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nettTracker questions its commitment to Xero

nettTracker breaks with Xero app store


Fixed assets app developer nettTracker went public last week to announce its “break” with the Xero app marketplace. But is that the end of the affair?

14th Sep 2022
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In an emotional post nettTracker director Ash Beetson, told Xero: “[We] are going to have to go on a ‘break’. I think this is where sometimes people say, ‘It’s not you...’, but really, it is you.”

He went on to explain that following last year’s marketplace overhaul, customers downloading new tools from the App Store had to subscribe and pay for them via Xero, which takes a 15% commission on all the recurring revenue.

Other app developers grumbled a little when the change happened, but have gritted their teeth and put up with the inevitable since then. The extra cost and burden of conforming to Xero’s App Store requirements ultimately didn’t add up for nettTracker.

Development costs

“As a small app, we have to carefully consider how our development time is invested. Do we spend time improving existing features in nettTracker, and adding new ones that will help new and existing customers, the vast majority of which use other accounting platforms?” Beetson wrote. “Or do we spend time re-writing our internal billing system that is only for the benefit [of] Xero?”

It would be an easier decision for a developer that focused entirely on the Xero platform, but not for apps that are offered to QuickBooks and Sage users too. 

Xero relationship managers in New Zealand initially suggested an alternative certification integration charge, but that would have been more expensive than the commission structure, Beetson noted. 

Following the breakup announcement, he said, “We are going to focus on improving the features that benefit our Sage and Intuit QuickBooks customers. Existing Xero users will be able to continue using their nettTracker connection, but there will not be any enhancements to the Xero connection for some time.”

Getting back together

The spat appears to have been short-lived: nettTracker is still listed on Xero’s UK App Store, and in a post earlier this week Beetson reported that Xero’s UK app store and partnerships manager Ben Johnson had been in touch to explore alternative solutions to the current listing formula.

“We’re grateful you took the time to share your feedback with us,” Johnson wrote in response. “We certainly hope the programme has a path for you, as we’d love to see nettTracker available to Xero customers via the App Store.”

“Thanks Ben. I’m hopeful we can get all sorted,” Beetson replied.

While it looks like this episode is heading towards a reconciliation, it’s an interesting feature of modern customer and partner service that it takes a public rant on social media to get a vendor’s attention. 

“I do think you have to kick up a fuss sometimes,” Beetson said. “Previous calls were with the New Zealand team only, and when I spoke to them initially, it was like I didn’t really have a choice. Now that I have made a fuss I am able to talk to people in the UK at a decent time of day.

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