Apple’s App Store Abused By iPhone App Name Squatters

News | Monday October 12 2009 2:46 AM | Comments (0) Tags: , , , , ,

Recombu.com reports of an issue a UK based app developer Atomic Antelope faced with their new app named 'Twitch'. The company, after having spent months in developing the iPhone app and related branding material found to their dismay that the app name was already registered. However on searching the App store for the 'Twitch' iPhone app, it could not be found. The root cause to this issue of app name squatting is apparently due to the app registration procedure where the
“. This allows iPhone app name squatters to pretend to develop an app and register a name, but never actually submit an app. This way, they may own the app name and wait to find future suitors for the app name and try and sell it at a profit.
Explaining that the issue of iPhone app name squatting is worse than domain name squatting, Atomic Antelope write:
“They’re worse than domain name squatters though, because you can’t even enter into negotiation with them. You don’t know who they are, or where they are”. Apparently, this glitch has even caused genuine app developers to turn into squatters. Steamboat Mountains Design, another app development company write on their blog, “It turns out people are grabbing up names by submitting applications without a binary. This realization has lead me to grab dozens and dozens of good sounding applications names. Especially the ones for the two or three dozen application ideas we've kicked around”.
It is surprising that this seemingly minor workflow glitch in the app registration process that has come to trouble app developers has not made any news so far. While it is entirely fair on app developers who spend a lot in developing websites, logos and other branding material to hold app names way before they are actually released, Apple should also ensure that there is a lock-in period so that if an iPhone app hasn't been released by that time, the name is made available to the other iPhone app developers. However, this can throttle the development of any high end iPhone apps that could possibly take months to develop and to be released.
The issue might not have taken monstrous proportions as yet thanks to the very little media coverage. But as news about the possible loophole now spreads, new squatters will be more than willing to take the plunge. Hope Apple addresses the issue sooner than later to nip the problem in the bud.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments on how Apple should handle this problem.

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