposed to a keyboard-mouse paradigm). But the user is readily able to appreciate the presence of an underlying/fundamental similarity between the "touch" and the "mouse" interface (if it is indeed engineered to be similar).

2. The single layer of search categories doesn't seem to suffice. Also the spotlight-like search field doesn't turn up stuff that you know exists on the AppStore because you have seen it before, but forgot the details.
post #30 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Nice app name! Just curious, do you try to make sure the DN is also available in such situations as part of the business plan or isn't that necessary in your experience?

Unless you are super major-league, I prefer to have one site for the company/developer with one dedicated page/section per app.
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post #31 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by ranReloaded;

Unless you are super major-league, I prefer to have one site for the company/developer with one dedicated page/section per app.

This would be best. No need to manage a domain for each app. Plus as you get more apps out the door you want some developer company recognition as well so you know what to expect from the developer.
post #32 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by VanFruniken View Post

But how about VASTLY IMPROVING the SEARCH FACILITIES on the AppStore.

.



Apple sucks at search. Always has. And alienating Google was therefore a very stupid thing to do.
post #33 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Newtron View Post

Apple sucks at search. Always has. And alienating Google was therefore a very stupid thing to do.

I'm not sure how Google would help here. Google has a box for you to find stuff you are looking for. Search has very little to do with discoverability, which is what the App Store needs.

The Genius feature is an example but it runs out of suggestions and sometimes recommends apps you've previously removed from the Genius list.

It needs to have a profile area where you set conditions. Things like exclude air travel apps, exclude board games, exclude apps designed for children, exclude apps with over 10 total ratings and are rated 2 or less, exclude apps that won't work on my iPhone. Exclude apps removed from Genius from top 10 lists and only list the next top 10.

This keeps the App Store ticking over. Right now, the search is fine but you don't know what to look for and it's just a big pile of apps with a small amount staying at the top, which is really all you see.
post #34 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Obviously if those people were working on a project then they'd have some sort of proof that the idea was being worked on regardless of wealth. Even if the project needed funding to start, evidence of funding progress would allow them to retain the rights.

If they show no evidence of work to implement an idea nor any attempt to fund a project within the 2 years mentioned above then they are merely squatting with the intention of taking money from the hard work of other people and their patent rights should be removed.

They'd be free to resubmit their application at the end of that period but if someone else came along with a similar patent but with evidence of an implementation then the lack of progress for 2 years would act against the original applicant and the rights would be transferred to the people who show evidence they will make something of it.

You're talking apples and oranges here. Patents aren't like app names. You can't get a patent just because nobody else grabbed it before you did. Anybody can grab an unused app name with a few minutes time and the cost of applying for developer status. Not so a patent. You have to sit down and do research. Prove that it's new, that nobody else has patented or publicly used it before. Nobody has patented the wheel, but good luck applying for that. You also have to prove that it's not obvious to someone in the field. Then spend a lot of time and effort writing up a bulletproof patent application. The whole process can take years and cost at least $5000 unless you want to just knock out an application yourself and hope it will get approved and be able to stand up in court if you have to sue for infringement. Not for the faint of heart or the casual "squatter." It's certainly harder just to get a patent approved than it is to develop the next fart app.

Patents are not about implementations. They're about ideas. Copyrights are about implementations rather than ideas. You can write your next novel with the exact same idea as a copyrighted book, but if it's rewritten in your own words, you're safe.
post #35 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by esummers View Post

120 days is probably too long. Hopefully they ban developers that are willfully doing this.

Not a lot you can do unless someone's blatently hoarding dozens of names.

I got one of these emails because we have an app application with a placeholder name in place - it's been sat there for 2 years, from some contract work we did (you have to create a proxy app submission to test push and in-app purchases). I don't suppose anyone is trying to create anything called blahblahblah1, but you never know!

They've made things worse themselves in a way, because you can't delete abandoned submissions from iTunesConnect, so I'm sure there're lots of these things have build up over the years, especially with the requirements for testing.
post #36 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Newtron View Post

Apple sucks at search. Always has. And alienating Google was therefore a very stupid thing to do.

Search isn't the problem with App Store, it's discovery. And in that sense, Apple and Google aren't so different: Both want to point you to what they've selected, or what is most popular. Google isn't great just because it gives you back millions of search results to browse through... unless you like clicking through every page??
post #37 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kolchak View Post

Patents are not about implementations. They're about ideas. Copyrights are about implementations rather than ideas. .


Interesting observation.
post #38 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by tundraBuggy View Post

Do away with the Patent system completely....

And destroy our economy in the meantime.

You just put small businesses that rely on innovation out of business. Every time they invent something new, the big guys can just steal it.

And you threw out what little competitive advantage we have against low cost countries like China. It is possible to stop them from stealing your patented inventions today, but if you eliminate patents, that's history.

Amazing who people who have never invented anything in their lives are so eager to throw out intellectual property rights.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeroenhmg View Post

Yes, and tell clients to go away and come back in 2-3 months for new contracts, because they're not going to go elsewhere, right?
This just makes it a little harder for the 1/2/3 person devshops.

Or, how about not taking on more work than you can do? If you can't get an iApp done in 4 months, you're taking more contracts than you can complete - which is fraud.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kolchak View Post

Patents are not about implementations. They're about ideas. Copyrights are about implementations rather than ideas. You can write your next novel with the exact same idea as a copyrighted book, but if it's rewritten in your own words, you're safe.

You might as well be talking to a wall. Most of the people here don't have any concept of what intellectual property involves and why it's important to protect it.
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post #39 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by monstrosity View Post

Well this has seriously pissed me off. I'm one of the people apple has given 30 days warning to. I'm not a 'name squatter" and now im gonna have to rush 3 sodding apps out the door in 30 days.

NOT amused.

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whats in a name ? 
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post #40 of 46
Seems dumb to me, but then again, 120 days is enough time to pick a name that goes along with the function of your app, and create whatever graphics you need for it.

Actually, this could be a good thing. It will mean developers think of functionality BEFORE a name lol. "iShizzle sounds awesome. What should it do? Hmmmmm ::120 days later:: SHIT WHAT DOES ISHIZZLE DO? SOMEONE THINK OF SOMETHING QUICK!"

lolololol
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