Some Android developers aren't getting the money they should, with revenue from web-based sales never finding its way into their accounts because of a problem that's lasted months.
The issue first surfaced at the end of last year, with a few developers noticing a mismatch between sales and receipts, but only some sales are affected so it seems many developers are only just noticing the inconsistency – including El Reg reader Neil Burlock, who is one of the developers being short-changed.
Postings to the Android Market support forum, the merchants have established that it is web-based sales that seem to disappear, and that these can be identified by the addition of a semi-colon to the application name. More recently, a few have even managed to get a statement out of Google, acknowledging the problem and saying that it is being fixed.
We asked Google for more details, and when the developers might expect their cheques, but as of the time of writing it has declined to respond.
More worrying is the number of developers who report they've only just discovered the problem, and how many more are still unaware that their receipts don't match. Web sales may be a minor part of the overall figures, and small developers might not be assiduously checking that Google is passing on every payment, so some developers are only noticing when they happen to have a slow day, or if they stumble across the forum.
Once they have noticed the developers are immediately irritated by the deafening silence from the Chocolate Factory. Despite repeatedly raising the issue over the last few weeks, it is only in the last day or two that developers have received more than a form reply from Google, and even now it's just a message saying the problem is being examined.
There's still a lot of trust in the community – a feeling that the money will turn up eventually, but there's also talk of legal action against Google and, most dangerous of all, the idea of a Developers' Union is being freely discussed. ®