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  • "Name Squatters" Raiding the App World

    Image via watblog

    What's in a name?

    For an app... everything is in a name. And although name squatting (the process of registering a name that profits or benefits from another person or business), is nothing new in the digital world, we've seen how "domain name squatters" have made life incredibly difficult for some business owners. The same thing, unfortunately, is now transpiring in the app development world, a situation brought up this weekend by Andrew Lim at Recombu.

    "It turns out that squatters have moved into the app store. Theyíre worse than domain name squatters though, because you canít even enter into negotiation with them. You donít know who they are, or where they are. They take advantage of the fact that a developer can pretend to submit an app, but abandon their submission at the last moment, avoiding the need to actually create an application, but keeping hold of the appís name. In limbo. Forever."
    There is clearly a growing problem in Apple's policy, a posturing that allows individuals to capture unique names (a process required by Apple before an app can be released) but not obligating them to release the app - if there even is one.

    Squatting has become very sophisticated in recent years. I know several people who have registered film names and song titles before they became successful (as a result of someone else's hard work, of course) only to turn around and sell them at a ridiculously huge profit. As a business model, domain squatting can work. And it's also "fair" in the sense that there is a marketplace for domain names to be sold or traded.

    This isn't true in the app world. As Lim pointed out in his article, good app names could remain "in limbo forever" at the hands of name squatters who "might do something with the name someday."
    So there you have it, it seems that the Apple iPhone app store is open to abuse from app name squatters and encourages legitimate developers to squat in fear of losing out. We have sent an email to Apple asking for a comment and are awaiting a reply. We hope this unfair system is changed soon, otherwise iPhone developers will find it difficult to get good names for their apps.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: "Name Squatters" Raiding the App World started by Michael Essany View original post
    Comments 24 Comments
    1. aries_green_monkey's Avatar
      aries_green_monkey -
      NEVER THOUGHT I'd be FIRST!

      LMAO, let the argument begin.

      Also, this is bullpucky! They should expire or something.

      Edit: INB4 ANY complaints about my post being first.
    1. playboii's Avatar
      playboii -
      never thought i'd be second haha but this is ridiculous
    1. awesomeSlayer's Avatar
      awesomeSlayer -
      That's nice...who knew the name squatters would go to the App Store? Apple should change their policy or devs will be in deep sh*t.
    1. AutumnBoard's Avatar
      AutumnBoard -
      Another app store problem. The list is growing...
    1. smuggler's Avatar
      smuggler -
      wow you guys are kids talking about being first and second, about this post... could you not see it comin'?
    1. steve-z17's Avatar
      steve-z17 -
      Never thought I'd be seventh!!..jk (just wanted to be like the other cool guys). This is really really dumb though that ppl are doing this It makes it harder on the ppl who actually want to put out apps! Lame sauce...
    1. aries_green_monkey's Avatar
      aries_green_monkey -
      My only question is what kind of names these "squatters" are taking? Famous actors / actresses or events? I understand the idea of squatting, but wouldn't it be hard to capitalize, in the future, off of an app which doesnt even exist? Besides, when it is released wont the author name the app something totally different anyway?

      Quote Originally Posted by smuggler View Post
      wow you guys are kids talking about being first and second, about this post... could you not see it comin'?
      This is NOT intended to be read with a "harsh" tone: Could you post about the topic instead of what the first poster has earned the right to say? Because truthfully, i thinks it is more immature to increase your post count by complaining, instead of making relevant comments about the thread.
    1. glassJAw's Avatar
      glassJAw -
      Quote Originally Posted by aries_green_monkey View Post
      NEVER THOUGHT I'd be FIRST!

      LMAO, let the argument begin.

      Also, this is bullpucky! They should expire or something.

      Edit: INB4 ANY complaints about my post being first.
      Agreed with names expiring, or the rights to a name. If you have nothing to show for that reserved title then it should be fair game. None of this bull **** hoarding.
    1. santaf's Avatar
      santaf -
      i dont' see the horribleness in this i mean i understand it's sad that someone can't name their app something jsut because someone already has the rights to that name but then jstu come up with something different. their lives aren't over
    1. thetoothfairy's Avatar
      thetoothfairy -
      Maybe Apple should change a few rules....
    1. szr's Avatar
      szr -
      I'm finding difficult to understand why you can reserve a name like this without actually submitting an app? There should at the very least be a strict window in which an app must be submitted, like say, a week, else the submittion gets dropped.
    1. justarry21's Avatar
      justarry21 -
      Okay, yeah this is kind of bad but you don't tell us how bad this issue is... are thousands of names taken by these "name squatters" or is it just a few? And what is considered a good name that people would want to reserve?
    1. clikzip's Avatar
      clikzip -
      nissan.com comes to mind...Funny situation but sad at the same time.
    1. JerseyScottie's Avatar
      JerseyScottie -
      haha that picture of the guy w/ the computer is classic
    1. NSXrebel's Avatar
      NSXrebel -
      I never thought I'd be 16th!! *sarcasm...idiots*

      I'm sure Apple can and will do something about this. Unless you pay a fee when you submit for an App, then Apple can just drop the submission after a certain period if no actual application is submitted.
    1. viperstarpoint9's Avatar
      viperstarpoint9 -
      I am by no means a dev, but Apple should not even alow you to register an app name with out the promise of an app, or an app being submited with it.
    1. psychodave's Avatar
      psychodave -
      Just when you thought it was safe to develop an App with a cool name.
    1. rwin84's Avatar
      rwin84 -
      capitalism.
    1. whereswaldo's Avatar
      whereswaldo -
      that pic is a classic
    1. n00neimp0rtant's Avatar
      n00neimp0rtant -
      PF should totally put a wordfilter on "first" and change it to "homosexual" or something.