Bartender Developer Explains and Apologizes for Quiet Acquisition

I’m an extremely long-time Bartender user. I hope this doesn’t sound like I’ve donned my tinfoil hat, but I am concerned that there is no assurance that the above statement actually comes from Ben Surtees.

It seems likely that both sites where this statement was posted are currently under the control of Applause. As a commenter on the original Reddit thread has pointed out, an ICANN lookup indicates that the registration of was updated in February 2024, and that domain is currently redirecting to (try loading and you are taken to a 404 page on the domain). People are reporting that emails to the original developer’s email address have been bouncing for months.

If the new owners ghost-wrote or straight-up manufactured this statement, that’s a terrible move. If the original developer is not available to comment, then the new owners should be honest about that.

If the original developer ChatGPT-ed the statement himself, then so be it! But after all the obscurity, I’m not finding a generic-sounding statement posted to websites apparently no longer in control of the original developer very reassuring.

I don’t personally think Applause is a malware or spyware risk. I think they are what they appear to be: a business that buys up niche apps and then squeezes money out of them. But the kind of permissions Bartender relies on make trust in the app developer far more crucial than for the kinds of mobile apps Applause built its business model on. Applause’s other recent acquisitions have also not been without uproar: I wish Voice Dream Reader a bright future, but they have breached Apple’s Guidelines. Apple must protect consumers with swift action – Mosen At Large.

(I’m also a very-long-time TidBits reader and this, of all things, is what finally drove me to make an account! :sweat_smile: Sorry, lurker by nature!)