back to article So your Google Play Publisher account has been terminated – of course you would want to know why exactly

Developer Patrick Godeau has claimed his business is under threat after his Google Play Publisher account was terminated without a specific reason given. Godeau, from France, provides apps for iOS and Android via his company Tokata. It is a small business but Godeau said in his complaint that he has achieved "millions of …

  1. Warm Braw Silver badge

    Google therefore has a difficulty

    If Google had found itself in this position by accident, I might have some sympathy. It set itself up as the distribution service for Android apps, made itself the arbiter of worthiness and takes a cut from the sales - it just needs to do it better. Google's usual approach seems to be to half-heartedly get something more or less working and then try to forget about it: perhaps it's time for a change of tactic?

    I don't personally find the Play Store to offer much in the way of curation. I'm undecided about whether it offers much in the way of security - a better permissions model might be more useful, and then they wouldn't have to run the store at all.

    1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      Re: Google therefore has a difficulty

      I can't even work out how to sort search results by rating.

      To say that using the play store to find anything other than what you already know you want is a frustrating experience would be an extreme understatement. Even thinking about it now makes me tense.

    2. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Google therefore has a difficulty

      They seem to ignore a lot of problems (especially legal problems), until the platform that is affected has grown so much that it isn't economical, using the current business model, to rectify the problems properly.

      Instead of solving the known problems from the get-go, or when they first appear and then scaling up the resulting system, they ostrich it until it is too late and then have to come up with a half-baked solution to try and correct the problem, without adversely affecting their revenues.

      If they did things properly in the first place, the revenues would be lower or the costs for users/developers higher, but they wouldn't be stuck between a rock and hard place, having to decide whether to suddenly charge more or only do half a job, to remain within budget.

      1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

        Re: Google therefore has a difficulty

        See also: Steam

  2. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
    Devil

    Dancing with the devil

    It does seem reasonable that, when action is taken against someone, they are provided with details of exactly what they did wrong.

    But Google is a law unto itself and accountable to no one.

    I do have some sympathy but, if one is going to climb into bed with someone you know may turn on you, you have to expect them to do so, have to suck it up when they do.

    1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds

      Re: Dancing with the devil

      If you want to stop people gaming the system, telling them the rules isn't a good plan. Guy in this story freely admits to trying to push things to the limits; that's why they banned him.

      Really, it's not difficult: Don't take the piss.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Dave - Re: Dancing with the devil

        How would you like to be convicted for the simple reason you acted against the law, without being told what exactly your crime was or what is that specific law that triggered the conviction ? And how would you like the criminal law being kept secret because it might give clues to criminals ?

        You could certainly do better than come up with this simplistic view on rules and regulations.

      2. Just Enough
        Headmaster

        Re: Dancing with the devil

        Dave314159ggggdffsdds, I've reported your post for a reason that I will not reveal to you, but you've broken a rule.

        To be fair, I've only just made up the rule. But I'm working on the basis that if you aren't allowed to know what it is, it doesn't matter if it didn't exist before. Because you wouldn't know anyway.

        Just do not do it again, or there will be consequences.

      3. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: Dancing with the devil

        "If you want to stop people gaming the system, telling them the rules isn't a good plan."

        If you want people not to violate your rules, telling them the rules means they know what they're not allowed to do. If you don't tell people the rules, but you still have rules, you're just a dictator. It's Google's platform, so they have a right to be a dictator if they want, but that doesn't mean we have to like or accept it.

        "Guy in this story freely admits to trying to push things to the limits; that's why they banned him."

        Did he? I don't remember that from the article. I remember that he did something unusual which was not strictly banned but caused some concern, then he dealt with that in a professional manner. Then, he tried to figure out what the problem was with another app but couldn't on his own and Google wouldn't say. Maybe he did in fact do something that warrants the account closure, but neither he nor I nor you have an idea what it was.

    2. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Dancing with the devil

      At a previous employer, we got DOSed by a Google owned IP address. (Probably a misconfigured Google server/cloud instance sending data to the wrong IP address, but they were stuffing over 100mbps down our 10mbps line.)

      Contacting them was a nightmare. No, it was impossible. Ring and you land in a telephone system that just tells you to go look at the relevant section of their website and then cuts you off - but only after you've been bounced around for 10 minutes between menus.

      The problem is, I couldn't find a page on Google.com about abuse or being DOSed by Google. Googling also didn't bring up any results.

      I then tried emailing their postmaster@ and abuse@ addresses, which just got the reply that they get so many emails that they don't even bother to process them, they are just ignored.

      I then turned to Twitter, but their corporate account didn't reply either.

      In the end, we had to pay our ISP for DOS protection from the Google IP address. Luckily we were in the process of switching to a new provider with a faster line, so we just accelerated the switch-over and disconnected the old line.

      1. Cederic Bronze badge

        Re: Dancing with the devil

        Call the police, lodge a formal complaint about a breach of the Computer Misuse Act and let them find the right person at Google on your behalf.

        That and/or write to Google's UK head office with a specific threat to take legal action, including but not limited to seeking damages and shutting down any and all Google systems in the UK until the attack on your company ends.

        1. DavCrav Silver badge

          Re: Dancing with the devil

          "Call the police, lodge a formal complaint about a breach of the Computer Misuse Act and let them find the right person at Google on your behalf."

          Ah, you want to police to investigate crimes? They are too busy on their social media accounts at the moment investigate irate Twitter posts to deal with actual real crimes.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dancing with the devil

      When will people understand that the likes of Google, Amazon, Fartbook, Apple, Instagram etc are GOD.

      They can do whatever they want to your account(s) and there really is SFA that you can do about it.

      There was a case mentioned on BBC Radio 5's 'Wake up to Money" only today.

      Someone was running their business via Instagram. Suddenly, poof, the whole thong had gone and Instagram refuse to say why 'due to reasons of privacy'.

      It really is time that people woke up and realised that you are mere pawns in these companies thirst for money, money, data and more money.

      1. big_D Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: Dancing with the devil

        If the thong was gone, I would imagine it breached their decency clause.

        1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

          Re: Dancing with the devil

          If the thong was gone, I would imagine it breached their decency clause.

          If it had been *my* thong, it definitely would have...

          1. fidodogbreath Silver badge

            Re: Dancing with the devil

            TMI

  3. JimmyPage Silver badge
    Stop

    Is this the same Play Store

    that quite happily flung "apps" that were just links to webpages ?

    Or a different one ?

  4. SonofRojBlake

    "The imbalance of power between a tech giant like Google and individuals or small companies that depend on it for their business means there is a case for"...

    ... not depending on a tech giant like Google for your business.

    Fixed it for you.

    Google don't owe this guy a living.

    1. DavCrav Silver badge

      "Google don't owe this guy a living."

      So if I build a shopping centre, a bunch of people pay me for the office space, and then I barricade the entrance, they should just accept their investment is gone?

      1. aelfric

        Bad analogy alert! Anyone renting office space would have a contract in place which would offer redress through the legal system if the terms of that contract were breached by eg denying access. Google gave him free office space at their discretion while charging him a percentage of what he sold. Google have now withdrawn that free office space.

        Building a business that is at risk due to arbitrary actions from another party without contractual protection is always going to be a gamble. He gambled. He lost.

      2. SonofRojBlake

        If I spend literally billions building a shopping centre with many attractive features that gets the punters in, then let you open a shop there FOR FREE, and don't enter into a contract with you... would you open a shop on those terms? There's a big benefit to you (no rent) but there's a big risk, too - I might decide to close your shop or the whole centre without notice.

        My business model is USING your shop to drag punters past the ads on all the walls, which is where I'm making my real money. You're not a customer of mine, you're a tool I'm using.

  5. iron Silver badge

    I've read a number of similar accounts recently and they all claim to have done nothing wrong but I'm not convinced. "Dynamic bytecode loading from a local app resource" that triggered AV warnings sounds dodgy to me and is going to look very dodgy to Google's automated scanners. Every similar report I've read has included questionable behaviour either from the app or the dev. The biggest problem really is the lack of a support rep you can contact to resolve possible false positives.

    Another thing I've seen reported a lot recently is people claiming newly published apps and updates are now taking 3 days to go live. I can't comment on newly published apps but none of my updates this month have taken more than 3 hours. Again I suspect the people experiencing 3 days have been pushing the boundaries of what is allowed so have a bad rep with Play.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Updates can be slow

      A while ago there was a long delay (about 12 hours) with an update to a popular, widely used app being made live on the play store that was from a well known large software company (the corresponding update of the Apple app went through smoothly) - new point release with various new features.

      .BTW I am not employed by / associated with, said company, just occasionally use the app and amusingly read the online howls of outrage from users unable to get the update (app was a game and the update introduced a lot of new features ) and so losing half a day to Apple users (irrelevant in the long term, but the avid gamers were chomping at the bit to make use of the new features & very unhappy to fall behind opponents, albeit temporarily)

    2. doublelayer Silver badge

      When Google places its play store in a position where it controls a lot of the Android app market, it becomes difficult not to rely on them for your business if your business is writing apps that run on Android. The same is true of Apple. Just because you can sideload apps on an Android device doesn't mean that is generally accepted--Google has managed to make it such that almost all users never do that and have put some scary security warning screens in to dissuade users. Admittedly, what the screens say is true, but they've still gone to lengths to promote the play store. As such, although they have a right to be terrible to developers whenever they feel like it, I feel justified in having a problem with their choice to do so. This guy may deserve to have the account closed, although I don't currently know why, but I think Google should tell him their reasoning. Given that it's almost certainly an automatic account closing process, the program must know the reasoning

      1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

        I'd go further ...

        Such is the position with Android and Playstore, if you want to sell apps that run on Android, then you have to have them on Google's store. Sure it's possible to use others, but I bet 99%+ of your potential users won't find it there.

        1. Handle123456

          Well as I have a Honor, I've also got some Huawei AppGallery. Not sure how much that's used outside of China.

  6. HmYiss

    Pot kettle black.

    Judging by Google's own apps, the dev was probably guilty of not making them ignore user preferences enough, or not not pushing enough ropey garbage ads.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This has got to be Fake News!

    We all know Google never removes a dodgy app from the Play Store unless they get a ton of negative press.

    And even then, Google allows the developer and their dodgy apps back on the store after (at least temporarily) removing the offending code from the app.

    If I was a betting man I would say this dev's account was more likely pulled for his political views than anything to do with his app.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Register has asked Google for comment on Godeau's case.

    and are still waiting...

    ...

    and waiting

    That said, they ignore entities like the beeb and such, so I don't expect anything else than, well, nothing. Alternatively, a bot-response copied from a random part of a random page of random Ts&Ts.

    1. Steve Aubrey
      Joke

      Re: The Register has asked Google for comment on Godeau's case.

      And the El Reg journos, after getting Google's response, will anticipate hearing from the original complainant.

      That's right, they will be waiting for Godeau.

      1. TimMaher Bronze badge
        Pint

        Re: The Register has asked Google for comment on Godeau's case.

        That is just too good.

        How many beers for a Monday?

  9. John70

    Malicious Behaviour

    suspended for what the Play team said is "malicious behaviour"

    99.999999% of Google Play Apps should be removed for "malicious behaviour" for wanting access to stuff that has nothing to do with the app's function.

  10. Claptrap314 Silver badge

    Never developed for IThings, PlayStores, Kindles.

    This is why.

    When you are entirely dependent on the good graces of a single distributor, you are, at best, a commodity.

  11. DougS Silver badge
    Terminator

    So the choice is between

    Apple having humans arbitrarily blocking apps and not telling you why, and Google having robots arbitrarily blocking apps and not telling you why?

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Nah

      Google use the souls of the damned, and Apple examine the entrails of a randomly-selected Mac user.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Nah

        Obligatory SMBC: http://www.smbc-comics.com/comic/google

  12. fidodogbreath Silver badge

    Don't call us, we won't call you

    His frustration is that he has not been told any specifics about what is wrong with his apps, and that there is no meaningful dialogue with the Play team

    Google doesn't give a shit about individual developers. Knock one down, another steps up to take his or her place.

    Ditto for customers, in some ways. Need help with a Google product? Read the FAQs and figure it out your own damn self. Account problem? Fill in a contact form, maybe you'll get a reply. Don't like it? Go buy an iPhone.

    Philosophically, Google would much rather pay devs to create an impenetrable customer-contact firewall than customer-service reps to respond to meatbags. We are a resource to be mined for data, nothing more.

  13. jelabarre59 Silver badge

    cranial-rectal

    In order for Google to hear complaints/questions/suggestions, or give responses to said complaints/questions/suggestions, they would first have to remove their collective head from their collective bumhole.

  14. Muscleguy Silver badge

    Hmmmm

    Whereas whenever I look at the the Mac App Store it seems very light on a lot of stuff and sometimes I get a sense of blowing tumbleweed. Whereas the Google Play store has too much stuff and it is too hard and takes too long to compare stuff and choose so often you don't bother.

    Somewhere in the middle would seem ideal but how to get there . . .

    Also if an app is constantly calling the developers for an API in order for basic functions to work that is going to hit people's data usage and not everybody can afford that so while I sympathise with the lack of detailed feedback some self reflection from Godeau would also seem to be in order. It suggests poor coding which don't exactly give a sense of wanting to look the guy's apps up to me.

  15. IGotOut

    This is difficult...

    I mean how could a company with only a few hundred billion dollars make it easier to resolve issues like this.

    It not like they could employ a few thousand people extra to work in a area once known as "Customer Service". Far better to employ bots that can't deal with anything more complex than a password reset.

  16. tempemeaty
    Big Brother

    Google Alphabet Youtube is Big Brother. That's all.

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      I have to admit that I also thought of this passage:

      "He [a citizen of Oceania] has no freedom of choice in any direction whatever. On the other hand, his actions are not regulated by law or by any clearly formulated code of behavior. In Oceania there is no law. Thoughts and actions which, when detected, mean certain death are not formally forbidden, and the endless purges, arrests, tortures, imprisonments, and vaporizations are not inflicted as punishment for crimes which have actually been committed, but are merely the wiping-out of persons who might perhaps commit a crime at some time in the future."

      It's not directly applicable, but it did come to mind. Do you think I've read this book too many times?

      1. Handle123456

        It's not you reading it too many times I'm concerned about. It's all those that take it as a manual.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's not different to YouTube

    Not directly related but YouTube has absolutely the same issues, hopefully FairTube Campaign can change Google's attitude at least in Europe. Less than three days left until their ultimatum's deadline.

  18. Giovani Tapini Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Another angle on this

    is the many apps that claim to be games, in some cases even advertised on YouTube, and are basically skins on a data harvesting, ad flinging, micropayment ingesting pile of limited actual content... crud. In a lot of instances the app doesn't or cant do what the advertising infers either. There should be some curation, not just to protect developers from what is likely to be an automated strike which may well point to a malicious ad, rather then malicious app... but also so that apps that blatantly cannot do as they advertise should get strikes too...

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is there a way of making a legal challenge?

    Some years ago I closed down a clients internet & domain name services so no email, no web, for non-payment of their invoice despite having sent a sequence of invoice>reminder>overdue>disconnection communications at 4 week intervals with no response.

    As expected disconnection did garner a response but not "OK here's what we owe" but some legalistic waffle. I don't recall the exact terminology, something like "restraint of trade" claiming that disconnection was an illegal action in response to late payment because it was preventing customers from engaging with the business. Isn't that what Google are doing?

    I don't know how valid that legal challenge was, the next time I had a similar problem I commenced a county court action with gratifying results, at the end of the process they paid nearly double the original invoice with interest, court fees, baliff fees, and the admin cost to my business of pursuing the matter.

    1. MJB7 Bronze badge

      Re: Is there a way of making a legal challenge?

      County court action is the right approach for non-payment of bills. Courts are generally not keen on "self-help" actions. Not delivering services that haven't been paid for is OK, but telling someone else to not deliver services because you haven't been paid probably isn't. The right sequence is invoice > letter before action > claim.

      1. Handle123456

        Re: Is there a way of making a legal challenge?

        Well if I read it right "Not delivering services that haven't been paid for" is exactly what was done.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not just Google

    I had a rather bruising meeting with a social worker recently where I was told an allegation had been made, it had been investigated and found to be substantiated and the Disclosure and Barring Service had been informed, and this was the first I had heard of it. Some people don't seem to think that the first principle of natural law applies to them.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019