Google is doing some house cleaning on its Play Store by introducing several new changes to its Google Play Developer Program Policy. The changes are meant to protect the consumers against the deceptive advertising practices as well as other shady activities of app developers. The developers themselves must also make sure right now that the ad networks or affiliates that they are using do not engage in these practices.
Most of the changes in the Google Play Developer Program Policy are found in the App Promotion section which states.
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.
One of the key changes that this new policy brings is the elimination of the downloading of apps via a simulated system dialog box. This is quite popular in the Windows platform where a user will often see a pop-up ad on the screen that looks like a Windows dialog box. It will often warn users that their system has an error or that it is infected with malware and provides a way to resolve the issue by letting the user download a program. This tactic is now being used by developers in the Android system.
Under the Ad Policy category on the Ads Context guidelines the changes state that “Ads must not simulate or impersonate the user interface of any app, or notification and warning elements of an operating system. It must be clear to the user which app each ad is associated with or implemented in.” This basically warns the developers of the ad networks they may be using that may engage in deceptive behavior.
The new policy no longer allows apps to access the SMS feature without getting the consent of the user. A lot of app developers today on Android and even on iOS send out SMS as a way of making their apps viral. Sometimes it works but sometimes it doesn’t, the bottom line is that Google is clamping down on this practice.
With regards to in-app purchases, developers must now make it clear which feature in the app requires an additional charge.
Apps are right now banned from containing viruses, worms, malware or simply by linking to these security threats. They are also not allowed to modify any browser settings, add homescreen shortcuts, icons, or bookmarks.
Google has notified all app developers via email regarding these changes and are giving them some time to unpublish their apps and resubmit them before the apps gets banned. “Any new apps or app updates published after this notification will be immediately subject to the latest version of the Program Policy. If you find any existing apps in your catalog that don’t comply, we ask you to unpublish the app, or fix and republish the app within 15 calendar days of receiving this email. After this period, existing apps discovered to be in violation may be subject to warning or removal from Google Play.”
via google play