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Redbox contacted me yesterday and requested that we remove the new “Inside Redbox Mobile” iPhone application from the Apple App Store. While I cannot discuss all of the details, we hope this is only temporary as we work out some details with Redbox.

The removal of the Lite version has already taken effect, and we assume the Pro version will follow shortly. If you want to get the app before it is removed, I recommend you do so quickly.

If you want to continue to see a Redbox iPhone app, definitely let Redbox know by contacting them via email (questions@redbox.com) or phone (1-866-733-2693).

We appreciate your support, and will keep you updated as soon as we know more. In the meantime, please share this post with friends and contact Redbox with your thoughts.

56 Responses to “Inside Redbox iPhone App Removed at the Request of Redbox”

  1. Visitor [Join Now]
    Michael Lynton [visitor]

    I bought the Pro version last week. When it gets completely removed from the app store, will it continue to update the promo codes and sync up with the available movies?

    • Visitor [Join Now]
      Kit [visitor]

      The service will continue (at least for a while), if you already purchased it. That is why we are encouraged to buy it now, if we want it. I don’t know how long the service will continue though, if we can’t convince Redbox what a cool service this is.

      I think it’s important to remind Redbox that “free promo code” members are some of their biggest customers, and remind them we also pay for movies… and if a movie is brand new that day (a non-promo code day) wouldn’t they like us to know THAT day? (Duh!)

      Mainly I like the app, as I hate going to a Redbox, and not finding any of the movies I wanted. The ability to see the live inventory (and find other locations) is simply awesome. Doesn’t make a lot of scene to forbid this app.

      If they feel they are losing money because of free promo codes, they need to remember that THEY decided to do more promo codes this month. Of course they will be doing my free rentals this month! However, I’m sure it will pay off in the long run, after they’ve attracted even more customers to their service.

      • Administrator
        Michael [administrator]

        @Kit:

        Glad you enjoy the app. We also hope to keep making it better.

        I don’t think Redbox is concerned with the use of promo codes. I cannot be sure, of course, but they have never mentioned any concern about that to me, or even hinted at it. They create the codes and encourage others to share them, and they being in a lot of business and new users, like you said.

        One of the big pluses regarding the iPhone app is that it gets users to rent movies without codes, since codes are not able to be used for online rentals. I believe the app will significantly increase the use of their online reservation system.

        Thanks for your thoughts.

  2. Visitor [Join Now]
    Hassan ("Inside Redbox Mobile" Developer) [visitor]

    The Redbox applications that were sold will still continue to work; however, we will not be able to fix bugs by posting new versions of the application until this issue gets sorted out.

    • Member [Join Now]
      Bonzo Bifarelli [bonzo-bifarelli]

      “Hassan (Redbox App Developer)” seems to imply that you are an application developer for redbox, the company. Since you say “we will not be able to fix bugs”, I’m given the impression that you develop for Inside Redbox, not redbox.

      Careful !

      But I would think that if you were REALLY with Inside Redbox, your reply would be shaded pink like Michael’s are.

      • Administrator
        Michael [administrator]

        Hassan is the real deal. He is the developer of the Inside Redbox iPhone application we are discussing here.

        He does not work for Redbox, but is my partner in the development and release of the application.

        Just wanted to clarify.

        • Visitor [Join Now]
          James [visitor]

          I think what Bonzo is saying is this… the moniker “(Redbox App Developer)” sounds like you’re saying that you work for “Redbox” and not for “Inside Redbox”… Be careful how you position yourself. You wouldn’t want a Redbox attny to see that and claim that you are claiming to be connected to the real Redbox.

  3. Member [Join Now]
    Car [car]

    Mar 11, Scott said “Thanks for your input almighty copyright police. I am sure the developers have looked into anything that would be an infringement before going forward with the app.”

    Yea, right Scott.

    Redbox was probably working on something like this. Or now that it looks popular they want to take the concept for themselves (more likely, big corps are like that).

    Did you talk to a lawyer yet? This wouldn’t be happening if you just talked to a lawyer first like I recommended. There are probably some simple changes you can make so you can continue, or it’s possible Redbox hasn’t a leg to stand on but you won’t find out till you talk to your lawyer.

    • Administrator
      Michael [administrator]

      @Car:

      I did not comment at the time those comments were made, and I can’t comment too much now, but I do want to mention one thing.

      It is always my goal to keep a cordial “relationship” with Redbox. While we don’t have any actual relationship or affiliation, I don’t want to be at odds with them on this or any issue.

      It is my hope that we can resolve this issue shortly, and everyone can be happy.

      Thanks for your concern and advice. I do try and read all comments here and take them into consideration.

      • Member [Join Now]
        Car [car]

        Sorry Michael, this is business, please don’t be naive in thinking they want to be all nice and cordial with you.

        If there’s a buck in it, corporate types will jump all over it. They will protect their copyrights and trademarks to the bitter end and even go overboard about it. If they see you making some $ on this, you can bet they want to do it too.

        It’s a big corporation with stockholders and a board of directors to answer to. There’s no “soul” in there to be cordial with, unless you have a rock solid contract with them, and even then they will try to screw you over any way they can.

        In business: Always cover your ass!

        It’s a shame this happened, and I’m sorry it did because a lot of people thought it was a good concept and I’m just a little irked because it was predictable and preventable. I hope it works out.

        After all this, convincing Apple to put this back up will be a major uphill battle.

        And in my personal opinion, if a ap just wrapped a browser window containing the official redbox site, I would think they really have nothing to say since they openly offer their site to the general public (it’s like having a bookmark in Firefox/Safari). And if that ap used GPS to feed a publicly known box ID into the URL for that browser, same thing. Then if the user pushed a button and it sent them to the SSL page for entering a reservation, I think that’s the same as a bookmark.

        And again, in my personal opinion, if this ap also helped people go to other related sites on their iphone, like this one and a few others, that would be a very good idea and make your ap more generalized and not specific to any one particular company.

        If I was doing this I would also have it go to a few threads at slickdeals and sites like that so people could look for posted codes there too, now it has more than one use, and not tied to just one big huge corporation.

        • Member [Join Now]
          Bonzo Bifarelli [bonzo-bifarelli]

          First off, Redbox is NOT a corporation, at least not yet.

          After downloading the app to my iPhone, I have to tend to side with redbox. Whoever developed this for the InsideRedbox wannabes did a very good job with it, so much so that it gives the user the impression that they are on the redbox site. Car’s opinion about directing people to the redbox site would make sense if that’s what this app is doing, but it’s obviously a standalone application.

          On redbox’s side, I have to wonder where Michael gets all that (assumedly) proprietary studio artwork. I’m sure he’s not paying for it as redbox certainly is. And the links to movie information, locations, etc.? These don’t just link you to redbox’s pages, they obviously have “borrowed” php code from the redbox source and formatted it for the mobile app.

          That’s not just redirecting someone to a redbox page, that seems to be using another’s proprietary information for one’s own commercial use.

          • Administrator
            Michael [administrator]

            @Bonzo:

            You are making serious accusations here that are unfounded. You have no knowledge of how the application operates or how it gets its data.

            Stating that we “obviously” stole php code from Redbox (they don’t even use PHP) is quite cavalier and insulting. There is certainly not any stolen (or “borrowed” as you put it) code being used.

            Regarding “proprietary studio artwork”, I am sure the movie studios will contact us and let us know if they want us to stop advertising their movies for them.

          • Visitor [Join Now]
            Adam [visitor]

            Whoa, nice accusations there

            I assume you’ve studied the source code to back that up?

          • Visitor [Join Now]
            Hassan ("Inside Redbox Mobile" Developer) [visitor]

            Bonzo,

            I can assure you that no PHP code was harmed in the making of the app :-) Redbox uses ASP .Net not PHP, by the way. I will eat my hat if you can find a single line of code in our app that came from the redbox website. And I do have the source code to back that up :-)

            iPhone apps use objective-C which is so fundamentally different from the ground up, that there is really nothing that can be shared between the Redbox website and the app even if we wanted. Besides, without the Redbox .Net source code, which I obviously do not have, there is no way that code could be stolen from Redbox.

            You will have to resign yourself to the fact that this app is really original code created from scratch using publicly available API’s.

  4. Visitor [Join Now]
    Steve [visitor]

    Not a surprise. Redbox is not interested in customer service. They can’t afford to be at their price levels I suppose.

    • Visitor [Join Now]
      anonymous [visitor]

      ACTUALLY, Redbox is all about customer service. They have one of the best customer service teams out there..I know from experience and also have not heard a complaint from any other customers while standing in line..

      And as far as the comment of “they can’t afford to be at their price levels” goes.. Umm yeah… blockbuster said the same thing back in 2002 when the company was started up.. too bad they are the ones that are shutting their doors, and yet Redbox is still expanding the amount of their locations by about 1700 every 12 weeks… So.. who’s the one that can’t afford to be at their price levels?? What’s even more amazing is the fact that there are all these people out there trying to “rip off” the company by using nothing but promo codes (come on people it’s only $1!) and yet the company is still consistently expanding..

  5. Visitor [Join Now]
    Davis Freeberg [visitor]

    I realize that you’re a little restricted in what you can say, but it sure would be nice to get the whole story here. So far Redbox has been a brand worthy of buzz, but if they (or Apple) are preventing consumers from using third party apps, then it’s only fair to know the logic behind it. By throwing this out there without details, it makes me assume the worst about Redbox. Even if they want to keep this from blowing up, they still owe it to their fans to be transparent over what’s happening. If this is how they plan on dealing with future innovations, I plan on spending my time evangelizing other brands instead.

    • Administrator
      Michael [administrator]

      Davis,

      I appreciate your comment and interest here.

      The reality is, Redbox has never been very good at being transparent. They don’t really have any useful presence on the internet, and thus are not very open with their customers. They have a blog now, but they don’t actually do any blogging themselves, it is all outsourced. Their PR is also outsourced.

      I have not had a friendly conversation with anyone at Redbox since sometime in 2006 when Greg Waring was the VP of Marketing. I’ve tried, but to no avail.

      I have been holding out a bit of hope that this might change with the Coinstar buyout, that they might start to reach out to me and others better. As you probably know, I have been their biggest supporter over the last 4 years since I started this website.

      I any case, I still hold out hope that Redbox will come around, and look forward to a productive resolution to this matter.

      I will definitely keep you informed.

    • Visitor [Join Now]
      anonymous [visitor]

      To be honest with you, I heard somewhere that Redbox is looking into making an actual app for the iphones… More versatile and more user friendly.. and I am sure they would prefer that their customers had accurate information straight from the company, not from a third person party that may not have all the correct details. I don’t thing they are trying to be stingy or anything in taking the glory from someone else.

      Put yourself in their shoes…If you had a successful company and someone created an application on the iphone(or anywhere else) of your company(and specific features of it that may not be 100% accurate) and they are not associated with your company and did not have permission (because they did not ask for it or were not granted it) would you not be a little upset as well? Wouldn’t you prefer the application come directly from your own company so that it could provide your customers with the appropriate information?

  6. Member [Join Now]
    Car [car]

    There’s another thing called “Redbox Widget” at Apple that’s been there since 2005, you might want to find out why it hasn’t been taken down, and what does it do that keeps it from being taken down.

    http://www.apple.com/downloads/dashboard/shopping/redboxwidget.html

    • Administrator
      Michael [administrator]

      That widget doesn’t really do anything anymore, I don’t think. It was simply an app that showed the latest Redbox promo codes, though, nothing more.

  7. Visitor [Join Now]
    Klit [visitor]

    Redbox is probabaly already working on an Iphone app in addition to making their website more moble friendly thats probabaly why it was removed…that plus copyright issues…

  8. Visitor [Join Now]
    Derrick [visitor]

    As you know, I run the RedboxCodes.com website. I was just going going to create a link and post to your application when I read this tidbit. Very sad news Michael.

    Only a few years ago, Redbox was at the bleeding edge of viral marketing and innovation. I believe that sites such as Inside Redbox (and my own) helped perpetuate the Redbox brand in ways that you just can’t accomplish with traditional marketing efforts.

    I think you’re at an interesting crossroads here. My advice:

    1. Determine if the Inside Redbox iPhone App is worth monetarily fighting for.
    2. Determine how you can legitimately protect your intellectual property. i.e. if you do not use redbox trademarks or claim any affiliation with redbox, do they really have any ground to stand on if you’re simply providing a service?
    3. Determine whether having a “cordial” relationship with redbox is worth it to the continued success of Inside Redbox.

    Don’t put corporate interests ahead of your own; as someone above has already pointed out, the shareholders and directors (now Coinstar) at Redbox most likely have no vested interest in seeing your continued success.

    Consult with Davis Freeberg offline, he’s amazing, well connected and understands the industry well. He may be able to put you in touch with the higher-ups at Coinstar to get it sorted out.

    Best,
    Derrick

  9. Visitor [Join Now]
    Bayoubabe [visitor]

    Great advice Derrick !

  10. Visitor [Join Now]
    Amy Cook [visitor]

    Very sad indeed. I don’t that this app for RedBox is any different then RMT app that offers coupon codes for MANY online stores. (http://www.macworld.com/article/61292/2007/11/retailmenot.html)

  11. Visitor [Join Now]
    blacky [visitor]

    I think they’re just pissed because you didn’t make a blackberry app. So why didn’t you?

  12. Visitor [Join Now]
    ScreamR [visitor]

    I run Windows Mobile, but why would you need an app at all? I just go to the Inside Redbox homepage and the Monday code is listed right there. RSS feeds would work too, I suppose.

  13. Visitor [Join Now]
    Carlos [visitor]

    I am sorry;they are asking you remove your hard work.
    We love the pro redbox app

  14. Visitor [Join Now]
    tim [visitor]

    i want my money back the app will not run on my iphone anyways constantly crashes

  15. Visitor [Join Now]
    Kathy [visitor]

    why dose something so simple and easy have to get so screwed up. If you all play nice, it would work out fine. but someone has to get greedy. Sounds just like our government. come on guys play fair and give everyone a chance to play ball.

  16. Visitor [Join Now]
    Mark [visitor]

    What was the difference between the free ap and the the $1.99 version?

  17. Member [Join Now]
    Car [car]

    If it’s the GPS feature that has some sort of patent on it, drop that part. It’s easy enough for people to enter a zip code(s) the first time they use the ap. Or even better, have the GPS help pick a zip code from a list, that’s pretty obvious.

    Then run to the EFF’s Patent Busting Project and get it thrown out for being obvious.
    http://w2.eff.org/patent/

    Apple has had them overturned for obviousness before:
    arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2009/01/virtual-subdomain-patent-deemed-obvious-gets-overturned.ars

  18. Visitor [Join Now]
    Forrest [visitor]

    I’m really disappointed to find out this app is not an official RedBox application. I’ve been following it’s development for a while and was looking forward to having a way to find locations and rent movies easily while away from a computer. Is there any hope of partnering with RedBox to get an application with this kind of functionality released?

  19. Visitor [Join Now]
    hotrod [visitor]

    Any word on how the discussions with Redbox are coming? Is the app still working? My Pro version stopped giving me promo codes today? :(

  20. Visitor [Join Now]
    Dave [visitor]

    I bet Redbox is working on their own App and doesn’t want anyone stealing their thunder so to speak.

  21. Visitor [Join Now]
    rc303 [visitor]

    The ‘pro’ version of the app no longer works since the Redbox change. Is there an update that those of us who purchased the orginal version can get?

  22. Visitor [Join Now]
    Travis [visitor]

    Yeah, I noticed that since the upgrade it doesn’t work anymore also. I miss it already. I wish Redbox would allow you to use that app, it only helps them out. Even if the codes weren’t apart of it.

  23. Visitor [Join Now]
    Tina [visitor]

    Hopefully the new app you are working on will be available to those of us who purchased the pro version. I enjoyed how handy it was, eventhough it seemed to have some bugs. I do miss it. Look forward to the update and getting my monies worth on the original app! Should I delete the shortcut on my phone for now?