Apple’s decision to ban charitable donations via app has taken away a good donation source medium from the various non profit organizations around the world. I have come across websites and posts where people have been blasting Apple for it’s decision to ban charitable donation driven applications from being hosted on it’s app store. I think Apple will continue to receive flak for this decision for some time to come. However if I were to look at it from Apple’s perspective I think that they don’t want to take 30% cut from money which is meant for donations and most importantly they might not want to be involved in verification of the legal validity of the charity funded non profits. These considerations might have prompted this ban. Whatever be the reason and motive behind Apple’s decision to ban donation apps, a lot of non profits around the globe will be very unhappy with this decision.
For developers the approach would be to create an application which tells the user about the non profit organization and their motto in a well designed compelling interface. The iOS application will give the concerned non profit organization a much needed foot hold in the iOS app store. Once the user has come to know about the organization the app should give user an option to easily hop on to the website of the organization and do the relevant donation. Basically the good part is that the website of the non profit would receive a lot of traffic in this way and the website can further give user more updated details about how the donated money is going to be used. However the bad part is that the user has to manually enter their details like credit card / paypal information into the organization’s website. This approach might turn away some users as they might balk at entering all these information into the organization’s website but users who are convinced about the motto of the non-profit organization, they won’t mind going an extra step to do the donation.
All said and done technology should be the enabler and iOS eco system could definitely be that enabler for donation based apps owing to their ubiquity in the higher income strata of world population. I personally think that Apple could take a special initiative to cater to this category of apps.
I had applied for the yearly renewal of my iOS developer program for which my company had registered last year. Since there is no iTunes App Store in India I had to apply in the old fashioned way i.e. take a print out of the purchase PDF form, fill it up and then FAX it to Apple. Last year this approach had taken nearly 1 month of time and I was expecting that at the time of renewal I would have to go through the same loop all over again. After sending the FAX I waited for nearly a week with no response from Apple in any form. Fearing that my FAX’d purchase form might have been misplaced I sent a mail to Apple’s customer support. In the back of my mind I had envisioned that it would take Apple’s customer support another week or so to give me a response back. But I was pleasantly surprised when I received a response within 24 hours from them. They asked me send me a scanned copy of my purchase form and they assured me that they would do the rest. I sent them a scanned copy and within 48 hours my iOS developer program membership stood renewed!
I think this was a very good experience with the Apple’s customer support. With this kind of fast response I think my company will keep developing applications for the iOS platform for quite some time to come. Way to go Apple!
After years of development on J2ME I finally decided that it was time to gain good expertise on iPhone and boy it is a revelation for someone like me who has worked around the sandbox model of J2ME for years. The amount of API I can access and use is simply mind blowing. I will post my insights and ideas about this wonderful platform in this blog.