If you are an Adromo developer chances are you’ve already heard about the recent changes to the Google Play Developer Program Policies. If not you really should give them a read as you have until September 22 2013 to update the apps you have on Google Play and ensure that they comply with the new policy. The time limit only applies to existing apps, as all apps that you upload after August 21st 2013 must already comply with the new developer policies.
Some of the changes in the new policy are quite significant so I wanted highlight a few to help Andromo developers comply with the changes. But before I do, it is important to remember that you can create Android apps using Andromo that are 100% compatible with Google’s new policy. Of course you can violate their policy if you want (not smart) but there is nothing in Andromo that will violate Google’s policy changes on its own.
The biggest changes (and the ones that seems to be noticed most amongst Android developers) to the developer policy are the changes to Google’s Ad policies. Only one of the changes has a direct impact on Andromo developers (given the Ad networks we have so far chosen to add to Andromo) and that change is the banning of push notification ads:
Notification ads are prohibited—Your app should not create system-level notifications containing ads unless the notifications are part of the explicit feature set of the app.
This change applies to Andromo users who have taken to using AirBop to deliver notification ads to their users. While this was allowed (but frowned upon) before the policy changes, it is no longer permitted.
AirBop still complies with Google’s new Developer Policy, it is only using AirBop to send ads to your users that would violate. Unless, as the policy states, “the notifications are part of the explicit feature set of the app.”
In the past Google has made it known that both “keyword stuffing” and impersonating other apps or brands was against the rules, but they have updated their Spam policies and made them much more explicit. Two main points to watch out for are:
Repetitive keywords: Your app description should not include keywords that are repetitive or excessive. Unrelated keywords or references: The description should not be loaded with irrelevant keywords in an attempt to manipulate ranking or relevancy in Google Play search results. Excessive detail, references to your other apps: Your app description should avoid excessive detail and references to your other apps or products.
Apps published on Google Play should provide their own content. Do not publish an app whose primary function is to reproduce or frame someone else’s website (unless you have permission). …do not publish an app whose primary function is to drive affiliate traffic to a website.
The example on the Google Developer page highlights something I have seen some Andromo developers do that is no longer acceptable:
This app lets you access Turtoogle Game on your Android device in the same way as you access the game on your desktop computer, and with all the same Turtoogle Game features.
The intellectual property section of the Google Policies is quite complex and I recommend that you read it in full before publishing to Google Play and before the September 22nd deadline.
Be sure to read the following three main sections:
The moral of the story for Andromo developers is to play it safe; there is no reason to be banned by Google. Don’t be caught unaware by the new policy changes: update you existing apps and ensure that all of your new apps comply with the new policy. If you do this you’ll be an Android developer publishing to the Google Play app store for years to come.