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Cracked.com gets Cracked Reader pulled from the Marketplace

RIP

We reviewed the 3rd party app Cracked Reader back in September and we had also helped recruit some beta testers for it earlier. Cracked Reader was a solid app for the humor site Cracked.com--elegant, smooth, lots of options. It even got a free-trial later on. But now the developer, Nash Bansal, has had his app pulled from the Marketplace by Microsoft.

Reason? For "...infringing on demand media's trademark and unlawfully republishes content from the http://cracked.com site".

Perhaps not so coincidentally, Cracked.com launched their official app just days ago in the Marketplace. That app is free and not half bad but it's honestly not as impressive as Cracked Reader. Which is probably why Demand Media wanted to eliminate their competition. Sure, they had a legally sound reason to do so, no argument there, but there are plenty of paid apps that do pull feeds and which haven't been pulled. Heck, there's a terrible unofficial WPCentral reader out there too. Lucky us.

Cracked Reader

It might have been preferable for Demand Media to just partner with Bansal, but probably due to the timing with their developer team (Nventive), it would have been difficult. Still, it's a shame to see such innovation crushed for basically a lesser app in the Marketplace. Lets just hope other media companies don't get the same idea from this precedent.

Source: Twitter 1, 2

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Reader comments

Cracked.com gets Cracked Reader pulled from the Marketplace

13 Comments

Frankly, if I had a website with thousands, or millions of readers, I would want to protect it from illegitimate use, especially if someone else was attempting to make money from it. As a user, I also have less trust for third party apps like this. I say good riddance and I wish more questionable apps like this were not allowed on the marketplace to begin with. To me, websites as apps are kind of pointless most of the time anyways. WPCentrals app hardly offers anything more than the website itself, and you want us to pay for it too!

"WPCentrals app hardly offers anything more than the website itself, and you want us to pay for it too!"

Err, there's a free version. App development isn't free, especially if you're one person devoting a lot of time to it. Ad revenue on Windows Phone is barely existent for many not to mention some people like the option of no ads, whic is why we offer it.

We don't want you to do anything, it's merely out there for those who want it, nothing more.

The problem with Cracked Reader is he wa filling a void: for over a year there was no Cracked app. He made one, a very good one. Now Cracked has an app and instead of working with the dev does this. It's their right, certainly, but perhaps in bad taste.

Websites exist (and get paid) for content, Cracked had no choice but to do what they did.  At least Cracked offered an alternative, even if it's judged not as good.  Forward your suggestions for improvement, don't just criticize the app.
I think the WPCentral app is excellent, however, and I gladly paid for it, if not just to support the site in general, as I'm not a big ad-clicker.

Effectively profiting from someone else's content... It's not hard to see why cracked.com's owners would want it taken down. It would've been perhaps more prudent of them to buy the code for the app though -- then the developer could profit from his work legitimately and we'd still have a good app.
Then again, the platform is excellent and developing for WP7 is not exactly rocket science. Any app's featureset can be trumped with enough time and effort invested, so why buy someone else's work when you can cover pretty much the same features in a relatively short period?

And without Cracked.com, there would have been no Cracked Reader.
Making a solid app for a site is cool, but by the same token, you shouldn't be surprised when the people who make the content decide that maybe they want to choose how to present it.
Would have been nice if the two parties could have found some sort of common ground though.  I liked Cracked Reader just a bit better, now that I've tried the official one.

"Would have been nice if the two parties could have found some sort of common ground though"

That's kind of my point here. Also, in fairness the developer of Cracked Reader is not complaining or making a scene of it either. He simply announced it was going away and that was that.

We're more interested in passing on the story of why it's gone.

As nice as it would have been to share code, It probably would have been useless to them. The methods I use to obtain data (page scraping) are very different to theirs where they would have direct access to content (which is why it looks like they have videos - the official app isnt actually out in the UK)

To be honest I have no hard feelings about this, I can understand their point about the whole situation. I just filled a gap while they got up to scratch on their own app  - and it was made, in all fairness, at the point when many apps, popular on other devices, didnt exist / we didnt know if/when they were coming for WP7.

I just hope that everyone who does use the app / paid for it enjoy using it and feel like they got their monies worth from it. 

That sucks, but at least the app will continue to function for those of us who have it. Like Malatesta said, the official app isn't half bad either.

By the way, for all of those who are against Cracked Reader, we'll note your protest when unoffical Pandora apps start coming out too...same thing, no?