Your client's developer accounts vs. your own

Written by on Wednesday, July 5th 2017

Your client's developer accounts vs. your own
Agencies often wonder whether they should use their own developer account to publish all of their clients’ apps or if they should require their clients to purchase their own accounts under which each individual app will be published. Up until recently, the majority have gone for the first option and have experienced no issues with it, but some recent revisions in the app publishing world are now prompting many to reconsider this approach.

Apple has recently implemented a new guideline warning that apps may be rejected in the case of the seller (the name your Apple developer account is under) not sufficiently matching the branding of the app. This means that if your agency, “XYZ Apps” uses its own developer account to publish your client “ABC Restaurant”’s app, you may face a problem as those brands do not correspond. This therefore implies that it may be wise to start considering the idea of requiring each client to have their own developer account, and then giving you access as a team member so you can do the necessary work inside.

You may be feeling hesitant to tack on one more cost to your clients’ bills (an extra $99/year to be exact and a bit more if you decide to require a Google Play account as well), but we are going to explain why this is not the end of the world and may even turn out to be beneficial. Here are a few reasons that may convince you...

Transfer of Ownership

Sometimes the time comes for the relation between an agency and their client to come to an end, but the client still wants to maintain their app without any disruption to its users. If the app has been published under the agency’s developer accounts, a transfer of ownership must be done. While this is possible to do for both iOS and Android, it can be a bit of an inconvenience in terms of the detailed process that must be followed, new certificates that will need to be generated, etc.

 If your client’s app is already published under their own developer account, the hassle of this possible, eventual scenario has already been avoided and you’ve saved both you and your client time.


Branding benefits for both sides

Clients may not be thrilled at the thought of having to absorb this extra expense, but at the end of the day it’s just another cost of doing business and not a useless one, as it provides them with further credibility to their brand as well as further control over their brand. A related analogy is the case of the domain name. If you create a website for your client and use your own domain name as opposed to theirs, as far as almost everyone is concerned, this website belongs to you. You are the one who has full access over where this domain points to and you have the power to make changes at any time that affect the entire user base. With this in mind, your client will likely be more than willing to pay the price of "official ownership" in order to reach that extra, guaranteed level of oversight. 

As for you, the branding issue can go either way. Having great apps under your name in the stores is fantastic for building your brand, but as you know, you don’t always have control over the type of content your client wants to include, which can also bring you down. Did you know that one false move in Google Play can get not only the guilty app deleted from the store, but all of the other apps in your account deactivated as well (aka all of your other clients’ apps who had nothing to do with this fault)? This is quite a tricky situation to come back from; protecting your brand against situations like this is definitely a worthwhile reason to consider publishing under separate accounts.


Clients really don't want to pay?

There will surely be some customers who refuse to take on this extra cost, especially if they are just starting out and not totally sold yet on the value of having a native app. However, this doesn’t have to be a dealbreaker. Don’t forget that you still have the Progressive Web App version to offer them, which doesn’t require any developer accounts at all and has its own special perks that we’ve discussed in detail. So, don’t let this new guideline scare you. You still have plenty of options available and as mentioned above, it will probably end up being advantageous in the long run.

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