A small software business in the United Kingdom has complained about Google's "mysteriously Orwellian" treatment after its products were suddenly suspended and then banned from the Play Store, with no significant discussion possible.
Pocketwood Ltd had three applications in the store, under the MyAV brand, all of which are controllers for domestic AV configurations. One of the applications is for Sony TVs, one for Samsung and the other a universal remote control. They are subscription applications that, according to managing director Kingsley Smith, accumulated "many thousands" of subscribers, which were available for more than five years.
The bad news arrived early on October 3, in the form of three emails that suspended each application. . The developer appealed and later that day he was told: "After the review, we have confirmed our initial decision and we will not reset your application at this time. Repetitive content violates our spam policy and is prohibited on Google Play."  The theme of "repetitive content" is understandable since all three applications have a similar function, but are adjusted for different brands to simplify the configuration. "Each application uses a different discovery mechanism," explained the developer.
Smith tried to explain this to Google, but was rewarded with a response similar to a bot: "In our previous email, I made sure to include all the information available to me."
A little over an hour later, he was also informed that: "Your Google Play Publisher account has been canceled, do not attempt to register a new developer account. We will not be restoring your account at this time."
All this happened over the course of a day. "We remain in the situation of not being able to sell our application, and without any mechanism to offer support and continuous updates to our existing customers," said the applications website. "They also owe us thousands of pounds from Google for sales last September.
" Of course, we have tried to contact Google, but there is no number to call their UK offices to communicate with a real person, and Receive emails only seemingly automated responses from & # 39; computer says & # 39 ;. We are a small British company that faces a monolithic and faceless Goliath. "
The developer added:" The email informing us that we had been banned also threatened to block other Google services such as Gmail, "a situation that He says he feels "mysteriously" Orwellian. "
The Reg should emphasize that we have not heard the Google side of the story, so it is possible that the company has valid reasons for its ban. However, one observation is that trying to get comments from Google about similar past cases has not been successful, and that developer accounts are sometimes mysteriously restored after a public discussion, sometimes in these sacred pages. The questions raised by the developer seem reasonable.
Google's problem is that it has no end of malicious, bad behavior or spam and unpleasant applications are constantly sent to your store. Automatic detection of these is inevitable, and you can understand their reluctance to enter into detailed discussions with sometime. and developer discontent.
Similarly, in the case of a well-established (albeit small) developer who has earned some money for both them and Google over the years, one would think that a meaningful dialogue would be possible. The impact of a ban on Smith and the two people he employs part-time in Sheffield and Coventry is enormous. Now he is considering a trip to London to knock on the door of Google's office.
Do you sell your applications elsewhere? "Unfortunately, there is currently no other viable way to sell Android applications. Google Play is the default store preinstalled on all devices, and trying to download an application from another location triggers a security warning," said Smith. ®
What follows after Netezza?