Much to the horror of some developers, they have seen their fortunes take a dip just because
Big Daddy Google thought about throwing them and their wares out of their app store and
banning their developer account, which essentially shuts out the app maker from the lucrative
Android platform. In its defense, not that they have to offer one, the company is simply too
powerful at the moment, Google says there is a method to this banning madness.Are they transparent enough to tell you why you are being smacked down? No! In the
experience of many who have seen their livelihoods and dreams being thrown into the gutter,
Google is simply playing app God because the company can, even when there is absolutely
nothing that the app makers have done wrong.The reality of the situation is this- whatever Google does, and we are not brandishing them as
evil, but the fact is that the grunts of a few wronged developers is not going to create a dent in
their mighty fortress. There will always be more developers vying to earn through Google, so
wake up to the reality that the only losing party here will be you. Hence, try the safe over sorry
approach first.

How does Google come down to the conclusion that they need to ban a developer account?

According to the Google team, they use the 3 strike method to throw you out. You will be given
a first, second and third warning for the same app or 3 different apps. Means, you get a total of
3 warnings and then you can say goodbye to Google. And, this is how the process works:You will receive an email out of the blue from Google telling you that your app is in the wrong
and is being removed from the app store. They will simply copy paste one of the points from
their terms and conditions page to tell you how you have violated their policy.From here, the developer has two options; you could either appeal the flagging or submit a new
version that complies with their terms. Now, here is how the nightmare begins. If you appeal, it
can take weeks upon weeks for your voice to be heard and even after the grueling, nail biting
wait, chances are that the app will just be shot down one more time, at least there is no
guarantee that it will go through. In the meantime, the app is kept out of the App store, which
means that the makers are losing money and time.
So, most people simply choose to upload a revised version. The problem with this is that Google
treats it as a new app. So, you are put through the review process, which as we all know is
hellishly exacting, all over again. Once again, no bets on your app making it through the review
procedure. But, even if it does, you will be competing anew with comparable products and
even the old version of your own app.Yes, they will treat it like a completely new app and not an upgraded version of the original
program; this means that your current users never get told that there is a new version of the
program available. Moral of the story, you are losing money one way or the other. And,
suppose if this app gets stricken down again, you have just one lifeline remaining, so to speak.
Exhaust it and you can say adios to the App store.The ban is permanent and since Google has your financial and contact information, you will
have to do a lot to override it with a new account. This brings us to the all important point of
what you can do to avoid getting your app flagged.What can get your app in trouble with Google?

  1. Keep the user reviews out of your app description
  2. Don’t tell your users to revise their ratings, not directly not indirectly and not through
    any means, email or otherwise. Do not even insinuate this.
  3. Do not include the names of other apps in your app description or in the replies to user
  4. You will be banned for offering incentives for positive reviews
  5. Do not pose as the user for other apps just to insert a link to your app (notice how you
    are on shaky grounds here as a competitor could do the dirty deed and you may just get
    fined for it)
  6. Do not go overboard with your keywords, use irrelevant keywords or false information
    in the description of your app.
  7. Do not include illegal or adult content
  8. Do not pull somebody else’s content unless you have permission
  9. Do not trigger email or sms from inside the app without showing the content of said
    message to the user
  10. No placing bookmarks in the browser
  11. Do not place ads in notifications
  12. Include close buttons on ad walls
  13. Do not place the icon of another app as a shortcut in your app
  14. Do not use deceptive ads to promote your app
  15. Include ad disclosure if you are showings ads in your app
  16. You can only use Google Play’s in-app billing for IAP goods
  17. No plagiarism or copyright infringement
  18. Do not use icons that are system based

But, what if your Google Play developer account is already banned?Appealing will get you nowhere; at the most, you will receive an automated response. There is
a sneaky way to get back inside but if they find out, you will just be banned again. So, be
warned that you are running a risk by using the method outlined below:You cannot create a new developer account by using the same Gmail account. In fact, the way
to go about this is to erase the online and digital footprint of your previous account entirely and
go for a fresh start. For this, you will need:

  1. A new IP address
  2. A new mac address
  3. New apps with no connection whatsoever to the old apps
  4. New financial details
  5. New Paypal ID
  6. New physical address
  7. New credit card

Tread carefully because Google does not take kindly to any attempts that would shake them
down from their lofty pedestal. Once you have the new IP and mac address, register an account
by paying the $25 fee with a new credit card, if you could use one that is not in your name,
even better. Do not use your old admob/adsense account for any app on Google Play. Finally,
use different keystore to sign your apps.Personal Case Study of one of our games getting banned and how we got it back online..Only recently a game of ours was struck down by the Google team. The game was getting about 12000 downloads on an average a day and a decent revenue. We had followed all regulations and were a little taken aback by this sudden termination of the game.In an automated email Google team had mentioned that we were in violation of their advertising policy. Nothing less and nothing more.We checked if all our plugins/ SDKs were at part with Google’s terms and condition and found out that there were no issues at all from our end. What could be the issue? We emailed them back asking as to what exactly was the issue, but as usual we received the same email again.The only thing we thought could be the problem in the game was the cross promo section at the beginning of the game. The thing was that we we had published this game via a company in China ( We tried them once, but now do not use them anymore for various reasons) If anyone wants to know the reasons for the same, you can drop me an email.Anyhow, when you publish with another company, they cross promote their other games on the main screen of the app. How the main screen is presented, could tend to confuse the game player about advertising. I don’t have the screenshot of the screen with me but, here is a diagram of how the main screen looked like.


As you can see from the example above – this could look a little confusing to the end user.So, the best bet we had was to remove this main image and email the Google Team back.We knew that the game was pretty much gone, but we thought why not give it a last try and test out luck.Again, I don’t remember the exact email but it pretty much sounded like begging.


“Always Remember to be polite and understanding during this process. Keeping an EGO would not get you anywhere. Remember, the reviewer is a faceless man who needs to click a button to close down your account. It’s much better you keep yourself in his good books.”“Dear Google Team,
We would like to inform you that we understand the decision to close our game (link), however we would like to assure you that the it was completely unintentional. We never would go against the policy of Google, as we take our work very seriously. We figured out the only reason the game could have gone against the terms of Google could be because of the home screen which could confuse the end user. We would like to inform you that we have changed the APK now, and would like to re-upload the changed project, if you would kindly un-suspend the game. We would be high grateful to you.… and more self ego destroying words were put into this email…”To out surprise, we received an email from the Google team that our game is now live and we should change the APK ASAP. I am pretty sure it was the reviewers Birthday that day…So- the game was back online and it took a while for it to reach the same number of downloads it was getting before the suspension – but atleast it wasnt dead. We also learnt a valuable lesson with this experience that Google is not all deaf ears – and if you beg in the right way – you can get your account unbanned.Just don’t put porn stuff in there – that shit won’t get you anywhere.

Cre: gamegorillaz