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Handango Closes My Account and Reneges on Raffle Prize!

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Summary: Handango, probably the largest online mobile software store, has abruptly closed my account and removed all of my products from their store for no stated reason, thus making it impossible to honor a raffle prize that I won from them last year.

History: In 2005, I won a raffle that Handango had, which resulted in me receiving $5,000.00 in ad allowance to use on advertising my products on their site and in their newsletters.

When I first tried to use part of the balance to take out two ads, Handango forgot to schedule one of the ads, so they apologized by giving me two additional ad allowances which resulted in me then having:

  • $4250 balance to be used for advertising (except champion ads)
  • Free Champion spot ad in a smartphone newsletter issue ($250)
  • 2 weeks of featured spot on website ($1000)

(total of $5,500.00)

I recently developed a new version for one of my products (Alerts!), and I wanted to use part of my ad allowance to promote it. But, when I tried to use/confirm my ad balance, a new management team at Handango wasn't aware of my ad allowance and suddenly put a whole bunch of restrictions on it, including that I had to use the entire balance within 5 months or loose it. As you will see, Handango admits that these restrictions are not documented anywhere, but they were still holding me to them.

Being that I currently had only one product that was worth promoting (Alerts! - because it's latest version was less then 1 year ago), this meant that I could either blow the entire allowance to promote just this one product, or try to rush development on new versions of my other apps in this short period of time. For the allowance to really be of any use, I had no choice but to choose the later.

Naturally, my feathers were ruffled because of these surprise undocumented ad restrictions, and the pressure of me (being a single developer) having to develop two major new versions of my products within just a few months.

We then spent almost a month going back and forth creating the insertion order (ad schedule) because they ignored my request to do it faster over a phone call.

On the day that the first ad was to appear, it didn't. And when I inquired why, they essentially replied that they had closed my account (for no stated reason) and will no longer sell my apps!, thus making it impossible to use my ad allowance at all!

If you don't believe that this is the whole story and Handango wouldn't do something like this, then please read the below Unedited message volley I had with Handango and see for yourself:

 [ Click Here for the Entire Message Thread ]

I was awarded the $5000+ ad allowance fair and square before anything else occurred. But, by deleting my account, they made it impossible for me to use that allowance. Thus, Handango effectively reneged on their own raffle prize!

IMPORTANT: If you are an employee of Microsoft, Motorola, Verizon, Cingular, HP, Sprint or T-Mobile, it would be appropriate for your company to inquire why Handango would treat one of their partners in this fashion.

The future development and support of my mobile apps is at risk...

Since a large number of my sales were generated through Handango's store, the closure of my account has stopped those sales. This has significantly reduced the sales potential for all of my apps and placed them lower in my to-do list because I need to spend my time on projects that will pay the bills.

I hope that you never had to contact me with a support issue for one of my products, but if you did, I trust that I provided you with the very best support possible. Now, I'm asking for YOUR support.

I scheduled ads for both Vnotes and SATALERT to go live on or around November 15th. And I was on track to release major version upgrades for both of them by that date. But, now that the ads have been cancelled, there is much less incentive to complete those upgrades. This is one reason why I need your help in getting Handango to reconsider their decision.

Use the below link to discuss this issue with others:
OMNISOFT Forum: Handango Closed My Account!

10/30/06 UPDATE
The support that everyone has shown on this issue is overwhelming (in a good way!) and truly reassures me that I did not deserve this.

Thank you! :)

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Look who's talking...

Websites talking about this issue

(if I left any websites out, please let me know so I can add it to this list)

Check out this very insightful article by Bill Ray of The Register:


Click Here to read Article

11/21/06 Follow-up to above article:
Handango Pays Off Omnisoft

Also, the below websites have stopped using Handango as their software store (if I forgot anyone, please let me know):


(They were selling between $3,000 and $6,000 worth of software per month through Handango's site, but no more!)

Mobility Site

PocketGamer

If you do not want to purchase software through Handango, you can, for example purchase products of the following companies via the WebIS store at http://ssl.webis.net:
  • WebIS
  • PhatWare
  • Iambic
  • SBSH
  • Ilium

Here are some more online shops that sell mobile software (if I left any websites out, please let me know so I can add it to this list):

11/21/06 UPDATE
Hello Everyone,

This will probably be the last update I will make for a while on this issue.

Handango is still not willing to re-open my account at this time. Will Pinnell said in their official reply “We treat all of our 16,000 global content providers with respect and professionalism”. I just wish I was one of those 16,000 because I probably would have then been extended the respect and professional courtesy of an advanced notice informing me that my account was at risk of being closed, and the opportunity to fix whatever the problem(s) were before it had to be abruptly terminated.

Even though Handango will not re-open my account (so now I'm loosing almost half of my sales), they did send me a check out of the blue for a portion of the ad allowance I had ($4,250.00 of the $5,500.00 total). They have not replied to my inquiry about the remaining $1,250.00. However, they didn't even offer this to me until after all of you showed your support :) So, you did make a difference!

On a BIG positive note, Mike Temporale from SmartphoneThoughts.com (one of the ThoughtsMedia suite of sites) informed Mobihand about my situation. Dave Schoenbach from Mobihand then contacted me with some really good news:

We’re happy to give your products an extra promotional boost when they get into the catalog, including prominent listing in our Featured Products rotation, and notification to editors of blogs at some of our key distribution partner sites. This is in consideration of the difficulties you’ve gone through, and your willingness to sign up with MobiHand. If, in addition, you are interested in an exclusive sales arrangement with us, in which the MobiHand network is, at least initially (maybe for a one month period), the sole place to buy your products, we’d be pleased to do a concerted blitz, including prominent placement in our ads rotation, and featuring your products in an upcoming newsletter from one of our bigger distribution partners, in addition to the boost mentioned above.

Please note that we also offer ecommerce services, including a website shopping cart, mobile shopping cart which can be linked from your trial versions for on-device purchase, and a direct-to-device download module, html you can insert in your site, for users to send their device a link via SMS or email, for easy trial downloads. We custom design these, branded to your site look, with no setup charge, only a 10% fee on transactions (and we pay credit card or PayPal fees).

In addition, Jack from Mobile Gadget News wrote me with:

MGN is extending one month of free banner ads to John Cody to help him with the transition.

Also, Feico Mol from MyTreo.net wrote me with:

"I'm hoping I can help you a little by offering free promotion and inclusion in our weekly newsletter (reaches 250,000 Treo users)...Would also be more than happy to get one of our staff writers to produce a review of one of your products for on our frontpage."

All of your support helped me deal with this issue immensely.
So, I want to say Thank You with these offers:

  • For everyone who read my story, I would like to send you a FREE copy of SmartTIP, a tip calculator that runs on most Windows Mobile Smartphones (2002/2003/WM5/Landscape and app-locked devices too). All that I ask in return is the opportunity to tell you about new OMNISOFT products and specials via the email address you provide below (you can unsubscribe to my newsletter at anytime - Our Privacy Statement). As you can guess, I could sure use all the sales leads I can get ;)
Enter code exactly
as you see it
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Your Name:
Your Email:


An email will be immediately sent to you containing
a download link and a FREE Registration code for SmartTIP

  • And for those who took the time to send Handango your comments on this issue (via the form that was on this page), I will also be sending you a coupon good for 50% off the OMNISOFT product of your choice! Note: It may be a few weeks before you receive the coupon because I need to modify my order form to accept coupons.

Thanks for all your support!

- John Cody
OMNISOFT

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