Android needs a human-approach to Play Store

(Image Credit: Lucas Zallio)

Popular theme developer "the1dynasty" has had his Google Play account terminated for failure to comply with the store's terms of use. Google's Play Store policy means developers cannot use "Android" or "Google" in their package or app names to prevent confusion between official apps which is the rule in which the apps in question fell foul to.

the1dynasty received a slap on the wrist alerting him to his mistake, which he took on-board and unpublished all the offending apps. Google Play's policy gives you a 14-day period to make changes - but despite rectifying the issue within this time - the guys and girls over at Mountain View still decided to drop the banhammer on his account.

The thought your account can be terminated with little human-interaction if your robot overlord decides is worrying.

The developer wrote on Google+: "Well, it’s officially official… My developer account has been terminated… Even with the themes that violated the Terms were removed, I am still hit with this automatically created email."

The email he received reads:

This is a notification that your Google Play Publisher account has been terminated.

REASON FOR TERMINATION: multiple violations of the Content Policy and Developer Distribution Agreement as outlined in previous emails sent to the registered email address of your Publisher account.

Please note that Google Play terminations are associated with developers, and may span multiple account registrations and related Google services. If you feel we have made an error, you can visit the Google Play Help Center article for additional information regarding this termination.

Please do not attempt to register a new developer account. We will not be restoring your account at this time.

The Google Play Team

Google has come under fire for the automated process in which account terminations occur. For some developers, a single account could be a livelihood. In this situation, it seems Google has flagged apps with the banned terms in their names and begun the ban process without due communication or checking if the problems have been rectified within the given grace period.

The company could do with working on its one-to-one developer relations. It's easier to get an app into Google's app store due to a more lax screening process when compared to Apple, who checks every app, but on the other hand the thought your account can be terminated with little human-interaction if your robot overlord decides is worrying.

Update 10/10/14:

A small indie developer, My Casino Life LLC, has sent us a heartfelt email about their experience:

Hi Ryan, I just read your article, it was excellent!

Unfortunately our small indie company just received the wrath of Google as well. We awoke this morning to our developer account being terminated. We have been making apps for about 2 years for Google Play. We just recently received a suspension of one of our apps for spammy content.

No 7 day fix - just gone several hours after upload.

Of course, we appealed but got the same computer automated response that they will not be reinstating the app and will not respond to future requests regarding said suspension. Another recent one was for a copyright/trademark violation. We did, inadvertently use a name for our app that was trademarked.

As soon as we got the 7 day notification, we researched - found we were in the wrong - and immediately rectified the situation. We thought all was well, but as soon as the 7 day time limit came, they suspended it. We appealed, saying we had rectified the situation, and still we received their wonderful auto-response.

We have tried to contact Google, but their only solution was to respond to the automated message. We have always tried to play by the book, even when seeing other big name "top developers" are not.  I feel that there is a lot of discrimination going on here. What is the answer, how come we cannot speak with an actual person at Google? This is how we make a living.

I believe our games are quality, we aren't turning games quickly for a quick buck. We love what we do, and have tried to maintain a level of integrity, but all is lost with one flip of the switch. So unfortunate. I just wanted to share to anyone who will listen, because obviously Google will not.

We have reached out to Google for comment on this issue and will update if a response is provided.

What do you think about Google's suspension process? Let us know in the comments.

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15 Oct 2014, 7:30 a.m.

I don't know if I will be happy with the fact that robots and computers think and feels like humans now.


30 Jan 2015, 2:54 a.m.

I take it you got NO response from Google?!


16 Sep 2015, 10:30 p.m.

I too had the same problem, i created a theme for a popular sms app, and added tags in the description, i got a notice saying i had added too many tags and had tags not related to the app i published and had 14 days to rectify it. i went through all of my apps and rectified my tags that were not related to the app. After 14 days my app still got suspended. This is unfair, i have not bothered appealing. As i feel they would not listen.