Author Topic: Attn: MobiSystems. -- The present and future of Aquamail  (Read 17160 times)

StR

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Attn: MobiSystems. -- The present and future of Aquamail
« on: September 19, 2017, 06:26:31 pm »
The recent surprise with sudden (and, arguably, rather invasive) appearance of ads in the free version of this great app pushed me to write this post.

I have been a loyal user of Aquamail for over 3 years. Moreover, I've been a vocal evangelist of this app, bringing tens (that I know), if not hundreds of new users. This is because for all this time, I've considered Aquamail being the best e-mail app for Android (and one of the best apps for Android overall).
 
But at this point, I am very concerned about the future (and the present!) of Aquamail. My trust in Aquamail is shaken.

I understand the necessity of the changes that would provide MobiSystems with the return on investment and would allow supporting further development of this app. So far, we've seen introduction of analytics, price increase (doubling), and now sudden appearance of ads.  The problem is not in that these changes have been made, but how they've been done: All of those were done silently. And that's the biggest concern.

How many more "skeletons" are we going to find in Aquamail?  Are we going to get any surprises for the paid version? Or, (I am fearing), do we have something already in it; something that will show its ugly head at any moment?


Today's devices contain lots of personal information. Installing an app with many invasive permissions requires the owner to trust the app developer. They became a part of our intimate life.So, many people look carefully at the reputation of the apps and the developers/owners.

Kostya has built a reputation for this app (and for himself). His transparent and honest approach has earned him and the app the trust.
From what I read from other people, your, MobiSystem, reputation had some problems beforehand.{^} The fact that Kostya remained the chief developer opened a credit line of trust for MobiSystems (in relation to Aquamail) from the long-term Aquamail users. How long that trust credit line will last really depends on the actions of MobiSystems.
Please note, that even though these ads are not experienced by Aquamail paid users, - the sneaky way they have been introduced is a dark mark on the reputation.

I am certain that all long-term Aquamail users would like to see Aquamail thriving. I am sure that MobiSystems wants the same. (You didn't buy this app to crash the competition.)
And one of the necessary conditions for that is the continued trust. For that, transparency about policies and practices affecting the users, and changes in them, is of paramount importance.

Look at the demise of previously great and popular apps, such as QuickPic, ES File Explorer, - after those were purchased by companies with a questionable reputation, and sneaky and invasive changes were introduced. I am calling on you, MobiSystems, to prevent that from happening with Aquamail!

I invite other users of Aquamail to chime in here.
I hope this MobiSystem's leadership will be smart to recognize this as an opportunity to prevent the disaster and save this app's reputation.


------
{^} This 9-month-old posting from @iceman.jkh, talking about ads and nag screens was about the past, but now, it sounds very visionary.


nadir husain

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Re: Attn: MobiSystems. -- The present and future of Aquamail
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2017, 06:49:53 pm »
Wonder if Kostya intentionally picked this time to go on vacation- let  the storm pass (as it were). Like @StR I have tremendous respect for Kostya and his honesty and complete transparency. Indeed, on occasion I thought he approach was one of a lab scientist interested in pure development and indeed proud to demonstrate his work. Thus wondering how he would be able to turn it into the profitable venture that it was designed to be. Come MobiSystems, a hard core commercial company who could turn AquaMail into a good midsized business. Sadly their approach has been anything that is customer oriented- a very poor begining from a marketing point of view. Post that, the least said the better.

mscheaf

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Re: Attn: MobiSystems. -- The present and future of Aquamail
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2017, 07:07:58 pm »
Exactly, I don't trust them at all anymore. Wouldn't be surprised if they are selling all our info to the Kremlin as well. On to one of the other 65,000 email clients available.

The recent surprise with sudden (and, arguably, rather invasive) appearance of ads in the free version of this great app pushed me to write this post.

I have been a loyal user of Aquamail for over 3 years. Moreover, I've been a vocal evangelist of this app, bringing tens (that I know), if not hundreds of new users. This is because for all this time, I've considered Aquamail being the best e-mail app for Android (and one of the best apps for Android overall).
 
But at this point, I am very concerned about the future (and the present!) of Aquamail. My trust in Aquamail is shaken.

I understand the necessity of the changes that would provide MobiSystems with the return on investment and would allow supporting further development of this app. So far, we've seen introduction of analytics, price increase (doubling), and now sudden appearance of ads.  The problem is not in that these changes have been made, but how they've been done: All of those were done silently. And that's the biggest concern.

How many more "skeletons" are we going to find in Aquamail?  Are we going to get any surprises for the paid version? Or, (I am fearing), do we have something already in it; something that will show its ugly head at any moment?


Today's devices contain lots of personal information. Installing an app with many invasive permissions requires the owner to trust the app developer. They became a part of our intimate life.So, many people look carefully at the reputation of the apps and the developers/owners.

Kostya has built a reputation for this app (and for himself). His transparent and honest approach has earned him and the app the trust.
From what I read from other people, your, MobiSystem, reputation had some problems beforehand.{^} The fact that Kostya remained the chief developer opened a credit line of trust for MobiSystems (in relation to Aquamail) from the long-term Aquamail users. How long that trust credit line will last really depends on the actions of MobiSystems.
Please note, that even though these ads are not experienced by Aquamail paid users, - the sneaky way they have been introduced is a dark mark on the reputation.

I am certain that all long-term Aquamail users would like to see Aquamail thriving. I am sure that MobiSystems wants the same. (You didn't buy this app to crash the competition.)
And one of the necessary conditions for that is the continued trust. For that, transparency about policies and practices affecting the users, and changes in them, is of paramount importance.

Look at the demise of previously great and popular apps, such as QuickPic, ES File Explorer, - after those were purchased by companies with a questionable reputation, and sneaky and invasive changes were introduced. I am calling on you, MobiSystems, to prevent that from happening with Aquamail!

I invite other users of Aquamail to chime in here.
I hope this MobiSystem's leadership will be smart to recognize this as an opportunity to prevent the disaster and save this app's reputation.


------
{^} This 9-month-old posting from @iceman.jkh, talking about ads and nag screens was about the past, but now, it sounds very visionary.

phred

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Re: Attn: MobiSystems. -- The present and future of Aquamail
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2017, 10:00:28 pm »
I haven't been using AM all that long - perhaps a month or two. I tried the free version for less than a week and then bought the pro version. I was helped at the very beginning by a great forum with helpful and responsive members. And of course, Kostya.

While I'm not impacted by the ads, I agree that it should have been announced first. I would assume that there were more users of the free version than of the paid. At least until yesterday. With way in which the advertisements were implemented in the app, I think Mobi blew their best shot at getting new/free users to purchase the pro version. I don't blame the users who are pissed off and moving on to another mail client. I would be doing the same thing if I was still using the free version.

@Mobi - you've got a PR issue on your hands right now because you just threw the change at your users, with no notice whatsoever. You could probably salvage some of them by offering them a further discount from the current $5.00. You really should step up and make this right with a further discount to current users who want to go pro. You also need to admit your mistake.

nica

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Re: Attn: MobiSystems. -- The present and future of Aquamail
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2017, 05:50:40 pm »
Written in another thread, too - but did not receive any response by support:

Our team puts great effort in developing, testing and supporting the app.
And what about "communicating"?

Why not show an announcement some weeks before about this at same place instead of just suddenly switching into an adware app?

Users would have be informed about your intentions (and would have thought about purchasing pro) instead of being irritated and asking here.

1-star Ratings in play store already show the upcoming shitstorm, which you could have avoid.

Edit:
Today's and yesterday's feedback in (german) play store is awful...

Unfortunately this seems to be the next step to destroy an previous excellent app. Bummer.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2017, 05:52:22 pm by nica »

mscheaf

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Re: Attn: MobiSystems. -- The present and future of Aquamail
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2017, 06:10:22 pm »

Unfortunately this seems to be the next step to destroy an previous excellent app. Bummer.

It will be abandonware by this time next year. Another app ruined by greed and incompetence. Nice job Mobisystems!

StR

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Privacy policy changed - No notice provided!
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2017, 08:47:28 pm »
I just discovered yet another change (related) change that happened very quietly: Privacy policy has changed.
Here is the current version.
Here is the version circa June 6, 2017 on WayBackMachine.

The notable change is that the "No ads" section is gone now!
Quote
No ads

Neither (free or paid) version of Aqua Mail has in-app ads. Many ad networks will try to identify and track the user for purposes of ad targeting. Not the case with Aqua Mail.
(underlined by me)

First of all, all reputable companies announce (notify) users of the privacy policy changes.
I am not a legal expert, but e.g. this discussion might indicate that a lack of such a notice (prior to the change!) could be a legal violation in some jurisdictions (e.g. California Business and Professions Code section 22947 and following and/or Online Privacy Protection Act of 2003 - California Business and Professions Code sections 22575-22579).
But in any case, it is accepted as a good business practice to inform users about policy changes.

Second, removal of this passage raises a question: Does it mean that now Aquamail users might be tracked through the ads (e.g. by "ad networks")?

Even if there is nothing malicious happening, - how can we believe that now? What and why were they trying to hide?

MobiSystems, have you realized yet what trouble you've got yourself into by doing this sneaky change?!
Argh!...


PS. I am still puzzled: "Why?!"
Why did MobiSystem had to do it this way? What did the person making that decision think? To me, this behavior is akin that of a 5-year-old who thinks his parents might not notice that he ate the entire box of chocolate candies.

mikeone

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Re: Attn: MobiSystems. -- The present and future of Aquamail
« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2017, 09:02:16 pm »
@MobiSystems
@Kostya

A life to grow, a day to die...

This one will be my very last post (no. 2285) in the forum. Bye and good luck...
« Last Edit: September 20, 2017, 09:27:33 pm by mikeone »

jmccabe

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Re: Attn: MobiSystems. -- The present and future of Aquamail
« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2017, 10:14:16 pm »

{^} This 9-month-old posting from @iceman.jkh, talking about ads and nag screens was about the past, but now, it sounds very visionary.

There were criticisms of MobiSystems' behaviour in other apps on the pages prior to that one, including mine - https://www.aqua-mail.com/forum/index.php?topic=5102.msg30688#msg30688.

StR

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Re: Attn: MobiSystems. -- The present and future of Aquamail
« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2017, 10:17:59 pm »

{^} This 9-month-old posting from @iceman.jkh, talking about ads and nag screens was about the past, but now, it sounds very visionary.

There were criticisms of MobiSystems' behaviour in other apps on the pages prior to that one, including mine - https://www.aqua-mail.com/forum/index.php?topic=5102.msg30688#msg30688.

Yes, the one I quoted was not the only one... Sorry if I misrepresented that. I just used one as an example.

jmccabe

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Re: Attn: MobiSystems. -- The present and future of Aquamail
« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2017, 10:19:01 pm »
Exactly, I don't trust them at all anymore. Wouldn't be surprised if they are selling all our info to the Kremlin as well. On to one of the other 65,000 email clients available.

Any idea of which one you might use? I've been looking at alternatives for a while and found very few that appeal. Most of them appear to be either not very good at dealing with multiple email accounts, or they're ones who pass your email across after it's gone through their systems for stripping info from.

I've been keeping an eye on K9 in the hope that it'll soon start to look like a modern app, but it's taking a while...

John

jmccabe

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Re: Attn: MobiSystems. -- The present and future of Aquamail
« Reply #11 on: September 20, 2017, 10:20:53 pm »

{^} This 9-month-old posting from @iceman.jkh, talking about ads and nag screens was about the past, but now, it sounds very visionary.

There were criticisms of MobiSystems' behaviour in other apps on the pages prior to that one, including mine - https://www.aqua-mail.com/forum/index.php?topic=5102.msg30688#msg30688.

Yes, the one I quoted was not the only one... Sorry if I misrepresented that. I just used one as an example.

No need for an apology; it wasn't meant to be a criticism, just a note that (although it was only a few days before) that wasn't the first post that hinted at how things might go with mobisystems involved.

Sad days indeed!

mscheaf

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Re: Privacy policy changed - No notice provided!
« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2017, 12:32:03 am »
PS. I am still puzzled: "Why?!"
Why did MobiSystem had to do it this way? What did the person making that decision think? To me, this behavior is akin that of a 5-year-old who thinks his parents might not notice that he ate the entire box of chocolate candies.

The same reason it always is. Greed, short shortsightedness, greed, great stupidity and greed.

H2Om

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Re: Attn: MobiSystems. -- The present and future of Aquamail
« Reply #13 on: September 21, 2017, 07:04:08 am »
There may be no ads in the paid version but the engine to serve them is in the pro version.
That means extra but useless code.
One of the reasons I bought AM is it's clean looks and being  lightweight. I've been a great supporter of that my whole life. Also on my high-end PC that can handle about anything.

We all knew this was to come. Making more $ out of a product can't be done without changes....

I can however see the reasoning for doing it for the free version. I have no idea what percentage of the users uses the free version. I can imagine a quite high percentage. Personally I bought pro as a thank you to the developer. Not because I really needed the pro functionality.

By that I'm not saying what happend is a good thing. Far from. I too start to look for something diferent. But that won't hurt anyone because I aready paid. Dumping the free version would perhaps have been a better move.

Broken trust is very hard to repair. I think totally impossible. If the programmer made such a mistake on his own. Said sorry on this forum and removed the junk, people would likely be happy again because of his great reputation.
But MobiSystems does not have such a reputation. And they won't change because that would mean a complete change of their business model.

:-(


nica

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Re: Attn: MobiSystems. -- The present and future of Aquamail
« Reply #14 on: September 21, 2017, 07:50:41 am »
@mikeone Thank you and bye!

@Str Thank you. Changes in privacy policy without announcement? No way.

There was always support for problems in AquaMail on biggest german spoken android  forum. This will be stopped, instead we will consider to warn.