Show Google how important this issue is by signing the petition on Change.org
The Google Play Store is becoming an absolute joke, governed by contradicting laws that are enforced without logic, and policed anonymously and at random. Once heralded as the most open and developer friendly mobile platform on the planet, Google has given Android a huge black eye by sucker-punching loyal developers right in the face. Over and over and over.
How do we know? We’re one of them. Here’s our latest frustrating and infuriating interaction with Google (it’s happened before):
- Google sends us an automated e-mail claiming our PS4 Daily App for Android was removed from the Google Play Store
- The app is based on an established website with a loyal following (PS4Daily.com) and part of our well established Neverstill Mobile developer account
- The automated e-mail claims this reason for removal:
Your title and/or description attempts to impersonate or leverage another popular product without permission. Please remove all such references. Do not use irrelevant, misleading, or excessive keywords in apps descriptions, titles, or metadata.
- So is it the title? Or the description? Or both? What? Google offers zero specifics but they link an article that seems to suggest our description is to blame.
- We cannot make adjustments or updates to the app as it has been indefinitely suspended and all downloads/reviews/ratings permanently lost. We have to upload a new app and start from scratch, but have no clue if our new app will also suspended… making investing any time or money in the venture a complete waste of time.
- A request to reinstate the app so we can make necessary adjustments is denied almost immediately with a canned e-mail response.
So here we are, dumbfounded. We’ve dumped a ton of time, resources, and finances into into this app over the past 2 years and Google deletes it without warning and without the information necessary to correct this app (or properly submit future apps). It’d be bad enough if Google was just doing this to us – but they’re not- Google is governing the Play Store like tyrants, randomly burning and pillaging the resources developers have built up over years, leaving behind nothing but smoldering ashes and silence.
“If I was a developer debating whether to launch first on Android, iOS, or Windows… I’d look at Google’s recent actions and think: anything but Android”
Hey, Google- you should be embarrassed. What currently seems like “Amateur Hour at the Play Store” could snowball into much more. If I was a developer debating whether to launch first on Android, iOS, or Windows… I’d look at Google’s recent actions and think: “anything but Android”. When an automated system can wipe out an entire company with no discussion or recourse, why risk it?
There is one caveat I’d like to address which may – in part – explain this suspension, but I’ll also explain why that possibility is still inexcusable and absurd. It’s possible that Google is contesting the validity of our app because it uses the name “PS4” which is a product we don’t own. Why shouldn’t this make a difference?
- Unless Sony filed a trademark violation against us (which is highly unlikely), Google shouldn’t care. We’ve directly communicated with Sony in the past and I’d highly doubt they take issue with the app or app name. Google’s web results are filled with fan sites and the Play Store should be no different (but with the same case-by-case caveats that protect trademark holders).
- They’ve put us into a panicked frenzy, creating fear that our other apps (like Phandroid news) may get suspended, but we have no clue what to adjust to ensure we’re following the Play Store rules. We don’t know exactly what rule we broke or how we broke it, so we’re forced to preemptively adjust everything within the realm of Google’s ridiculous possibilities. Seriously Google, are you running a business or a circus? Do you not see the problem here?
- Google makes a truckload of money on Android-related products. Android would not exist without developers. Would it be such a bad idea to hire a team of people to handle these very important and urgent matters, communicating directly with developers when the existence of their app literally depends on it?
Our best guess is that our “App Description” contained the term “PS4” too often, but we did so for the obvious reason- we want potential users to know what they can find in the app! They allow up to 4,000 characters in the app description so why punish people for including more than one sentence defining the app? How are we supposed to describe the app without using the keyword that defines the app’s main content and purpose?
To illustrate, here is our new description for Phandroid News for Android:
Android enthusiasts will love this quick and beautiful news app which features the latest breaking news, rumors, tips, tricks, reviews, and videos for everything Android. Get the latest info about Android phones, tablets, TV, Auto, and more from the industry’s leading Android news source – Phandroid.com!
This replaces what we feel is a far more informative and helpful description, but we felt forced to do so because… well, because Google is ridiculous and doesn’t seem to care about developers in this capacity (we know all too well). Here is the old description:
Get the latest News, Reviews, and info delivered right to your phone or tablet from Phandroid, the world’s first and most respected News for Android™ source.
What you’ll find:
✓ News & Rumors for Android
✓ Tips, Tricks, & Tutorials for Android
✓ Apps & Games for Android
✓ Phones & Tablets for Android
✓ Accessories for Android
✓ Software & Firmware Updates for Android
✓ Opinions, Discussion, and more all for Android!
☆ Native Android app with beautiful, Material Design UI
☆ Receive notifications for new articles
☆ “Star” articles to mark them as favorites, for reading later or future reference
☆ View “Featured” articles to quickly browse top stories
☆ Filter articles by categories and topics
☆ Search thousands of articles using text or voice search
☆ Read and post comments with seamless DISQUS support
☆ Login with Google+, Facebook, Twitter, or browse as a guest
☆ View photo galleries, vote on polls, and watch video embeds in articles!
☆ Share articles and images through Android action bar
☆ Resizable widget delivers news to your home screen
Settings & Options:
☆ Select from light or dark theme
☆ Select font size
☆ Toggle UI between Modern Card Display and Traditional List View
☆ Customize frequency and style of notifications
Tips on using the app:
☆ Press on the “Star” to save an article in your favorites
☆ When reading an article, swipe left and right to jump article to article
☆ Press the chat bubble in the lower right of articles to read comments and leave comments
☆ Pull down on any screen to refresh
☆ Latest articles in a widget, navigate through latest articles.
☆ Long press links, text, and images for additional options
★ Where you can find us:
Web – http://phandroid.com
Forums – http://androidforums.com
Facebook – http://facebook.com/phandroid
Google+ – http://plus.google.com/+phandroid
Twitter – http://twitter.com/phandroid
For a company that prides themselves on accurate algorithms and machine learning, they’ve engineered an outrageously dumb system.
Google needs to look in the mirror and make some serious New Year’s Resolutions. Their Android developer policies are unclear. Their system of enforcing them is unfair. Their unwillingness to communicate is lazy. This doesn’t seem like the same Android that was pioneered from scratch… it seems like an Android that has gotten large and complacent. This isn’t the Android promised by the Open Handset Alliance. This is a unilateral mess in the hands of Google and they’re dropping the ball.
Please, Google, pick up the pieces… not just for us but for the sake of the entire Android community and its future.
Below you’ll find the Change.org petition requesting Google improve their practices and communication when issuing and attempting to resolve Play Store policy violations. If you believe in the fair treatment of Android Developers around the world, we invite you to sign the petition.
Android has become the most popular mobile operating system on the planet, but Google is mistreating key stakeholders that helped propel its success: developers.
Google has been improperly suspending Android Apps and Developer accounts deemed to be violating the Google Play Developer Distribution Agreement and/or the Google Play Developer Program Policies. Furthermore, Google’s notification for these violations comes in the form of vague automated e-mails that prevent honest developers from complying with Google’s demands (they’re not told what to change or fix). In many cases, apps and accounts are suspended or removed completely without prior warning or notice, offering no recourse to fix inadvertent violations regardless of the size, nature, or developer’s intentions to comply.
The result of these careless actions are often disastrous and far reaching, ranging from the exodus of loyal Android developers to the sudden loss of income source and jobs. We’ve fallen victim to this troubling practice twice at Phandroid.com which, ironically, is a site for Android enthusiasts by Android enthusiasts. After seeing countless other Android developers burned, left in the dust, and ignored by Google… we felt it was time to speak up (or move on).
This problem can be resolved by creating a team of Android Developer Advocates whose primary role is to communicate directly with developers who are issued policy violations, helping them understand the exact reasons for the violation, and help them understand what adjustments can be made to bring their app and account into good standing. Supporting developers directly will help keep good apps in the Play Store, maximize good-will and morale in the developer community, and prevent the livelihoods of developers, startups, and entrepreneurs from being destroyed.
Stop the automated suspensions. Help developers comply. Protect the Android ecosystem. Save the clock tower.
Not being funny but isn’t “PS4” a trademark of Sony?
This is discussed in the article, but an unlikely cause of the suspension. However, if this IS the reason… why wouldn’t they tell us directly? It would be invaluably helpful to know. Because we’re unsure, we had to adjust all our existing app descriptions and pray. (And why would they leave PS4Daily.com in the search index but remove it from the Play Store? There is no consistency.)
From the article: “Unless Sony filed a trademark violation against us (which is highly unlikely), Google shouldn’t care. We’ve directly communicated with Sony in the past and I’d highly doubt they take issue with the app or app name. Google’s web results are filled with fan sites and the Play Store should be no different (but with the same case-by-case caveats that protect trademark holders).”
They appear to send the same form-letter to all apps that get removed, thus there are no specifics and it creates the problem you’ve highlighted.
I sympathize with you, but Google is probably sending hundreds or of these notifications daily, with an app store that has almost a million and a half apps — how do you investigate/hand-screen/hand-craft emails on that scale?
How is Apple doing (or appearing to do) this?
Apple is reviewing apps in advance… much better than getting immediately accepted, pouring resources into the app, then praying you don’t get unfairly banned without warning.
Sending the initial automated notice is fine. I assume developers of spam apps won’t seek much in the way of support. But established developers and those posting honest apps should have some line of communication and the ability to amend their app. If Google needs to hire 100 people to offer this level of support… that’d be $5M a year which is a drop in the bucket for them.
And 100 people would be more than enough… I’m not suggesting hand holding and video chatting, just give a down and dirty 2 sentences from a human that can address the issue and actually solve something.
Here’s the thing. Unless your app pulls in insane ad/iap income, Google doesn’t need or want you as a developer in their store. They’ve shown time and again that only development powerhouses get direct support and leniency.
Want a recent example? How long has the Amazon app been kept on the play store when though it blatantly violated the #1 rule of no app stores within the Play Store? Was it pulled when Google “found out”? If that’s not preferential treatment, I don’t know what is. Do you for a split second think that one of, say, EA’s apps would be pulled off if a smaller shop flagged it for infringement?
I agree with the article and that Google really needs to make some changes with how they handle app policing but to say it’s “unlikely” that the PS4 in the title or the description is the reason for the suspension or “we have no idea why we got suspended” is silly when google clearly states “Your title and/or description attempts to impersonate or leverage another popular product without permission. Please remove all such references.”
Do you have express, written consent from the trademark holder? No? Then you are violating trademark. This is not a gray area.
According to the Sony site, only if the Sony font was used.
Sony have a trademark on the word “PS4” in Europe (and probably other territories).
General Dynamics have a trademark on the word “PS4” in the USA.
I think Google is doing a fantastic job. Yeah there reasoning to why your app was removed is vague and needs to be addressed but in no way are they acting like tyrants. There just trying to get rid of spam and useless apps. Android isn’t as open unless you have a nexus device. Samsung and most of the big dogs lock down their “open ecosystem/os”. To really take advantage of android you must own a nexus device for true openness. I know we are talking about apps but I’m with Google for the way they are handling the app store. Maybe I’m in the minority but of well.
Then it’d be better to embrace Apple’s system and monitor apps before they’re accepted. At least developers wouldn’t have to spend every waking hour wondering if and when they’d be inadvertently banned, lose everything, and have no way of recovering the lost time, money, reviews, ratings, users, etc…
Yeah, count me in… Some of my apps & games are also pulled from Google Play with no proper explanation what to fix. I’m developing Android apps since end of 2009, but Google Play is getting worse and worse for the devs…
You really don’t have a case. You’ve used a logo and a trademarked name as part of the name of YOUR app. No wiggle room on whether you violated terms or not.
so they shouldn’t have used android term in phandroid . it’s trademarked name.google should sue them. is that your point?
well no I don’t think he means that. Google doesn’t care about using the name android and in fact they encourage it , but a company like sony does not let people use their trademarked stuff. They feel they have to defend every single thing like a tyrant. While I think it is ridiculous getting an app pulled over ps4 I am not surprised. It is sony.
Yep, since “android” is an open source platform, Google grant a fairly open license to use the name and even the logo / robot motif. Sony aren’t quite so open.
you think so ? my cm11 theme app has been warned google gave me 1 week to change the name or remove the app because i used “android lollipop” term in title. it was the theme of lollipop for cm11.
A warning even with 24 hours would be nice. We try really hard to comply with terms but they update the terms and then suspend our apps. It just… sucks.
“android” yes, “android lollipop” no. that’s where you messed up.
even if i write like “android is awesome while i’m eating my lollipop”, 2 words in same sentence , and i didn’t left those words like that. the title was “Android CM11 Lollipop theme” , and why we should become an english teacher and commit all US laws to our memories… US isn’t my country, they can’t force their laws to us like that.There are many good ways to teach some rules to us.while they’re taking %39(about %20 google, about %19 the taxes+banks) percent of money from developed apps of ours, they must give us required attention.it’s rude to remove our apps from store without giving good information and giving awful support
Encourage use of “Android”… definitely not:
ok that is messed up. wtf is google doing? well I didn’t even know that. I stand corrected
I’m not arguing whether or not we have a case. If they think we violated their terms, fine, tell us what we can do to fix it. We’re an established and respected organization.
I’m arguing that Google should provide more information and assistance to help developers comply with their demands. We’re all for complying we just don’t know how and they won’t let us!
google is fucking everything up again. i’m done i’m gonna try my chance with windows phones. google are you kidding with us? zero logic = google
Going to a windows phone = Zero Logic.
iphone sucks, android is getting worse, windows phone = zero logic. which one we should choose then?? skype on windows? -_-
You make absolutely no sense with your rants. I do understand now why you would choose a windows phone. Makes perfect sense for you.
how old are you?
Old enough to know when I’m reading ignorant comments like your own.
how did you measured ignorance level of my comment?, my comment doesn’t have detailed information about why i am thinking like that.
Let’s stick to facts and not resort to needless mudslinging, please!
My apologies, to the editor and readers.
Good luck getting anyone to download your app with the lowest market share in the market.
low market share, yes. however, if you create a quality app, its much easier to be seen. considering the market share is growing (slowly yes, but still growing) and the competition is less fierce, i think it makes a lot of sense. get in at the ground floor.
I guarantee it is because of the name “ps4”. Why would you name it that? Just call it phandroid or ph4 or something. You put yourself in this situation. If I was developing an app I would never name it after something that is so popular because you know it will bring conflict later on. Especially with the likes of sony. Those fools at sony aren’t going to let that slide
Call it “pee ess four”
haha! that’ll work :-P
Did you read the article?
— The app is named PS4 Daily
— We own PS4Daily.com which is a popular site
— Sony has communicated directly with us over the years and never suggested the name is a problem
I think it would only make sense to remove an app with said name from the Play Store. However, the issue I have is that they’re not consistent with said removals. If one person has “Android” or “PS4” in their app’s title and it gets removed, most/all should also be removed. I don’t think they’re playing favourites – just that they’re too lazy to remove them all.
Ok i edited this post because when I was reading the article I could have sworn it was saying ps4daily was about android news lol. nm. Just contact sony and ask them if they had anything to do with this. I am sure they did
It is named PS4 Daily because it is a news site about the PS4 and available games. They are not referring to their Phandroid app.
DISCLAIMER: Very long comment. Probably english errors (I’m brazilian and I’m not fluent).
It happened EXACTLY the same to me yesterday.
I made an alternative and explicit UNOFFICIAL Resident Evil (.Net) application. The app is basically a webview that redirects to the mobile version of the site, but in a standalone app – making it more easy to access the service. I had plans to create a quick navigation menu in the next version of the app. No ADS, no in app purchases.
Well, I uploaded a new version of the app, and… BAM! The app was removed from Play Store, I got a strike and an email with exatcly the same message. I think… “Ok, maybe can be a error…” (since there’s a LOT of applications with Resident Evil in the title – and a lot of them with clear copyright infringements).
So, I ask them about the app revision. With the limited 1000 caracteres, that’s what I wirte:
“Hello! I’m not trying to impersionate anyone. As the my app description (and title) says (and I tried to made it very clear), is just an unofficial alternative to access the RE.Net mobile website, right from a standalone app (since the official app doesn’t work well and isn’t available to a lot of devices / countries). You guys can be more specific about the removal? If it’s a issue with the “Resident Evil” in the title, look how many apps on Google Play have this on title: from guides with tips, to soundboards (with clear copyright infringements). My app is free (I’m not making money with it) and I made it just to help another players like to me have a quick access to the service website. Thanks!”
And, their response:
Thank you for your note.
We have reviewed your appeal and will not be reinstating your app. This decision is final and we will not be responding to any additional emails regarding this removal.
As you may be aware, we do not pre-screen applications submitted to the Google Play. If you would like to report an app that you believe is a violation of the developer terms please flag it as inappropriate via the Google Play app or submit a report through ourcontact form.
Be advised that any perceived compliance or non-compliance of other developers’ apps has no bearing on the compliance of your own apps.
If your account is still in good standing and the nature of your app allows for republishing you may consider releasing a new, policy compliant version of your app to Google Play under a new package name. We are unable to comment further on the specific policy basis for this removal or provide guidance on bringing future versions of your app into policy compliance. Instead, please reference the REASON FOR REMOVAL in the initial notification email from Google Play.
Please note that additional violations may result in a suspension of your Google Play Developer account.
The Google Play Team”
It’s my impression or they turn a blind eye to the other apps that I mention?
They not made clear about what I did wrong. It’s the title? It’s the keywords? They refuse to answer, and the documentation is very confuse.
This is my second “strike”. The first was about not put age restrictions in the same app (yep, was my mistake). Now, I am really scared to post new applications in Play Store. I had plans to release a game guide in the next few weeks (in the case, I would need to use the game name in the title), but now will not happen. I am actually learning to develop more complex apps, and for now, I think it’s best just release the source in Github and stuff. If I made one more mistake, BAM! Developer account suspended.
Would you have been happy with a response stating, “Your app was removed because it uses Resident Evil in the title. Unless you are the owner of this trademark we will not reinstate it. The existence of other Apps with similar names/violations is not an excuse to allow this violation to continue: we will review those apps eventually. In the meantime, if you change the title of your app so it does not include Resident Evil, we will reinstate it.”
To me… that would be 100000% better. I’d be HAPPY to receive that info so I know EXACTLY what’s going on. It would suck considering the circumstances, but I’d rather have it suck and know why it sucks.
A answer like that should be great. The most wierd (and what makes me angry) is that blind eye position.
They should help us to track our app issues – and not just send a pointless automated message like “We removed your app beause you violated one of our polices and there’s nothing that you can do. Please, don’t send any messages, we won’t answer you again.”.
And if the issue was solved, why not clear the specific strike? That’s what makes me more concerned about Play Store. For example, If you work in a team and someone makes anything wrong at the point to get a strike, it accumulates in your developer account.
Here’s a clue for the blind eye theory. My rubik’s cube app was taken down a few years ago. Several other rubik’s cube apps were hit, but curiously, the ones that stayed had ads. Duh. Google makes no tangible income from a free ad-free app so of course they don’t care.
Pay to Play, keep bans away.
The webview might be the problem… following is from Google developer policy:
“Do not post an app where the primary functionality is to:
-Drive affiliate traffic to a website or
-Provide a webview of a website not owned or administered by you (unless you have permission from the website owner/administrator to do so)”
I could be wrong of course…
Annnndd… perfect example of why we need more info.
Pretty obvious why if you ask me
Yes, I agree, more info.. plus a chance to fix it… plus a human we can communicate with on their side..
I think if it was because of that, the reason of removal would be more specific. Of course I am wrong to release an app without pay attention to that policies (thanks to point me that), but they should provide adicional information about the removal.
Just because your site is popular means nothing when you are using a trademarked name without permission, you broke the rules, end of game, don’t blame Google because you got away with skirting the law this long.
You shouldn’t use a legit Android site to spout incorrect info and misinformation, you are doing your cred no good and you are also harming the site, you should be embarrassed
If this type of crap keeps getting posted I’ll have to stop coming here, again, there are better and unbiased outlets for my news
I’m not opposed to Google suspending the app due to trademark infringement, but they should explain that this is the reason and give us the chance to revise the name. I think we’re using the name fairly… but whether or not this is a violation is not the issue. The issue is the method and severity of issuing violations.
Semirelated – how would you name an app that discusses and recommends the best games for PS4, without mentioning “PS4” in the title, while still letting people know it is about PS4?
“Hey, guys, listen, I know about a great game for that console you are not allowed to mention by name!”
thats what i’m saying. +1
The problem isn’t that the app reports on PS4 news it’s that the app potentially causes confusion with the owner of the trademark. How is anyone supposed to know this isn’t a Sony app? No explicit disclaimer, trademark name in the title.
This is like trademark 101.
But try to answer my question.
It isn’t hard as long as you have one creative bone in your body.
1) You could name yourself something unique like IGN or N4G.
2) you can use a play on words. Play Nation. The Sixth Axis. 4 News Daily. Circle, Square, Tri, Cross (CSTC).
Contrary to popular belief it is possible to create a fan site with ripping off someone’s trademark.
I can see your point, but honestly – none of the names made me think it would have anything to do with PS4.
I happen to agree with the article. Even if it was because of ‘PS4’ that is still extra stupid.
Maybe what needs to happen is people start using different app stores. I mean thats the good thing about android. We already have the amazon app store and plenty others. All we need is to start using others, while this may be annoying it be for the best sometimes.
The real problem is that you have “Android” in the app name. Even the guys at Android Authority had to rename their app to AA because it contained the “android” word in the title. Completely insane, but true
Google may not be allowed to tell you the reason by law. If the company that owns the trademark complains to them. They must comply by removing your app but law might not allow them to tell you why because they are respecting the rights of the accuser.
That’s a load of apologist crap. Even the MPAA with their blanket “filthy infringer” mails tells you what sin you have committed.
There are still quite a few apps with the letters “PS4” in the playstore however, and I seriously doubt all of them were authorised by Sony.
While I understand your confusion, I much prefer the new app description. The original wreaks of trying to meet a minimum number of words. This for Android, that for Android, the other thing for Android, tips on using the app… Give me an f’ing break. Most people would lose interest long before reading the entire description. If the removed app has a similarly verbose, repetitive description using trademarks I can understand why it was removed.
That said, there should be done way for you to identify the specific infraction so you can make the necessary changes.
But I understand that with some apps with lots of functions longer descriptions like that might be beneficial, but devs might be scared off of making them (and marketing their product better).
QQ do you want towel to cry into?
With out rules we live in chaos… I may not agree, but rules are important and with a little work I am sure that it can be fixed.
Play Store is not your father’s Oldsmobile any more!!!…good for Google in this respect.
Your gmail account, Picassa photos and app purchase history have been wiped for a trademark violation of an app you didn’t even create. Have a wonderful day.And don’t worry, we are going to make it as hard as we can for you to find out why.
(jk, but not that far from reality)
Your carrier as a mobile developer is almost finished though – if iOS drops even more Android and Google Play will have total monopoly.
This older change.org petition needs 2,500, only needs 75 more: https://www.change.org/p/sergey-brin-respect-the-efforts-of-small-and-indie-android-developers
May be nice to have both petitions completed.
It is a bit worrisome, for example the new Phandroid description still has “Android” listed four times (as opposed to nine in the original). I mean Google Play should understand some words need to be used, but since it is automatically monitored it becomes dangerous to use repetitive keywords and risk suspension.
As a theme developer, I recently had a Christmas theme removed for IP Infringement (still not completely sure on the reason, and appeal was denied). This has happened to several other theme developers, with no proper reason on what this actual IP Infringement relates to. It should also be noted that when you appeal, it says “Note that we will not provide guidance on the potential compliance of your future implementation, so submissions requesting advice will not receive an answer.” But this in fact would be the only and best place to receive the proper answer on what exactly was targeted.
Next I received a ‘spam violation’ on a totally different theme, which gave me 7-days to correct (ended yesterday so I assume everything is okay), which I could only think would be from listing the compatible launchers that the icon pack supports, so have removed all those and have cut down the description to basically 3 lines (similar to the new Phandroid description, which seems to be what they want), using icon, launcher, wallpaper, and other words once or twice, it is very hard to remove important words that may be repetitive and still communicate components of your app.
It is common practice with every other theme developer (my competition), I am not sure why some apps become targeted and some do not, but now I will miss out on any customers who search for “tsf theme” or “go theme” etc. But it is either that or risk suspension, and this also affects customers who “do not search correctly”, and in the end, these removals affect Google Play customers, most do not see it as proper policing but rather an improper system and thus become skeptical to invest in it.
Needs 2500 before what? Google are legally obliged to take it seriously?
Right, that’s what I was wondering haha
Change.org is a joke. Nobody cares about it, least of all the idiots that created it in the first place. Its a placebo effect where gullible idiots can air their grievances before the king and his praetorians and be led to believe that something will be done about it. Its nonsense.
That being said, if you want to get these grievances addressed, the best way to do it is at Google I/O. Organize a developer walkout during the keynote. Perform some other disruptive behavior which will get media attention and will catch the eyes of someone who has the power to do something about it.
I agree that Google is beginning to get a bit tyrranical when it comes to Android developers, but a Change.org petition is about the least effective method of getting your message put to action.
Hey, it worked for Target and the stupid GTA5 petition.
Australia are a nanny state though. Don’t get offended, I’m Australian myself.
I think the value is in quantifying how many people give a crap. For example, it illustrates something more tangible than saying, “look how many comments the post on Phandroid got.”
I would buy your story and empathize with you except it is extremely hypocritical of you. You don’t care about hardware manufacturers creating software to differentiate their handsets when you make them available or tell people how to download on handsets other than those of that manufacturer.
No, you don’t care about reducing the value and hard work those employees put into that but when something negatively impacts your business, now you want to cry about the fairness of it all…
I’m not sure I understand your criticism but invite you to expound. Please read my most recent review – our Galaxy Note 4 review -where I praise the custom software/hardware of that device very highly.
True, but then they would have to do something other than whine like little girls…again. A change.org petition is all this moaning is worth.
This type of governing is similar to what eBay has done to us sellers over the past few years. Ebay did this because of pressure from companies such as Sony to do so.
Well that’s the same kind of problem I was having on an app made on iOS, no explicit information, some automated messages that doesn’t explain why we are breaking the rules between other things. They’re taking the wrong example from the wrong company. To be honest I think they should copy a little more from Micro$oft on that aspect, they looks to be more open about that, maybe because of the lacks of app on their platform.
The problem with google is they just outright block you without giving you specifics. This would be less frustrating to people if Google would just specifically tell you what is wrong then just sending you a general scope of rules/policies of approval for the application/service. Google is known for this. Google needs to get better in their customer support especially for developers. They also need a better support channel for devs.
If they block the app then that’s the end of the process for Google. If they tell you why it becomes the of a process which costs Google time, and therefore money.
The rules are quite clear; read *all* of them before uploading your app, and again before complaining if it’s pulled.
thats the thing, the rules aren’t always clear and concise. And sometimes there are gray areas.
What Google should do is flip a “Hide/Show” toggle when they find an app they feel violate some rule.
Flip it to “Hide” mode so that the app & all of the reviews & download data is not lost but is not seen by people searching. Then simply contact the developer with the reasoning why it was flipped to “Hide” mode.
Open up a dialog between themselves and the developer to see if it can be resolved, then if it can be, the developer submits a revised app and if approved Google flips the toggle back to “Show” mode.
If an issue cannot be resolved within a set amount of time or the developer does not respond in, say 2 weeks or some other reasonable timeframe, then and only then should the app and all of its history be wiped.
Google would say that with 10s of thousands of developers that’s not feasible. But I agree the current system isn’t working.
There are 10s of thousands of developers alright, but surely a very little percentage is in dispute-resolving mode at a time. I don’t see why Google can’t handle that.
That would be too easy. And wouldn’t cause fear in developers. Google won’t do it.
Just because Sony may not have complained doesnt mean its not a good idea to police apps that are likely to cause confusion. Its a pretty clear trademark violation and you know that’s the reason why the app was taken down. In fact any user can file a compliant if they feel mislead.
Its not like google would have reversed the decision if the heard you out either. Unless you get explicit permission from Sony it violates the TOS.
While I agree that Google has, in some cases, improperly suspended accounts on the play store, and that their notification system is very poor, and the lack of any appeal process or effort to communicate is bad business, I can’t agree that their suspension in this case was “improper.” They’re pretty clear that you can’t use other companies’ trademarks or images in app store listings (without permission).
As for the Phandroid News, maybe the thing to do would be to get permission, in writing, and then include in the Playstore description the phrase “used with Permission.”
Kinda like when your dad whacks you upside your head when you were a kid. You’d ask what did I do??? And he’d reply, you know what you did!
You’d spend the next few hours thinking to yourself… How the F am I supposed to stop doing what I did if I don’t know what it is that I did wrong?
I had a teacher like that. To this day I still hate his guts.
As an Android developer for four years (no longer) who has had his account terminated, I find this frustrating. I’ve lost original apps that I wrote entirely myself for seemingly simple reasons. In most cases, I simply was away from my email for more than 7 days (the period Google strictly enforces) or was willing to make the necessary changes but was not told what, specifically, was in violation. I received a near-instant rejection of my appeal, and that was the end of our “communication.” I can’t say I’m surprised, but it’s my belief this is Google’s excuse to create the culture they want (alongside a byproduct of an overzealous and completely automated content scanning system). Unlike Apple, they did not adopt a guardian-of-the-gate policy with personally screening apps. Here, Google is hiding behind legal jargon and poor communication to hand-select winners and losers.
Pro Tip: Develop for Windows Phone. Kick Google in the nuts. :)
I can’t tell if you’re a Windows Phone fan or developer evangelist… I got a free WP7 device some time ago from Microsoft because they were desperate to get developers. I even tried my hand at Visual Studio, C#, .NET, etc. But the small market and limited capabilities lost my interest. My origin reason for going into Android was, at the time, I was 16 and they were the only platform not to verify age (you just checked a box saying “I’m 18 blah, blah, blah.”) I’ve not idea if this is true now, but it doesn’t matter. Oh well, goodbye Android
Contact Sony legal department, inform them that you are attempting to release a free service which supports traffic to their products & service (free of charge). That opens the gate so that you can both find out if they filed an injuction/made a complaint, and get their support.
Don’t you guys have a legal department for this type of concern?!
Rob and Kevin are their legal department. Chris is Public Relations.
Although I support the cause and signed the petition, I dislike the tone of this article.
Here’s my comment that went with the petition:
“Google needs to start treating community as collective of individuals, and not as algorithm’s INs and OUTs.”
Whining like little bit*hes. Totally professional. No wonder no one takes this site seriously.
Giggles has never had a complaint department, it is two fat guys that run algorithms all day.
Phandroid communication with users is bad as well, cannot get a reply from you when contacting you though the ”various” ways you offer.
I have discussed this issue in the previous related news post you had, nice to know that when your affected then you’re taking initiative about it.
Great cause non the less.
Google doesn’t offer any type of communication with developers unless its a corporation app. Sad fact.
Please e-mail me directly. Rob (at) Phandroid (dot) com
Google sent a warning about my app “STO Guides” (basic game guides for Star Trek Online)
In the end it turned out that I had to REMOVE: “this is a fan app and is not in any way affiliated with cryptic games or perfect world entertainment”
From the description.
Unlike all the others with no rhyme or reason for being pulled, you are very lucky you got an explanation of the fault to be corrected, others don’t.
Google is so large now that every move they make crushes a whole bunch of people, while others win.
Who you think will win at this case?
For every app that is pulled unjustly probably 1,000 horrible spam ridden pieces of garbage are pulled appropriately. Legitimate apps which are not hurt, like the subject of this article, should all come out clear winners. Play store users also win because they need to sift through less garbage to get to the real apps.
I agree that what happened to PS4Daily is an outlier and very unfortunate, but the system probably does more good than harm. Of course I have 0 insight to back up anything I am saying.
Good points. But 1) Not being able to fix an error and re-enable the app in the Play Store it ridiculous! If we are forced to republish, existing users will never get an update. 2) No one at Google will tell you exactly what’s wrong with your app. It merely gets wacked.
Pro Tip: Develop for Windows Phone. Kick Google in the nuts.
How can you kick someone by committing a suicide?
0/10 worst troll.
Aren’t only scam, spam and phishing apps are allowed on the Windows Phone app store?
So….Pass on a platform with lousy market policy enforcement in favor of a platform with a declining single digit market share? Yeah, that’ll work.
Honestly the name sounds like you’re giving away a PS4 per day, or it is a daily magazine published by Sony.
Apple apps are denied on similar crappy ass grounds. Not the same as this, but just as outrageous.
This is standard method of the day over at Apple. I’m not saying it is right, but “Anything but Android” removes credibility from this article when Apple drops apps, podcasts and anything else at the drop of a hat with no explanations or reasoning.
Opinions don’t remove credibility from opinion articles.
Dev since 2010. I have had apps pulled from the Play Store. Most were due to my ignorance when I started developing for Android. However, all of my violations were merely verbage in the app descriptions. All of which could have been corrected. But I was locked out and only recived the standard email stating the decision was final.
I agree to a previous comment about Google Hiding the app until the violation is corrected. Locking the Developer out of their own app and preventing a correction is not helping anyone.
I know one small dev making root-friendly tools – evidently while allowing IAP, they evidently started taking a dim view of donateware with PayPal links. Appeal denied (he didn’t appeal, he sent an email asking what he did wrong) without discussion, he couldn’t update the app to conform – he had to redo as a new app after guessing it was the PayPal thing.
I don’t get it.
Again….Another example of a violation that could have been easily corrected and reinstated. Republishing as a new APK left existing users out of future app updates.
It happened to me a few days ago. 4 years of work, 500,000 downloads and 30,000 active users. All gone in an instant.
I did a post about it, which makes the same points as this one:
Forget your petition. Sue them.
I’m not developer. So I could be 100% wrong here. I am an IT guy who’s been in the business for many years. However, this does seem a bit melodramatic to me.
1. I’m a bit confused. How does blocking your app “wipe out an entire company”? If your entire company is based on an app, one app, well… that’s not much of a company anyway. Phandroid seems to be rolling in the cash if they can send a whole crew to Vegas for CES (not criticizing…that’s awesome. Hiring???). I doubt not having this ONE app is going to put you out of business.
2. Why do you have to “upload a new app and start from scratch”? Do you not have a copy of the app somewhere? You can’t just upload that app with a new description? You make it sound like the only copy of that app was on Google servers.
3. “We are going to lose all our reviews?” Personally I don’t think that’s a big deal. You own a news website. Explain what happened. A luxury many devs don’t have. Not to mention, you think the real Phandroid fans are going to NOT download your new app because there are no reviews? And hey…I bet there’s some negative reviews in there from the early days of the app. Couldn’t hurt to lose those. ;)
The package name of the apk file (app file) uniquely
identifies an app in the Play Store. This package name links everything
together…the current users of the app, downloads, reviews, ratings, search
Package names cannot be duplicated in the Play Store so it’s
not about how many copies of the app you might have. Uploading a new APK would
require a new package name and starting from scratch.
I think the main point here is that Google needs better
communications with developers to allow us to edit simple things, like an app
name for example, before wiping out the app.
Certainly agree about the communication issue.