Getting your Apple Developer Certification – part 2

As I mentioned last time, once you log-in to http://developer.apple.com/iphone you will click on iOS Provisioning Portal, a “title” that demonstrates by its very nature that Apple is run by a bunch of IT people.  “iOS Provisioning Portal…”  Really, Apple?  Who named that?  I mention this as an aside because I imagine it’s a very common phenomenon at just about every tech-centered business that involves software.  Which, is really all any website is, a piece of software.    The problem is that IT folks are rarely marketing people — their minds are not alike.  So a name like “iOS Provisioning Portal” makes perfect sense to the IT people responsible for naming that section, categorizing the site, and programming the functionality.  After all, that is without a doubt the EXACT name of what it is.

The problem is that for the rest of us, which describes 99% of your customers, by the way, Apple,  “iOS Provisioning Portal” is gobbley-gook that means nothing and in no way encourages us to click on it. 

We run into that problem at Outskirts Press, too. We will launch a new option and instead of it being called something logical or customer-centric like “Custom Cover for Your Hardback” it will often wind up in a customer’s shopping cart with the unwieldy name of “F2 C_Cov Lam_HB” until I test it in a live environment and rename it.  

But, I digress… Back to the certification process, which I will continue next…

Getting your Apple Developer Certification

Okay, it was a long time coming, but once Outskirts Press was confirmed as a company in good standing by Apple through the beginning portion of their enrollment process, we were able to continue the process of actually getting our certificate. Here are the steps:

First, log-in to either http://developer.apple.com/devcenter/ios/index.action or a short-cut of http://developer.apple.com/iphone (which takes you to the same place).

Along the right-hand side in a section headlined “iOS Developer Program” are four choices:

  • iOS Provisioning Portal
  • iTunes Connect
  • Apple Developer Forums
  • Developer Support Center

Click on the first one, iOS Provisioning Portal, a “title” that demonstrates by its very nature that Apple is run by a bunch of IT people.  “iOS Provisioning Portal…”  Really, Apple?  Who named that?  I’ll get into the problem with such a name (and why it happens a lot in software) tomorrow on a small aside…

Apple developer certification process back on track

For those of you following our process at Outskirts Press to apply for Apple developer certification, the lesson to take away so far is to make sure that your online information you supply to Apple exactly matches the information on the official documentation you will be supplying to Apple upon their request.  We omitted the “Inc.” from our name on the online form and our address had changed in the 8 years since we incorporated with the Secretary of the State.  Alone they apparently would have been reason enough for Apple to either deny the certification or at least slow it down — and together the technicality caused a 6 week delay in the launch of our Outskirts Press app.

But, I’m happy to say the process is now continuing. True to their word, they expedited our approval process once we completed the online enrollment again, this time exactly matching the information on our Articles of Incorporation.  Once they confirm your identity, you receive the following notification via email:

You can now continue the Apple Developer Program enrollment process by reviewing and agreeing to the Program License Agreement. You must click through this agreement in order to purchase or complete your enrollment in an Apple Developer Program(s).

Upon reviewing and approval the License Agreement, which is Apple-esque in its one-sidedness, you can “Purchase” the iOS Developer Program for $99 plus tax.  Then, you receive this email notification:

Thank you for joining the iOS Developer Program. You now have access to a comprehensive set of development tools and resources to assist you in developing innovative apps.

Think we’re done? Nope, not even close. Up next…

Applying for Apple Developer Certification

Good news regarding our enrollment in the Apple Development certification fiasco that I’ve been blogging about over the past several posts.  I finally spoke with a new human being at Apple.  Apparently there were two hiccups in our enrollment.

1.  The online enrollment form asked for the name under which our Apps would be published, so we entered Outskirts Press.  However, our Articles of Incorporation lists our company name as Outskirts Press, Inc.   That missing “Inc” was unacceptable, according to Apple.

2. The online enrollment form asked for our company address, which we entered as our current address. However, our Articles of Incorporation lists our company address as it was 8 years ago (you know… when the papers were filed).  Even though we’d move due to growth, that different address was unacceptable according to Apple. 

Are both these hiccups ridiculous? Of course they are.  But — and this seems to be a unique perspective for a customer to have in this day and age– Apple is entitled to run its business any way that it wants; and from their point of view, I can see the need to require an exact match between official documentation and online data input — otherwise, they have no means of verifying that someone is who they say they are online.

So, at their request, I re-enrolled from the beginning again, matching the exact information on our forms. Does that make our address inaccurate? Yes; but the nice advisor I spoke with assured me I could correct it once the enrollment was approved.   She also said she would expedite my certification.  We’ll keep you posted on what that means…

Communicating with Apple

After trying to enroll in the Apple Developer Certification program and waiting a number of weeks, we contacted Apple only to receive an email advising us that they couldn’t locate the “stamp” on the Articles of Incorporation for some reason, and that the information on the Articles should match the information we submitted online for our Certificate.  Certainly a reasonable request, so I provided the following reply:

Thank you very much for your response. I respectfully request that you look at the document closer. The Articles of Incorporation we faxed had the official court stamp in the upper right hand corner, slightly crooked. It may be difficult to read because of so many faxed iterations, but it’s there, and directly below it is another stamp from the Secretary of State indicating the payment receipt, the date, and the time it was received and accepted, exactly as you require. So I’m not sure where the confusion is. Please look at the document again. I’d be happy to take a photo of that corner with my cool iPhone and email it to you if that would help clarify it.

 As for the address and phone number, we’ve moved since incorporating to accommodate our growth.  We don’t have a new Articles of Incorporation document with our new address.  But our new address and phone number I included in the online application with Apple is the one we want associated with our Apple account and you can confirm that data by visiting our website at www.outskirtspress.com.   Certainly we can’t be the only company who has an address that differs from the one on an 8-year-old Articles of Incorporation document….?

Please help me overcome this small technicality. Thank you in advance.

They say you can catch more bees with honey than with vinegar.  I don’t know if my response was “honey” per se, but in this day and Internet age when everyone seems awfully quick to fire off foaming-at-the-mouth-at-the-slightest-inconvenience-or-misunderstanding types of emails, I thought this might serve as an example of what’s possible when one steps back, takes a breath, and approaches a frustrating circumstance with diplomacy.

Apple developer program enrollment – part 5

Approximately 5 weeks after originally beginning the Apple Developer enrollment, and waiting, and waiting, and contacting their support via their online form, I received an email from an actual human being at Apple that said:

Hello Brent,

We are currently in the process of reviewing your iOS Developer Program Developer Program enrollment information.

Please know that after reviewing your faxed documentation, we noticed that the document you sent in did not hold a state seal or stamp that states received or accepted.  We ask that you please fax one of the following which has the state seal or valid stamp located on the document:

Articles of incorporations

Business license

Certificate of Formation

Charter documents

Partnership papers

Reseller or vendor license

Operating Agreement

 Please include your Enrollment ID and your main company corporate telephone number on the cover page.   PLEASE NOTE: In order to avoid any unnecessary delays, please ensure that you fax us the relevant documents for ”Outskirts Press”  and that the name and address information matches the information upon enrollment. We are unable to process enrollments unless the business documents provided correspond with your enrollment information.

Of course, the document I had faxed did have the state stamp receipt as requested, and being that it was 8 years old, there was a logical explanation for why the address would be different (we moved), so stay tuned tomorrow for my diplomatic response…

Apple developer program – continued – part 4

A few weeks ago I started discussing our process of enrolling Outskirts Press into the Apple Developer Certification program so we could start offering “apps” to our authors (and so we could provide our own Outskirts Press apps for marketing purposes).

The posts detailed the first few steps involved in enrolling in the program, and ended with us waiting…. and waiting… for Apple approval. In the meantime, we’ve re-faxed the documents they requested several more times, contacted their support forms online, and tried emailing them.  In one such online correspondence we even sunk so low as to plead with them to have an actual human being contact us (up until then, their responses had all been automated versions of the “find the answer yourself on our FAQ” variety.) 

Finally, we tried enrolling again from scratch.  This resulted in them providing us with a new enrollment number, and then requesting the documentation again.  Once again, we faxed them our Articles of Incorporation, along with our corporate phone number and our Enrollment ID number, all as requested.

Finally, I received an email from an actual human being which helped me understand what has been causing this delay (we started this process over a month ago, and all my previous research led me to believe it wouldn’t take any longer than a week).  What his email said, and my reply, will be the subject of the next post(s)…