What was the scope of their involvement?
Intuz has developed a fully-working MVP for the iOS version, but we’ve run into a bit of trouble with Apple. They don’t like our business model and are trying to shut it down. We’ve had an Android version in the works as well, which, was originally less functional than the iOS one. The iOS verson ran off of Apple APIs, which were good and covered a broad range of products. As we got to the launch phase of it, Apple rejected the business case, and wanted us to drop the whole concept. I’ve had to shift focus to Android. The Android version is basically waiting for launch; we’re doing a couple of product modifications and adding more content. It was originally limited to Kindle books and music, but we’re adding the functionality to put Xbox, PlayStation and Wii games onto it. We were heavily using the search APIs embedded in iTunes, as well as gifting functions.
One of the challenges we had early on was that, when a product is gifted to someone on iTunes or Amazon, although the documentation said we should be able to launch directly into the gifting screen, the API in iTunes wasn’t working correctly, so we worked with Apple, trying to get them to fix the bugs in that API. Ultimately, they refused to do so, so the Intuz team had to come up with a workaround, basically resolving the issue. Another technical difficulty was that we couldn’t get a return [verification] if a customer launched from our app into iTunes or Amazon, and see if they actually bought the product to update our database. We had to work through different scenarios on how we could execute that resolution. The workaround created was a popup when they returned to the app, asking them to confirm whether they completed the purchase or not.
There were other normal technical details around getting the product feeds right, particularly on Amazon, which is not very user-friendly when trying to execute product searches and feeds. They use quite a cumbersome and complex system to manage the data in their system, given that the platform is so large. We had to make a few compromises here and there, in terms of simplicity of execution, since we were still considering this as being an MVP, and didn’t want to put heaps of money into complex code for managing the data-flows. We worked together with Intuz well, figuring out from a customer perspective what we could compromise on in order to keep costs down, without making the system difficult to use.
What is the team dynamic?
I didn’t interact with the coders very much. I did interact with the designers in the initial phase to get color schemes and the design brief right. We had a few sessions with the architecture people, going through different options in terms of how we would set it up and run it. We also interacted with the sales team.
How did you come to work with Intuz?
I first found them on Clutch. I had started development with an Australian-based app company, which created an initial proof-of-concept. As we were moving through the project, their costs were ramping up exponentially, so I started looking for a more competitive option. I decided I would go directly to an Indian app developer, and started researching on Clutch.co and a few other websites, in order to shortlist a few names. I got quotes from a number of them, and got started with Intuz.
How much have you invested with them?
Intuz’s total cost has been around $30,000, covering both the Android and iOS versions.
What is the status of this engagement?
We made the initial quote in January 2017, and kicked off development with Intuz in March. We completed the project in July, and have been battling with Apple and a few other companies since then. We’re undergoing a last round of tuning on the Android version, and will hopefully have it launched on Google Play and Amazon Underground in the next couple of weeks.