“Apple Says ‘No!’” and what that means for the future of Better Blocker following our move to Ireland
What’s going on?
In my previous blog post, I asked Apple for a little help with a problem we had with Better Blocker after moving to Ireland and setting up a new not-for-profit here:
We’re a tiny two-person not-for-profit. We used to be based in the UK, where we were known as Ind.ie (and incorporated as a not-for-profit called Article 12). We left the UK (for reasons) and now we have a not-for-profit here in Ireland called Small Technology Foundation. It’s still just Laura and me (and our huskamute, Oskar).
We have an app called Better Blocker … The problem is that we are now faced with having to take it off the App Store as we don’t seem to have a way to migrate our developer account to our new not-for-profit.
What did Apple say?
Last week, we got a definite “computer says no” from Apple’s “developer support.”
What does that mean?
That means that we are forced to:
- Remove Better Blocker from our Ind.ie account.
- Re-publish Better Blocker from our Small Technology Foundation account.
What does this mean for you if you bought Better Blocker from Ind.ie?
- You can continue using Better on your devices.
- You will continue to receive blocking rule updates.
- You will not receive any further updates to the app itself.
How will we handle the process?
Laura and I have made a plan to try and handle this as well as we can given what we do and don’t have control over. Here’s what we’ve done so far and what our plan is for the coming weeks:
Last week, I fixed all the outstanding bugs and implemented a couple of enhancements on the existing macOS and iOS apps.
This morning, I submitted the Better Blocker 2020.1 update for macOS and iOS to Apple from the Ind.ie account as the last update we will be releasing under that account. My hope is that this version will serve you well at least until Apple breaks something in their next OS update.
Just a few moments ago, I made both the macOS and iOS apps free on the App Store. Now that we know we cannot update the app under the Ind.ie account in the future, we cannot keep selling it from that account with a clear conscience.
If you bought Better Blocker recently and want a refund, please ask for one from Apple.
[We are here right now] Once the 2020.1 updates have been approved by Apple (this could take anywhere from a couple of days to goodness knows when, given that the process – like everything else at Apple – is one giant black box), we will give existing customers two weeks to update their apps.
After this time, we will remove Better Blocker from the App Store under the Ind.ie Apple Developer account and close the Ind.ie Apple Developer account.
Finally, we will then submit Better Blocker to Apple for review from the Small Technology Foundation account. As and when Apple approves it, Better Blocker will be available for sale again on the App Store for macOS and iOS under the Small Technology Foundation account.
What does this mean for Better Blocker and our tiny two-person not-for-profit?
It means that we will:
Lose four years of reviews and App Store history.
Lose our placement on the Safari App Extensions page.
Lose income that was some months almost paying the rent for us for at least a month or more. Depending on how much of the sales were based on our Safari App Extensions page placement and organic links from around the Web, the money we make from Better might be substantially less than before.
Most likely piss a lot of people off and get a bunch of 1-star reviews (always fun!)
This sucks. It sucks for you and it sucks for us. We didn’t want this.
That said, this is just how life is when you’re dealing with trillion-dollar faceless corporations. It’s just one reason why it’s so important that we fund and develop human-scale small tech as an alternative to the strangehold of big tech on our lives. And that’s exactly what I shall return to working on next.
Laura and I are sorry if this causes you any inconvenience. We tried everything we could to avoid this. Sadly, we simply cannot afford to keep two organisations running in two different countries.
Personally, I look forward to the day when our ability to pay the rent is in no way linked to any trillion-dollar corporation.