The conversation above made me become more interested to write this article. Previously, I have written articles about app development and how to market them. I just can’t imagine how frustrating it is that after all your efforts and sleepless nights to publish an app, the nightmare comes when Google decides to suspend it. So I thought of the saying “Prevention is better than cure”, and one way to prevent it is to stay informed of what are the rules and consequences. I have read Google Play’s Developer Policy, and has come up with some tips on how to get your app suspended, and of course, the reasons why Google Play suspends it.
1 Try to cross the line by including restricted contents.
Google Play does not tolerate apps and games with the following contents:
- Sexually explicit content such as pornography and promotional images of sex toys.
- Child abuse imagery.
- Graphic description of violent activities and instructions on how to commit suicide or to create a bomb/weapon.
- Threats, harassment, or bullying particularly toward minors.
- Hate speech against a group of people.
- Lacking reasonable sensitivity on natural disasters, death and other tragic events.
- Online gambling which offer prizes of cash or other value, and includes Ad SDKs that redirect users to real gambling websites.
- Sale, purchase or instructions on manufacturing illegal drugs, and encouraging the use or sale of drugs, alcohol and tobacco by minors.
2 Copy someone else’s work or deceive users.
Your app should be original and does not impersonate or infringe on intellectual rights of others. Google Play does not allow an app that :
- Uses another entity’s brand, title, logo that may mislead or deceive users.
- Suggests a relationship or affiliation with another famous entity but doesn’t really exist.
- Shows titles and icon similar to existing products or services that may misled users.
- Misrepresents or doesn’t clearly explain its functionality, like claiming to be an antivirus app but it just contains instructions on how to remove virus.
- Sends messages on behalf of the user without confirmation and consent.
3 Make it unsafe for the users.
Your app should protect user’s privacy and data. According to Google play, here are some of the common violations:
- An app that collects and transmits the user’s inventory of installed apps without adequate disclosure and consent.
- A game that collects and transmits the user’s contact book without adequate disclosure and consent.
- Never publicly disclose any personal or sensitive user data.
- Do not publish or disclose people’s non-public contacts.
- Explain what data your app collects and transmits, how it will be used and with whom it’s shared.
4 Never mind their billing and Ads policy.
Since developers have agreed to the terms and agreement of Google Play upon creating an account, then they must follow Google Play’s payment system.
- For products offered within a game downloaded or providing access to game content, Google Play In-app Billing should be the method of payment.
- For products offered within another category of an app, Google Play In-app Billing should also be the method of payment, except:
- If payment is solely for physical products
- If payment is for digital content that may be consumed outside of the app itself.
- In-app virtual currencies must only be used within the app where they were first purchased.
- App description should inform users that payment is required to access certain features.
Google Play wants to ensure the best user experience, so they discourage and do not allow deceptive, disruptive, inappropriate and intruding ads. There should also be the proper usage of Android advertising ID.
5 Use unfair tactics to attract users.
I have mentioned this in my previous articles, never pay or incentivize to get fake reviews, or ask app users to give you a high rating. The other violations are:
- Use deceptive ads and notification
- Tactics that redirect users to download the app without consent
- Unsolicited promotion using text messages
- Misleading and inappropriate metadata
- Using users testimonials in the app’s description
You can visit the Google Play Developer Policy Center for a more detailed explanation.
Remember that the success of an app is not based on its perfection, but how you make it better.
Let me end this article with a quote from Eric Wroolie, the CEO and Founder of Overpass. I hope you can use this as an inspiration in developing an app, and making sure it will not be suspended along the way.
Google Play Developer Policy Center for the information.