Hello flexers! Taking a moment from food and advocacy, to give you an update on the backend side of The Flexi 21. Because Apple made a major change to their app store requirements, the new mobile app for iPhone and Android for The Flexi 21 I was planning to launch by the end of this year is now on pause for a moment until I figure out what options I have.
I love Apple and have been brand loyal for decades, but this is one of the times I really think they are acting like big, evil corporation because this one decision is essentially killing the ability for small businesses and entrepreneurs, like myself, who do not have the money or funding to hire developers and an app management service to build native apps to get into the Apple store.
I totally get why Apple made these changes which is targeting eliminating spam apps. No one likes spam apps. However, most of these spam apps are built on template, web-based platform services where you pay a monthly/yearly fee to build and host a web-based built app, and then submit your app to the Apple and Google app stores. These services give entrepreneurs and small businesses the ability to build apps because they are cost effective and do not require hiring developers.
I get Apple wants unique apps in their store, but the apps you’ll see for some industries will all look alike or have a similar format like food and restaurant apps where you have a menu, ordering service, hours of operation, an about page, and gallery of photos, or a doctor or dentist who wants to have a business app that includes booking appointments. There is not much to differentiate when the business service and information you are offering is the same as everyone else in your industry.
So, because there is a segment of publishers using these template-based services to abuse the system, Apple has lumped ALL apps built on these services under the same umbrella without giving the possibility of designating certain established template-based services who have good reputations of not being spam app farms. The service I was using to build The Flexi 21 app was one of those reputable services which is why I chose them.
The service I was using has been working with Apple on this issue and has been good about communicating to their customers on the latest updates. However, because of Apple’s change, the service I was using has come out with an entirely new business pricing structure and although it is still possible for me to get an app on the Apple and Google stores, they have more than doubled the monthly fee, and then added an Apple store “Review fee” that is really costly for a solopreuner. It’s like a car payment.
Soooo, this is the life of a changemaker building a tech based business. I’ve been in Silicon Valley for ages so this Apple shift doesn’t phase me much although it was a real disappointment hearing about the changes. I do feel for those new to building a tech-based business or trying to integrating mobile into their business because it’s a major change that could be business killing and/or adding significant costs that were not expected because an industry giant decided to change the game. Seriously Apple, do better for the little guy.
I’ll keep you posted on what I’ll be doing for the mobile offering of The Flexi 21. Thank you for your patience and understanding!