Friday, July 24, 2020

Google's silent treatment to Android app developers

Are you an android app developer, have you published an app on the Play store?
If so, continue reading, otherwise don't waste your time.

As you know, Google is a clusterfuck of a company when it comes to taking care of it's Android app developers and no I won't spare any harsh words, this is an honest post, if your stomach aches, again, don't waste your time.

So... you paid $25 one-time fee and you're an Android developer, hurray for you, now you can praise Google for delivering a safe ecosystem where every person with a laptop and $25 on their card can become a developer and contribute to this system.

Why's this wrong?
  1. One time fee of $25 won't bring stable ecosystem, instead you'll deal with Google's bots and their auto-replies that are annoying to every person who appealed.
  2. There's a clutter of applications on the store, take for example QR readers, shit ton of applications exist for that purpose and it drives no innovation at all, hence repetitive content where Google's policy should erase 99% of those apps, but does it? Of course no.
  3. Quantity > Quality, of course you have tons of applications on the store, most of them copied the code from Github/Gitlab or other git public alternative, changed the icon, some text, colors and boom, THEY'RE NOW aNdrOiD DeVeLoPerS.
  4. With $25 one time fee, Google can't hire(?) actual humans to review the apps and have them work on the problems with dev's account/apps/questions/concerns etc...
  5. There's no call support, since they have no actual human beings.
  6. You as a developer is fucked!
Now we come to the part where Google bans applications for no apparent reason.
Should I be scared that my app can get suspended and my account terminated?
Hell yea you should.

One day they created an AI bot to scan the play store, someone fucked up and if clause or the AI decided that it should make an action and your app was flagged, removed and maybe your account suspended, WELCOME TO THE BIGGEST TESTING IN PRODUCTION OF ALL TIME.

But my income is based on those applications, our company depends on this application, X and Y depend on this application.

Yes, GOOGLE doesn't give a single fuck about you, unless!!!!!
Unless you're a big company that brings them more of those sweet $$$$$$$
then of course they'll take care of you, make the support reply in one hour and reinstate the application/account without the need of an appeal.

Am I given a time window to fix an issue?
Sorry sir we here at Google do not speak this language.

Me: Can I make an appeal?
Google: yes
Me: [makes an appeal]
Google's bot: brrrrrrrrrrr automatic reply

Quoting from the Reddit's post

This post got quite popular, so there are chances that someone in Google might read it. What we're asking to Google is to stop this unfair practices by:

  • Being more transparent about the suspensions processes;

  • To stop this life-banning madness;

  • To stop banning associated accounts. This is just crazy and often lead to very unfair situations;

  • To let us communicate with real people, and not stupid bots. I'm sure most of us here are willing to pay a fee for this service.

Your account got banned?
Google: GOOD, that also means there's no alternative for you and you're screwed up till you die or make an account on someone else's behalf and we'll ban that too.

Is there a way out of this mess? Yes and no.
Yes: Go develop apps for iOS.
No: Cry for help.

What happened to me you might guess so I had to write this post?

I was striked with 3 consecutive DMCA claims that literally suspended my apps immediately and after a day my account as well.

And as you can see their bot replies with account removal automatic reply instead of a DMCA claim.

What did I do?
I reached out to the people that filed the claim, worked out on a solution, e-mailed Google the solution that we agreed on (forwarded the whole e-mail).

What does Google do in this situation?

Waiting 2 months already, my income isn't coming from the ADS and in-app purchases, I had no time to appeal the DMCA claims because at Google there's no such thing as time, they live under the proudly proclaimed "WE MADE AN IMMEDIATE ACTION AND TOOK OUT THE BAD GUY, YOU'RE SAFE NOW.", boom 1 day after the DMCA claims, because they're 3 at once, your account is down, PERMANENTLY.

But I worked out a solution with the complainant and we worked things out for all the 3 claims.

And the best things of all is, you can't even get your account reinstated even if you comply with all the rules/policies and try to fix them or already found a solution.... cause you're banned permanently.

And that's all of it folks, Google's treating us Android developers like shit, of course some developers are to blame, in my situation I made a mistake I had to work out a solution with the DMCA complainant (and they haven't reached out to me first, they went to Google directly, because papa Google will take care of that), but I wasn't given enough time to even blink, as soon as I reached out for a solution with the complainants the next thing you know my account was banned.

Thanks Google for scaring us, thanks for not-caring about us, thanks for the chances we haven't had.

This doesn't apply to me only, it applies to every other Android developer who has been harmed by Google's monopoly.

Here we go boys, let the shitshow begin:

Edit #1: July 24, 2020

Another automated reply.


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