If you go to Android Market today, and you try to download YouMail’s Visual Voicemail application (https://market.android.com/details?id=com.youmail.android.vvm) you’ll see this:
That’s any developer’s worst nightmare - your app has disappeared from a major distribution channel, and you have no idea why.
We did some digging and found this note from the folks at Android Market, basically saying that T-mobile complained we were causing network disruption.
Forgive us, but we think this is crazy.
- First, T-mobile has never contacted YouMail to say there was an issue. Not once. Our number is toll-free (800-374-0013) so it would have even been a free call for them. If there’s an issue with a service running on your network, isn’t it reasonable to simply contact the providers of that service?
- Second, none of the other carriers - AT&T, Verizon, or Sprint - has ever complained about YouMail. And we’re doing huge volumes of calls, well over 50 million calls every month, and growing. Why would be causing problems on the smallest carrier when we’re not on the bigger ones?
- Third, we have carriers that put us on all their phones! We just announced that Viaero in Colorado is preloading us on all their phones. If we caused any kind of network disruption, would a carrier actually do that? We’re also the default voicemail for other carriers like Immix in Pennsylvania, Blue Wireless in upstate New York, and have been for several years. If we were disruptive to their networks, how could be their default voicemail service?
- Fourth, there are other apps that rely on the same network features we do and those aren’t suspended. What’s so different about YouMail?
- Finally, YouMail isn’t some fly-by-night company. We’ve been around for awhile, raised nearly $13m to build our technology and start growing our already ample user base. We have taken well over a billion calls from over 75 million uniques. That’s been as a result of 3 million plus downloads and well over 2 million users. If we had a problem, wouldn’t it have shown up much earlier as part of one of those billion calls?
We hate to think this is simply anti-competitive behavior on T-Mobile’s part- simply because we’ve produced an innovative and dramatically better voicemail product than they offer, and that’s free on top of it. Especially given they are trying to finish their acquisition by AT&T But we’re hard-pressed to understand their behavior. Wouldn’t we all be much better off if T-Mobile instead took an approach like the other carriers and tried to see how they could benefit from the success we’ve been having with YouMail?
And the “guilty until proven innocent” doesn’t speak well for the Android Marketplace either. At a minimum, if one carrier complains, why not simply turn off the app for that carrier - it’s only one checkbox - versus suspending it from anyone? We’ll see how all of this shakes out. In the meantime, you can download YouMail from Amazon ((incidentally, a great app store!) at http://www.amazon.com/YouMail-Inc-Visual-Voicemail-Plus/dp/B004T6D3EQ and download our beta at http://www.youmail.com/apps/android, if you want to see what’s coming.