Google says Android developers can no longer include user testimonials in Play Store listings


Google Play testimonials

Despite what the competition wants you to believe, the Google Play Store really isn’t an open playground for app developers to do as they please. In fact, to better combat developers who try and game the system by “manipulating ranking or relevancy” of their apps, Google has made a small amendment to their Android developer guidelines.

Google Play developers keyword spam testimonials

Under “Keyword spam,” app developers are no longer permitted to provide direct quotes or testimonials from “happy” customers. While this may sounds harmless on the surface, more than a few developers have been using this as a way to add special keywords to their listings so that their apps appear higher in search rankings. A big no-no in Google’s book.

For an example of exactly what Google is referring to, make sure to check out the “Description includes unrelated keywords or references” section of their Google Play Developer Help page here.

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. Not sure if this is a good or a bad thing /:

    1. It is a good thing, some developer was abusing this to do keywords spam, which would make you get unrelated apps on your search term.

  2. I’m curious how this will affect apps and games referencing Phandroid reviews. Quite often, developers and companies will reference apps and games that have been favorably reviewed on Phandroid and will include a choice quote. I assume this will fall under the same jurisdiction since it would be too difficult to decipher between genuine reviews/quotes and fake/spam quotes.

    To be honest… it seems like Google should be WAYYYY ahead of this. If your website stuffs keywords you don’t get blocked from the internet, you just go way down the rankings and sometimes blacklisted. How can they so accurately dominate Web Search but be so helpless in terms of App search?

    I find it puzzling.

    1. Almost gives you an insight into the PageRank algorithm doesn’t it.

    2. I think one of the problems is with websites if something bogus comes up you don’t click it or you quickly backtrack to something better, so it slides into oblivion. But with apps fakes can be so good, that you download them anyways, and the ranking damage is done. Especially because it might be a long time before you realize and uninstall and download the right one.

  3. What’s this change even for? Is this positive or negative? I have no clue.

    1. LOL did you not just read the article? Basically it’s saying developers can no longer advertise their apps using “customer satisfaction” quotes. Like testimonials. So if you’re a developer who uses these techniques, sucks for you. Really means nothing for the average Joe.

    2. Some developer was abusing the loophole to add unrelated keywords, so they could appear on other search term, like the example in the tittle that game would appear when you searched for games such as cute the rope or candy crush saga…

      1. A proper, informative answer. Thank you.

        1. A proper, informative answer…which was in the article you just read.

    3. AMON!!

      1. Compared to the other villains from LoK, he was the most normal.

        1. Typical Avatar villian

  4. So now many Developers will get the 7 day notice for their app removed and the only way of contacting them is sending a generic form on Google Support page which wont get you a response, just means you gave your statement, as useless as filing a police report which wont solve anything and be put in a filing cabinet for archiving.

    I support all of my users through email, hangout, phone, play store comments, fax;
    Google provides no support for developers what so ever in any shape or form and at the same time making the rules more and more strict and impulsing.
    How is this even possible when billion of people download those apps and developers cannot communicate with Google in any way.

    This has to be improved Google!

    *Read aloud using Chrome Reader for Android*

    1. This. I’ve seen many great devs having their apps taken down with a very generic explanation.

      Google really needs to provide support for independent developers just as they do for companies. The company I work for has no trouble reaching Google within 5 minutes but it’s nearly impossible to reach them for many indie devs. :/

      1. Exactly. A generic explanation that leaves you wondering to guess what their automatic system picked up as an error or ”violation” in your store listing.

        The fact you said big app companies has instant support while the rest of the developers has non what so ever makes this matter even worse!

        An online petition and a post about it on xda developers forum will naturally get viral everywhere and wake up Google.

        Time to initiate this.

        *Read aloud using Chrome Reader for Android*

  5. I see this being a good thing if handled well. They’re going to need people on standby for devs to consult with.

  6. Oh man. My name won’t be seen anymore when people download the apps I reviewed. Oh well. So much for showing off to my friends . Still not very Dev friendly

    1. This doesn’t apply to reviews, just testimonials inside the description.

      1. My name was in one of the descriptions of a app because I was on the first to Download it before it made it big. Was cool to show friends but w/e

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