Payment Now Issued, Google Tells Frustrated Developers

Google on Friday morning posted a brief, apologetic message on a forum filled with angry comments from app developers who haven't been paid for sales of their Android apps.

Payouts were sent on March 15 -- nearly two weeks late -- but some people may not receive them for three days after that date, Crystal H., a Google employee, wrote on the forum. "We apologize for any inconvenience you may have experienced and appreciate your understanding," she wrote.

More than 100 people, hailing from Norway, Austria, Portugal, France, U.K., Germany, Ireland, Sweden and Spain, complained that they hadn't received payment from Google for their apps that were downloaded from Google Play, the new name for the Android Market.

Typically, developers said payments are issued on the second day of the month, arriving in their bank accounts on the seventh of the month. On that day, people began posting to a Google forum that the payment hadn't arrived.

Some people seemed as upset about the inability to contact anyone at Google to alert the company of the issue as they were at not getting paid. Many had visited a help page that Google offers but could only choose to send messages from a list provided by Google. None related to not receiving a payment.

"It is totally scary that there is no one to answer to that kind of request at Google. It's like there are just a bunch of robots, we pay 30% of our sales and we have no one to talk to, it's insane, I don't know of another business with such an abysmal customer service," one developer named Richard wrote.

"My biggest annoyance is the lack of communication or direct email. It frustrates me as a professional I have to go through some automated service for something that is very important," a commenter using the name "zabamobile" wrote.

A couple developers kindly offered their colleagues this suggestion: Use the Amazon Appstore for Android instead. The store offers apps for users of Android phones and tablets. One person wrote that sales through that store were good, especially since the launch of the Kindle Fire tablets, which use Android.

"Amazon has the best developer support staff and Google can learn a lot from them how to treat their developers," a developer using the name "odi5," wrote.

That suggestion is surely not what Google would like to hear. When apps sell through the Amazon Appstore, Amazon gets a cut of the sale, instead of Google.

It's not the first time that Google has failed to live up to user expectations for customer service. For instance, it faced hundreds of posts to a forum from people who needed help with their Nexus One phones from Google. Those people were upset to discover that there was no one to talk to about their problems and that it took days to receive a response to their email help requests.

Google did not reply to a request for comment about what caused the delayed payment.

Nancy Gohring covers mobile phones and cloud computing for The IDG News Service. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @idgnancy. Nancy's e-mail address is Nancy_Gohring@idg.com

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