Negative Apps

Deleted some folders while not-quite-awake the other day and realised the next day I’d nuked my entire Apps directory backup. Normally this would not matter but I had not replaced the apps back since I reinstalled Lion. I like backups for some stuff and I remembered that now in iTunes it lets you see and download everything you have bought. Thinking that I might have forgotten a game here or there I grabbed the lot. All the iPhone/iPad apps newly downloaded. All looked good. Synced the iPod Touch and I could not find a game that I liked in particular (Thruple).
Checked the iTunes Store – not there.
Checked the downloads again – not there.
Checked the author’s site and a gaming forum. Nothing.
The app did not exist. But it should do.

Doubting myself I searched my Purchase History in iTunes. For all the praise heaped on Apple that part of their domain is – and it must be 100% deliberate – atrocious. They really don’t want to you search, to page how you want to, to display full info so you can scan easily. Searched email, found the transaction for Thruple. Found that in the Purchase history. So I did own it, I had bought it. I did the “Report a problem” and got this reply:

Dear Mark,

Thank you for writing to iTunes Store Customer Support. This is Lynne and I’m glad to assist you today.

I understand that the app “Thruple” that you purchased was lost and you would like a refund. I know how upsetting this can be.

Your request for a refund for “Thruple” was carefully considered; however, according to the iTunes Store Terms of Sale, all purchases made on the iTunes Store are ineligible for refund. This policy matches Apple’s refund policies and provides protection for copyrighted materials.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say I was upset – it’s digital so there will be other copies – but they know I bought it and they won’t let me have it again. They could but they choose not to – and yes I knew that this was the exact reply I would get. I do like the “carefully considered” phrase. It implies some sort of thought, the human touch. As for “protection for copyrighted materials” – what a crock of crap. Off to your friendly app provider and bingo – there is a copy. All I wanted was what I had paid for. Downloaded but for some reason I couldn’t jailbreak my iPod Touch. It went to recovery mode every time. I gave up. Then I remembered I had a backup of the backup on another drive – all will be good!

Used Diffmerge to compare the backup to what I had just downloaded. According to iTunes I had everything I had paid for. According to Diffmerge I was missing just under 100. That’s a lot of missing. I carefully checked each of these 100 apps. BetterZip lets you look inside at the .plist file and every single one had my email address. These weren’t cracked and I’d forgotten or anything similar. These were geunine apps that Apple decided I can do without.

They could have shown me something along the lines of “The developer has removed his game for whatever reason., Sorry, we can’t get it back” but they did not. That makes them scammy. If they were confident in why this had happened they should display a notice. But they hide. They pretend that the transaction never existed by hiding the app.

I am happy that I have Thruple back but it’s a shame that it and a similar game called SET are both removed from the store. They are great games. But for others .. the games are not now being sold, no money can be lost. I shouldn’t need to say Apptrackr but I will. Not exactly a secret is it?

One thought on “Negative Apps

  1. If you could email me your copy of Thruple, that would be incredible. I haven’t played it in years, and I’m extremely sad that it is gone. Wondering if I could get in touch with the developer and persuade them to repost it.

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