play logo

If you make money on the Play Store, you should probably check your email. Google is sending out a notification to developers to let them know that in the future, payments will be sent out on a 15 day delay instead of the one or two days the company has been using for a while. What does this mean for you? Well, if selling apps is a primary source of income for you, then you'll want to do some planning. Before you panic, though, Google is implementing an intermediary schedule to make the transition a little easier.

Here's how it works. Normally, when a month ends, Google takes a couple days and sends out all the money you've earned at once. So, for example, on February 2nd, devs received payments for all January sales. That's a two-day delay, for the mathematically impaired. That window will be extended to fifteen days under the new system. Here's the schedule for when payments will go out in the interim:

  • February 2nd: Payment for January sales
  • February 15th: Payment for February 1 - 13 sales
  • March 15th: Payment for February 14 - 28 sales
  • April 15th: Payment for March sales

So, a couple things: for one, there's not going to be some huge six week delay between payments. In fact, quite the opposite. While developers should have received a full monthly check for January already, a second round of cash will go out on February 15th. This is money that normally wouldn't have been paid until March, so set that aside if you rely on the Play Store to pay rent. This is your buffer.

The second half of February's payments will go out on March 15th which will be the first check to adhere to the 15 day delay. This might make things a little tough, but with proper planning, it should only be a short, mildly uncomfortable transition. Developers will still be paid every month. It will just be on a different day.

So, why the change? There are a number of theories being bandied about. That Google is introducing new payment methods that take a while to process. Or it's trying to combat scammers. Perhaps it wants to hang on to your cash and make a bunch of money off the interest.

The simplest answer, though, is that Google wants to ensure that payments go out on a predictable schedule. I know it sounds a little crazy. After all, it's the reason the company stated in the email, so it can't be true. However, it's not unheard of for developer payments to go out later than expected. If Google wants to be a grown-up content hub, it needs to be able to provide its users with stability and reliability.

I'm sure potential Nexus 4 customers would agree.

Source: Reddit, Hacker News

Eric Ravenscraft
Eric is a snarky technophile with a taste for the unusual. When he's not obsessing about Android, you can usually find him obsessing about movies, psychology, or the perfect energy drink. Eric weaves his own special blend of snark, satire, and comedy into all his articles.

  • mattdonders

    What's strange is that I still don't see anything notifying me of a payout of my January sales on February 2nd or even today for that matter.

    • http://twitter.com/hedami Hedami

      Yeah I haven't received my January payment either. Perhaps they're still working out the kinks.

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/eric-ravenscraft/ Eric Ravenscraft

        Suppose that just proves the point. It might be later in the month, but if Google can avoid situations like this, where devs have no idea when they're going to get paid, it would be worth it I think.

        • HopelesslyFaithful

          i hope devs are not living so close to pay check to pay check that a 15 day delay will kill them....that is a tad sad.....Maybe a different career option is in need if 15 days will cause them hardship.

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/eric-ravenscraft/ Eric Ravenscraft

            I don't think it's sad that a shift in payment schedules could cause some hardship. People rely on getting paid regularly to function. Just because they plan ahead and don't get kicked out of their home doesn't mean it won't be difficult.

            If a shift to a new payment schedule is going to get you kicked out of your house, then sure I agree, but I don't think anyone is talking about that here. (They are on other sites, but people will always freak out when money is involved.)

          • HopelesslyFaithful

            we are talking about two weeks...not months or even a month. If by the end of a pay period you don't have enough in your checking account to get another 2 weeks of living than you got serious financial problems! I always have ~3 grand in my checking and that can last me about a month with a wife and that isn't counting my savings account. My wife and i don't make much and we got tons of health type bills but we do just fine....even if both of us didn't get paid for a month we wouldn't be freaking out.

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/eric-ravenscraft/ Eric Ravenscraft

            ...Clearly we are having two different conversations.

          • HopelesslyFaithful

            i don't think so but alright ^^

          • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

            I think you're missing the 'crap happens' angle. Imagine if somebody was in the process of buying a new house, moving to a new city, or could have just signed a deal to sink a bunch of money into any number of things. It's not unheard of for people to briefly go into a transitional period with money, no matter how much they save or plan ahead.

            Like Eric, I agree, if a developer is consistently living paycheck-to-paycheck and will be sunk if the check comes late, they should probably re-evaluate their business plan or work on a better solution. Realistically, most of the developers who are complaining about this wouldn't complain (as much) if Google had announced this 3 months earlier so people could be better prepared.

          • HopelesslyFaithful

            you do realize that is why you also have a credit card that you can take 30 days to pay off...it is basically a free loan. Take on stuff to that for the whole two weeks you wait for a pay check...sorry still not buying the whole two weeks can cause a problem. You got to have some piss poor financial situation to freak out about 2 weeks.

          • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

            I mention buying a house and signing contracts to make investments, and you suggest using a credit card?

            I'm just going to leave this conversation, it's just not worth having...

          • HopelesslyFaithful

            seriously....buying a house. How is a 2 week delay on pay going to hurt you buying a house? That is why people use a mortgage. If you are so tight a two week delay screws your mortgage than you should not buy that house...this is how we got into sub prime mortgage crisis....The credit card was to be used for "living expenses" until your pay check came...yea buy a house on a credit card....wow do you seriously think i meant that than you are special? Now if you are going to buy the house in cash than again....how is two weeks going to kill you? Making an investment and you can't do it because a two week delay? Over leveraging a little bit? Come on you are just being stupid now

          • Freak4Dell

            Completely agree with you. Daily expenses can be put on a card until the 2 weeks has passed. Anybody that's buying a home or making another giant purchase but is waiting for money to come in from THAT month for the sale to go through should not be making that purchase. Big purchases should always be planned and prepared for in advance, and any idiot that doesn't do that is probably not changing their finance habits because of Google sending them a warning and giving them a transition period.

          • HopelesslyFaithful

            hey another thing we see eye to eye on ^^ That is what 50 for 50 now ^^ Always a hit or miss

          • QikOver

            HopelesslyFaithful. You sir, are a fail.

          • HopelesslyFaithful

            how because i expect people to be financially responsible and not pathological spenders?

          • QikOver

            Because you're arguing just to argue. He's right, you just want to judge people.

          • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

            It's really a waste of time to drag this on, I don't do hyperbole. The point is, you're making judgements that there's no conceivable reason anybody should be adversely affected by this. You're even tossing out the possibility of bad timing. I'm really not interested in arguing with somebody over this, especially if they want to twist phrasing, I'm just pointing out that it's foolish to judge blindly.

          • http://twitter.com/RvLeshrac RvLeshrac

            Unless you're making $8/hr and accomplishing all of that, you're privileged, and need to cease acting like you know how most people are able to live. We've long passed the days where the grocery clerk made $12/hr, or a call-centre employee made $15.

          • HopelesslyFaithful

            Aldi's pays 13.50 plus an hour.....

            Sorry didn't know middle class wage was privileged. If you can't make middle class wage than you suck at life....seriously

          • Al

            Eric, when you sell anything on Google Play, you're at Google's mercy. It's a manipulated market: your income depends entirely on Google's ranking algorithms (yeah, they *could* have more expensive, better apps, they just don't want to because people perceive more value in Android if it's full of cheap crap, and Google makes money if you adopt Android not if you buy apps). So, what I'm getting at here is that your income can fluctuate a lot. You can't count on a constant, reliable income from there. A 15-day-income variation is nothing when one month can be twice or double the previous one. If you don't do any advertising or marketing it can be more stable, otherwise the fluctuations are off the charts. I don't think anyone will be significantly bothered by the 15-day shift in payouts (I'm not and I'm usually pretty pissed at Google Checkout because it's a piece of s***).

          • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

            Why is this conspiracy theory being perpetuated? Why is anybody convinced that Google is forcing a race to the bottom like what happened on the iPhone App Store. It's simply not logical and the imagined incentives that people come up with are usually ridiculous.

            It's simple to see from actual facts. An ever increasing number of developers are reporting faster growing app sales. There are plenty of developers (and companies) that are doing very well with paid apps. If you look at apps (especially games) with higher price tags, many are doing extremely well.

            Just last week, I had a conversation with a Play Store manager. They are in the process of tweaking the rankings and making changes to how they select featured apps. I got the sense that they are trying to do a better job with bringing more attention to apps and pushing actual promotions rather than just highlighting apps.

          • Al

            It's not a conspiracy theory. Forget about all the popular games and some top10 apps, that's another story, these people spend on advertising, promote through a lot of channels, are well known and are given special treatment too. They don't depend that much on Google Play ranking. What you were told basically, I guess, is that they're trying to figure out how not to alienate those publishers with their market manipulation.

            Many developers have experienced more or less constant revenue for several different price points, a clear indication of market manipulation. Revenue/price should be a curve with a sweet spot, not at all flat like it is for many apps. When it is like that you're forced to pick low price points to compete. And it makes sense if you have little ethics like Google (yeah, "don't be evil"... right). Make no mistake, Apple and Google can choose the exact app quality they want just by favoring more expensive apps, which would be an incentive for companies to spend more on development because they can earn more. This is one of the "benefits" of the closed system Apple came up with that Google copied. People get screwed in many more ways that the obvious, and then they're even in denial when told about it.

          • http://geniousatplay.blogspot.com/ Bikram Agarwal

            This one made sense. More n more developer, more paid apps - so Google needs more time process payments to increasing number of developers.

          • http://twitter.com/RvLeshrac RvLeshrac

            MOST career options today have that problem. If you have absolutely no issues paying your rent, bills, and everything else each month, you're in the privileged minority.

          • HopelesslyFaithful

            whatever see my comment below about middle class wage...you are an enabler...i will have no part in that.

            Hell i could have gotten a job making 40-60k a year but turned it down because the non compete contract was a nightmare. I got no degree or direct experience in that field and the VP would have gave it to me...essentially because everyone else sucks. Not hard to support yourself in this country....just most people are useless if they can't even make your bills. Shit happens but what your saying is pathetic.

          • QikOver

            I imagine you as the guy in a movie who is identified as a villain when he talks about "the little people". Just get off it, you/re wrong and you won't admit it.

    • Al

      The january payment has not been sent yet because there was the weekend. When the checkout payouts tab is updated tomorrow it should show the payment as having been wired today. It happens every time the beginning of the month is a weekend. At least I hope that's the reason... it shoudl be.. fingers crossed.

  • http://www.dsaif.com/ Saif

    Now let me sell apps from my country. Make it worldwide please.

  • ChrisLH

    I'd be happy to start selling more apps so they actually have some money to pay me, regardless of the payment schedule!

  • Al

    There was a major snafu some month last year that wasn't resolved until the 15th. The stated reason might be real, as incredible as it sounds. They want a buffer because Google checkout is a frankenstein runnning amok and they can't afford to have just a couple of days to fix broken stuff every time they make a change to the payments (last year's was caused when they switched to tax-inclusive pricing I think). Maybe this is the prelude to some changes as you pointed out (new payment methods? new countries? vat paid in Luxembourg like Apple? gift cards worldwide? fraud protection?)

  • Sergii Pylypenko

    Could they be planning to increase the money-back return window for paid apps bought by users, from that measly 15 minutes?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/eric-ravenscraft/ Eric Ravenscraft

      Not even remotely. While it's not impossible that someone at Google might be thinking of doing so, if they were it would be completely unrelated to this delay.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Aleksandr-Ivanov/734916624 Aleksandr Ivanov

    I hope they'll add EU countries to seller countries!