Marco Arment released an iOS 9 Content Blocker on Wednesday and it quickly rocketed up to #1 on the Paid App Store charts. At that ranking, apps can pull in tens of thousands of dollars per day.
For very good reasons, he removed it from sale this morning. And then things got nasty.
Thing is, I think I understand what this week has been like for Marco. In a lot of ways, it reminds me of what happened when a site I wrote went viral a few years ago.
If you’ve never made something that’s gone viral before, let me break down how it feels like for the maker:
- You’re in shock. You can’t believe something you made resonated with so many people.
- You freak out because your inbox has become a disaster.
- You try to get some work done and deal with the explosion of feature requests and attention.
- You start reading online and notice people are saying some really shitty things about you.
- At this point you can’t think about anything else except the shit that people are giving you.
- You want to shut it all down and forget about it.
For anyone who thinks Marco thought this through or planned it in advance, you’re just deluding yourself. Who in the world could anticipate making a #1 rated app in the App Store. I don’t think any independent developer has ever done this outside the context of a game.
If I were Marco, I’d have been feeling dejected and depressed by this morning and would’ve wanted all of the attention to go away. No one person can deal with it alone.
In his post, Marco specifically pointed readers to instructions on how to get App Store refunds. I mean, people, if he was actually trying to scam you, don’t you think he’d just leave the app up on the store and just never say anything else about it? At least he’s being honest. If you already purchased the app, it’s not like you didn’t get anything in return.
You bought a working app. It still works. It will continue to work. There is no scam. Marco isn’t being an asshole. If he’s anything like me, he’s overwhelmed and just wants to get back to normal life. Being the center of crosshairs can really suck.
Be a little more empathetic. Thank Marco for being honest. Respect his decision. He’s just a person like you and me. I realize how easy is can be to forget that when everyone is just an avatar, but please take it to heart. I wish more people did when a similar thing happened to me 4 years ago.