Saturday, November 1, 2008

iPhone application name squatting

I have been working with the iPhone SDK since the Summer of '08. Did you know there is a name squatting of sorts going on inside the iPhone Developer's Portal? You can go all the way through the development process, application art work and all. Only to discover during the iTMS application process that the name of your application is already taken.

This happened with our application iSkream. It was originally titled iScream of course. We had the application ID, the build target, the Ad Hoc beta program distribution, our artwork, and our website all setup with iScream. At the last minute our application was rejected because the name was "already in use". How could this be? There was no application in the App Store called "iScream"! We had to scramble to get a new name and adjust everything. 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. The problem with name squatting is that there is no visibility, the squatters, myself included, can't be propositioned for the access to the names. Who knows, maybe someday Apple will flush all the applications that haven't submitted binaries and all of us name squatters will be gone.


Blogger JMathews said...

It's good to see that after one year, some others have finally stumbled onto this. It's been getting some media attention recently too - check out

If you're a developer and you've spent months building your art and application *without first* securing the application's name - well...

Kinda makes you wish Apple told you up front -- a name that's not public in iTunes doesn't mean it's available to you. You have to reserve it.

I don't think Apple will force application name reservations to expire -- who is Apple to decide how long it takes someone to develop their application? All iPhone developer accounts already expire every 365 days. I assume those names are released when accounts expire. I've had at least six email exchanges with iTunes Connect on this subject and I've yet to get a straight answer.

October 13, 2009 3:29 PM  
Blogger Builder said... is trying to cashing in on iphone name app squatting, but at least provides a forum for developers to contact others that have there desired app name.

October 15, 2009 6:54 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

It's also worth noting that you HAVE to register and submit your application LONG before you develop and application that uses In App Purchases. Shocking right? No it's not. Register you application (in iTunes Connect) when you start development -- not when you finish.

October 17, 2009 5:15 PM  

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