Amazon has removed my Downloader app from the Amazon Appstore

downloader-app-supressed

My Downloader app has been pulled from the Amazon Appstore by Amazon. I have not been told why it was removed. Amazon didn’t even notify me of the app’s removal. I found out when a reader emailed me asking why they couldn’t find the app. The message you see above in my Amazon developer panel says the app is “suppressed” and to check the “review status tab for further details.” The app’s review status tab incorrectly states the app is live, with no information about the suppression, so it seems this isn’t a standard app rejection. I’ve contacted Amazon asking why the app was removed and will update everyone once I receive a response.

My Downloader app earned a 4.7 out of 5 star rating from 70 reviews, which are still accessible, making it the second highest reviewed app in the Fire TV appstore. It was clearly well received and filled a hole in the Fire TV’s functionality that owners of the device wanted.

Considering how rudimentary the app was, I’m honestly surprised it was removed. It simply downloaded a user selected file from the internet and asked the user if they wanted to install the file if it was an Android app. That exact functionality is present in both ES File Explorer and File Commander, which are both approved apps in the Fire TV appstore.

If I had to guess, I’d say my app was removed because it simplified the process of installing 3rd-party apps, which aren’t in the official Amazon appstore, on the Fire TV. Even though all Fire TVs officially support the practice of sideloading 3rd-party apps, and even though there are several other apps in the Fire TV appstore that provide the exact same functionality as my Downloader app, it seems Amazon does not want an app in their appstore that makes sideloading too easy.

Update

12/3/2016 If you’d like to sideload the app, you can download it here.

12/5/2016 Downloader is back in the Amazon appstore.

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25 comments
  1. tech3475 says:

    One other thing to consider is that the file managers aren’t primarily downloaders, while yours is.

    A possible way around it would be to include something like a rudimentary file explorer so that the downloader becomes something extra as apposed to a primary function.

    That said, Amazon seem to be taking a ‘feeling’ approach to apps so even this could be taken down.

    • AFTVnews says:

      We’ll see what Amazon says. That is, if they reply to my inquiry.

      I already started working on a basic file management feature for an upcoming update I was planning to release.

      Sure, had I disguised the app as a file manager, it might not have been removed, but I’m not going to play games like that. Fire TV owners want an easy way to download files onto their device so that’s what I gave them.

  2. Steve says:

    Thank goodness I got it when I did. I hadn’t loaded it on all our FTVs but since is part of my apps in cloud I was able to download it just now onto the FTVs I didn’t have it on yet.

    I REALLY hope they put it back or give you a reason in which you can alter the code to get it back. It is a 5 star app even though it is really just such a simple one function thing.

    Getting Kodi onto my wife’s new stick was super easy and updating Kodi on our existing FTVs is like a 5 second operation with Downloader.

  3. James says:

    Can your app be side loaded? I didn’t get a chance to grab it before it was taken down.

  4. Omar says:

    Yea how about an apk

  5. Ed says:

    Yes, give us a direct link to the apk. I’ll sideload it myself. Its still useful.

  6. Joe says:

    Dumb move by Amazon…no one has done more to promote the Fire TV than you and you aren’t even an Amazon employee.

  7. kilnvideo says:

    so, did they remove the knockoff app that you inspired, that looked and functioned exactly the same, but had ads on it?

    maybe i should made an app-downloader simulator, or Kodi jigsaw game.

    or maybe an Amazon connect the dots with common sense style puzzle.

  8. Gareth Price says:

    “so, did they remove the knockoff app that you inspired, that looked and functioned exactly the same, but had ads on it?”

    Coincidence this happens to your app, after the other one appears. Foul play at work?

  9. xnamkcor says:

    Maybe if you make a paid version that removes the possibility of it being used for piracy, it’ll go back up.

  10. Steve Kline says:

    I am happy that I downloaded the app early on and hope that others find a way of doing so in the future.

  11. Stank says:

    This is sad and overall bad the customer, the ones that visit AFTVnews at least. There’s no doubt that your site helps to generate enthusiasm and sales for Amazon hardware and services. Because of this story, my enthusiasm has declined some more. F this ridiculous and inexplicable app censorship by Amazon. Hope to see an APK linked on your site for others to sideload if they weren’t able to grab it from the store. Keep up the fight and putting out the great content, E.

  12. TechyChris says:

    Sorry to here this, but I suspected this would happen. Apps like yours have the ability to circumvent Amazon’s master business plan.
    I’ve said it before and cannot stress this enough to all within earshot: BLOCK AMAZON UPDATES NOW at all costs. Eventually they will remove any and all apps that do not fit their vision. When my blocked FTV’s become unusable I will simply move on to another device. I’ve done this before with Roku and will probably do this again with Amazon. Consumer choice is the only real power we have!

  13. Robert says:

    Perhaps Amazon didn’t care for the lo res icon appearance of sideloaded apps in the Recent menu populated by the Downloader app. A new version that eliminates the tedious process of repacking the apk with a high res icon would appeal more to home theater types and perhaps better conform to Amazon aesthetic standards.

  14. AFTV Fan says:

    Why wouldn’t you directly link the apk so we can sideload it?

  15. Grinder says:

    Pretty obvious why Amazon would ban your app: you’ve sown the seeds of what could very easily evolve into a competing App store simply by adding in updates for various programs, much like AppStarter.

    What troubles me more is (like Google, Microsoft and Apple) how disconnected Amazon appears to be from bloggers like yourself. You are, without doubt, Amazon’s number one fanboy, in its number one selling branded product.

    You should have a PR liaison who would be right across this.

  16. Gyges says:

    Maybe it’s just the name … “Downloader” is a pretty generic name and could lead one to thinking it’s an Amazon app.

  17. wonko the sane says:

    Just another example of Amazon finding novel ways to shoot themselves in the foot while trying to pick up as many pennies as possible.

  18. Jim says:

    Anyone know how I can use the downloader to install the google play store on my ftv2?

    I know you will need a reliable source to access the apk files but where can i find a safe source? Thanks

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