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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Support Android Developers : Sign Petition for a Fairer Treatment from Google

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Android developers, especially the small indie ones, have one big concern when it comes to publishing apps on the Google Play store.

Apps suspension, and ultimately account banning from Google. And that too done in such a way that developers don't have ways of defending themselves or given any opportunity to fix the issues.

Sign the Petition Here!

Check out following problems reported by Phandroid and another developer on Reddit. There are countless other similar cases that's been reported by developers.

Is Google Evil?




Okay, to call Google as evil is ridiculous. Google has done much good for the world, and they are still doing more.

Maybe you have a different point-of-view from me on this, and that's fine. There has been much advancement in the human life with Google's help. Self driving smart cars reducing fatalities on road, for example.

But when it comes to apps suspension or banning of developer accounts, Google could really use a human touch.

This is how it goes. An app developer receives a suspension notice from Google, and the app is suspended. The developer can't make any changes to fix the problem anymore, most of the time. Most of the time when an appeal is done, it is almost automatically rejected with a final email from Google.

On rare occasions apps get re-instated. Increase your chances of getting your app re-instated or un-suspended, read on how below.

Why it Matters?


When you look back at the start of the Android world, indie developers were there. Indies, most of them a 1-man (or woman) team made apps after apps that grew the then Android Market to what it is now.

The interest of the market attracted more and more users over to Android. And it also attracted bigger brands. EA, Gameloft, Disney, Zynga and many more started getting involved too. Somehow Nintendo isn't there yet.

Without indies, this success that Google has had with the Play Store would probably not have been possible. The whole ecosystem was what indies have worked hard to grow.

Why it Happens?


Unfortunately, no matter where you look, some people take the wrong advantage of everything. Google has provided a great open system, allowing all developers a chance of publishing their apps, and monetizing the apps.

The system was open to other ad networks. And other analytics companies. Google could have limited these to their own Admob and Analytics tools, but they allowed it to be open.

That's where the abuse of the system started. Developers started using the open-ness for taking advantage of users' innocence, stealing valuable and private details of users. Numerous apps were released which violated trademarks and IPs, and providing illegal downloads of sings and movies. Ad networks started tracking users, sending out ads to the devices via notification and icon ads that suddeny pop up without users' permissions.

While it was fine back then in most cases, the abuse started getting a little out of hand. Thus Google introduced many new policies along the way, and developers had no choice but to comply with it. That's fair, after all, Android is Google's, and giving the end users a fair and enjoyable experience is really fair policy.

To avoid those handful of developers (okay, maybe more than a handful) who abuse the system, Google has resorted to using a very unfair style of handling this issue.

Common Mistakes that Cause Apps Suspension


Developers have often made innocent mistakes with their apps. Just watch out for these common mistakes that developers make that can cause app suspension:

1 - Using a trademarked name in the title. 
Watch out for names such as "Flow", "Play", "with friends" and "Candy". Some of these are ridiculous to be trademarked!

Check out these 4 easy steps to keyword research you can implement today!


2 - Using copyrighted content, including movies, music and images / logos.
Beware when you use icons for apps related to social related apps. Also avoid showing Youtube clips in your apps.

3 - Having too many keywords separated by commas in the app's description. 
Try to make full sentences of your relevant keywords.

4 - Showing ads out of app. 
This is a common problem when developers use exit ads, or code with a timer to show ads. Also stick to reliable ad networks. I recommend Heyzap if you're developing games.

Sign the Petition for a better developer - user - Google experience!


Sign the petition to make the Google Play a fairer place for all. This can easily be done by Google. If Apple and Microsoft can do this for their markets, Google can surely do it too.

Will this petition make a difference? I always believe in the positive (or try to at least). And believe that it can make a change.

As of this writing, this petition needs about 131 more signatures.

Please support and sign the petition.

Increase Your Chance of Getting App Out of Suspension


Now, if your app has been suspended, what do you do? Often the instinct is to get back to Google, and hope you get a proper response. Unfortunately, its almost guaranteed the response from Google won't help you at all, and they will refuse to further entertain you on this matter.

Instead, a fellow developer has got his app re-instated. He took a while to reply to Google, as he was waiting for response from the copyright holder. From the looks of it, it's like you have 1 chance at appeal, and to do that, you should provide all necessary details in screenshots and links. Give all and every detail you can in your email. And hope for the best.



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