Google is at it again, suspends popular app Reddit Sync for “impersonation”


reddit sync

It was less than a week ago when we wrote about Google’s absurd developer policies and cryptic automated messages. Long story short: developers never know when their app might get suspended, and when it happens there is very little explanation. Now it has happened again to a very popular Reddit app, and this isn’t even the first time.

The developer of Reddit Sync received one of the dreaded automated emails to notify him that the app has been suspended. The reason for the suspension is impersonating “another popular product without permission.” Here’s the kicker: Google did this exact thing to Reddit Sync two years ago.

This is a problem that keeps occurring. Reddit Sync has been around for a very long time, and even resolved this issue once before. If Reddit is asking for the name to be changed that needs to be explained in the email, and if Reddit isn’t asking for that then why is Google intervening? It’s time for Google do fix this.

Show Google how important this issue is by signing the petition on

[via Reddit]

Joe Fedewa
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  1. If Google wanted to be this careful with the types of apps on the Play Store and its app name, they should hire personnel to hand-review each app before it gets published on the Play Store. Having bots automatically threaten to take down a perfectly good app (especially if the threat was reviewed and lifted 2 years ago) is not the answer, and it’ll ultimately hurt Android in the end.

    1. One of IOS’s few advantages.

  2. I just downloaded this from the play store. 9:32pm et

    1. The dev has 7 days before it’s taken down.

      1. Oh I didn’t know that

      2. Funny that there’s no mention of that in either this or the previous article. But I guess that really doesn’t help validate the complaint.

        1. Yea, they left that part out from the reddit post.

  3. Sign the petition!

    1. Screw that, get devs who aren’t morons and can read guidelines.

      1. You smell like shyte. That must be you’re a taint.

  4. While I agree with the petition and signed it myself, I belive the issue is actually the extensor that use trademarked and copyrighted materials as detailed in the reddit thread. That being said they need to improve their process as well loosen some of the rules as I belive some of this falls under fair use.

  5. Google has screwed over many a partner.

    1. Compared to the 100’s of thousands who have had no problems? It’s moronic devs, not Google.

      1. I disagree, especially in this case. This developer was flagged 2 years ago and won his appeal, now it’s happening all over again.

      2. No, in this case Google seems to be acting moronic in that they can’t make up their mind.

      3. The POINT, imho, is that there is no clean avenue of customer service direct contact readily available. Similar issue plagues Google Plus. They use a help community to give opinions through mods, but if you actually want to address a concern or believe you were treated unfairly by Google, there is no way to contact customer service. It’s insane for any company, particularly a GIANT like Google.

  6. and they say apple is restricted

  7. Just don’t use the name of a product you don’t own in the app name, it’s not difficult. I agree the communication could be better, but it’s fairly standard practice that Google shouldn’t be blamed for.

    1. But what if the company, in this case reddit, approves of the use of their name?

    2. As I understand it, Reddit never had a problem with this app before. Did they change their minds and ask Google to take it down, or was this just an automatic notice? If the former they should say so. If the latter, Google shouldn’t be deciding for other companies whether or not they want to enforce their trademarks (especially not using completely automated decisions).

  8. I know developers have guidelines to follow but after this was submitted to post 2 years ago and google did nothing about it…is not very professional. I dont have Reddit Sync though; does is it really impersonate anything? I mean its not like we have not seen thousands of other apps do this….literally to this day.

    1. There is no official reddit app. There is an official reddit AMA app, but it only shows you /r/iama, that’s it.

  9. Rules are rules… If it is breaking a rule then it needs to be dealt with.

    1. Problem is Google isn’t being consistent. This same issue came up with this same app two years ago. Back then Google suspended the app, but reversed their decision on review. Now 2 years later they’re reversing the reversal?

      1. Your error in judgement is in thinking that these reviews are being done by humans. There’s no way Google has the manpower to police the store like that. It probably all operates on a flag system…too many flags, and the system automatically generates a C & D as well as a suspension. Only a human review can overcome that, which unfortunately takes time and work.

        1. No error in judgement here, I know the reviews aren’t being done by humans. My contention is violations should be vetted by humans before warnings and notices are sent, and when warnings are sent that they carry clear guidance as to what action needs to be taken. Human intervention taking time and work – that’s just an excuse. There are roughly 1.3 million apps in the play store – policy violations are probably at most somewhere in the low 5 digit range – certainly a number that could be handled by a small to mid sized team.

    2. Ah yes, the zero tolerance policy. One of many reasons the United States is in the shitty situation that it is.

      1. Zero Tolerance for the Citizens , except for corporations which are infallible, lose over 100 billion, let me get the check for you, kill hundreds of people, just pay a fine, no jail time, ever, except a mid to low level person who had nothing to do with anything, maybe.

        We are at the point where the average citizen needs Lobbyist for our Representatives to represent us

    3. The problem is they don’t typically tell developers what it is about their app, app name, or app description that is violating the rules.

  10. I don’t know why you guys are so surprised by this. Apps that are using logos and brand names are being flagged for ‘impersonation.’

    That makes sense whether the brands in question are behind the take-down requests or not. You can’t just use somebody’s IP like that — even Phandroid is in a pretty grey area with “android” in the name and a slightly tweaked Bugdroid as the logo.

    1. There’s a difference between impersonation and support/compatibility. Reddit is a service with an API that allows for/encourages 3rd party client applications. A developer having written the app wants users to know his app is a Reddit client. Sure, Calling his creation “The Reddit App” would be bad. But you seem to be suggesting that any mention of the service could be considered a violation, so how exactly should the app be named or described as being a Reddit client without actually referencing the name? The surprise/ire stems from a lack of clarity and some flip/flopping on Google’s part.

      1. I think using the Reddit logo and name is probably a bit too much. “Reddit Sync” implies that it’s an officially backed Reddit app. There’s a reason why names like “Falcon” and “Hootsuite” exist — they clue you in to what they’re related to without using the IP. They should develop their own logo and come up with an original name.

        I’ve dealt with plenty of Google ambiguity, myself. Adsense is a nightmare if they decide you’ve done something wrong. They kill your account and never tell you why — just that you were ‘in violation’ and you can appeal, but if you don’t know what to change/fix, you’re out of luck. The logo/brand name issue, though, I think is a little bit easier to understand.

        1. So why isn’t Reddit News under the same fire? And all Reddit apps identify themselves as being unofficial. Your defense of Google here is insane.

          1. “Reddit News” will probably be next. This all changes if they’re paying licensing fees and/or have permission, mind you. Not sure what you find ‘insane’ about that.

  11. Petition was taken down….

  12. Or may be you should read the reddit thread before drawing a conclusion. The app in question used pictures of movie posters (e.g. Avengers) in their screen shots, which is clearly a violation of play store guidelines. Even the developer admitted in his own thread that the inclusion was a mistake and could be the reason why the app is getting pulled.

    1. The problem ,though, is that Google doesn’t explain the reasons for it’s actions and give devs a chance to fix the problem before being suspended. If Google just tried communicating, most of these issues could be easily resolved without all the acrimony.

      1. Google—whacks developer across head

        Dev: “What did I do?”

        Google: “You know what you did!”

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