Jun 6th, 2017

Google has posted an update regarding their developer policy for Google Play. They’re specifically targeting developers who use tactics such as offering free goods or money to users provide good reviews for an app, or even for installing the app.

These “incentivized actions,” they’re calling it, are deemed harmful to the Google Play environment because a developer can use it to game the visibility system. In layman’s terms, they’d benefit from the troves of high ratings and installs by getting higher to the top charts or even being on featured lists, even if not that many people are actually using the app.

The tactic is generally used by developers who want their new games and apps to bubble up to the top of Google Play fast in order to start generating income as soon as possible. Those initial installs and ratings may not be genuine, but they’ll lead to more eyes, and the ratings themselves will get real users curious to see what all the hubbub is about. Before too long — if the game or app is decent enough — the fake reviews would start getting drowned out by real ones from users who have become enthralled with it.

So, that’s what Google wants to stop. To be clear, Google doesn’t consider all incentivized installs to be bad, but if they look to be the types which are being used solely to manipulate their ranking on Google Play — and Google says they can filter these apps out — they may get automatically filtered out of top app lists.

Otherwise, the apps will still be available on Google Play as long as the user is willing to search for it specifically. Developers looking for more info can head here to read all the details for themselves.

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