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Google is Cracking Down.

Google is Cracking Down on iffy Android Developers

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Android is cleaning up their app store. Google recently announced a handful of changes to their Google Play Policies. Many of these changes are aimed at cracking down on deceptive ad units and other dodgy behavior.

This is most likely in response to The OFT’s proposed Principles for free to play online & mobile games and similar EU rulings.

Office of fair trading

Outlined below are several of the important google updates.

Usage of Android Advertising ID – Android’s new Advertiser ID is important for advertisers and analytics providers. This outlines specific terms for advertising to Android users. Included in the terms and conditions is the requirement of a clear opt-out policy, there must be no personally-identifiable information associated to a specific user, and advertising must be transparent and disclose advertising to users in a “legally adequate privacy notification.” This goes into effect on August 1st.

App Promotion Policy – The App Promotion section is a new addition to the Google Play Developer Program Policy. It is meant to address developers who were essentially tricking users to click on their ads. Here are the details:
Apps published on Google Play may not directly or indirectly engage in or benefit from the following behavior:

Promotion via deceptive ads on websites, apps or other properties, including simulated system, service, or app notifications or alerts.

Promotion or install tactics which cause redirection to Google Play or the download of the app without informed user action.
Unsolicited promotion via SMS services.

It is your responsibility to ensure that no ad network or affiliate uses such methods to direct users to pages that make your app available for download. This could affect some of the alternative verified app stores. see list here:

Sexually Explicit Content – Policy verbiage has been clarified when it comes to sexually explicit material in the Google Play store. Previously, the policy read, “We don’t allow content that contains nudity, graphic sex acts, or sexually explicit material.” The wording has since been updated to read, “Apps that contain or promote pornography are prohibited; this includes sexually explicit or erotic content, icons, titles or descriptions.”

Additional Policy Updates – Apps in the Google Play Store are now banned for not just containing viruses, malware or spyware, but also for linking to sites containing harmful material. Apps that drop icons, shortcuts, or bookmarks are also banned under the new policy. Ads that impersonate the user interface of an app, Android notification, the phone’s operating system, or any other deceptive behavior will result in a ban from the Google Play Store.

Developers should have adopted these new changes already, with Android Advertiser ID changes going into effect August 1st. For the full list of updates, visit the Google Play Developer Program Policy here.

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