I Love Lawyers

Since yesterday’s post on my problems with AdWords, I was passed the contact details of a very nice lady in Apple Legal, who sent an email on my behalf to the very nice Google Advertising Legal team, who just wrote back to me.

So, I am now hereby authorised by Apple “to use its APPLE, IPOD,  IPHONE and MAC trademarks in its Google sponsored links in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Ireland”.

I wish to now state for the record that, contrary to any previous comments I have made on the matter, lawyers are A) surprisingly efficient, and B) lovely.

Your Google AdWords Approval Status

Well, it’s not entirely surprising after the similar “Mac” debacle, but I just got an email from Google AdWords saying that my PCalc advert has been suspended because it uses the trademarked term “iPhone” in the text. This isn’t about keywords it seems, it’s just the body text of the advert they complained about.

Here’s the ad:

PCalc for iPhone
Full-feature calculator with RPN.
Unit conversions, tape, hex/binary.

How exactly I’m supposed to advertise software for the iPhone without actually using the word “iPhone”, I’m not quite sure yet. When “Mac OS X” was banned, I switched to plain “OS X” and everybody seemed to be happy. Suggestions? “PCalc for that phone from that company named after a fruit”?

Yes, I know it’s probably something to do with protecting trademarks and having many many lawyers, but it doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. 

I mean, if my advert said “Don’t buy an iPhone, buy an HTC G1 instead!”, I could understand the concern from Apple’s perspective. But you’d think that since they get 30% of everything I sell, they would be quite happy I’m paying for the advertising myself.

Interesting that the email came today as the new versions came out – could be coincidence, but I’m guessing the increased traffic caught somebody’s attention.

Quick, Write Something!

Ok, so John Gruber just linked to this embryonic little blog, so I better say something interesting.

Let me adapt a little rant that I sent to my beta testers this afternoon…

The recent change to the iPhone App Store so that the listed release date of software is the date of initial submission – and not the date of the last update – seems to have had a very profound effect on our sales, and not in a good way. PCalc is now currently sitting on the 29th and last page of the Utilities section, since it was one of the very first apps submitted to the store, and that means it’s now effectively dead in the water.

PCalc 1.1 went up on the store yesterday without any PR fanfare, and there was no increase in sales whatsoever, whereas previously that would have generated a very significant spike as it made it to the first page. So, what’s the rationale now for developing big updates to your software, rather than just banging out a bunch of cheap and cheerful apps that you never intend to look at twice?

Ok, so the argument is probably that people were abusing the update mechanism by releasing numerous small updates to keep their apps near the top of the pile. But instead of addressing those people, now everybody has to suffer, and there’s now a big incentive to work on something new rather than further develop existing software.

The conspiracy theorist would point out that Apple doesn’t make any money from the updates so that’s in their interest. But perhaps I should just spend more time and money on my marketing rather than my coding…

Well, Everybody’s Doing It

Yes, I realise a developer blog by some starving indie Mac / iPhone programmer isn’t exactly original, but instead of ranting at my friends and loved ones, I thought I would pontificate at you instead gentle reader.

Not decided what form this will take, but I’m sure by the time you actually come across this blog, there will be a lot more insightful posts above this one.

Today marks the release of both PCalc 1.1 for the iPhone and PCalc 3.3.1 for Mac OS X, so please check them out.

Ok, so if we’re being honest, PCalc 1.1 actually appeared on the App Store yesterday, but the chances of cutting through the MacBook press coverage were rapidly approaching nil (NULL?) so I decided to pretend it came out today, simultaneously with the Mac one.

It should have been up there on Monday, but apparently “Ready For Sale” doesn’t mean what I think it does.