Google Bans Program - Devs Suffer With No Redress
Written by Mike James   
Wednesday, 28 April 2021

This is a story I grow tired of writing, but until something changes I have no option but than continue to report it. No matter what you think of the app stores, their monopolies are bad for business.


It is one thing when an app store bans an app, but when they ban an app that is part of the development environment they hurt more than the devs responsible for the app. This has happened before, but the latest incident seems particularly bad. DroidScript is a way of running JavaScript in Android and a post to the DroidScript group starts:

"Yes, it's true, this is no joke!

The Google Play system has declared DroidScript is Malware and accused us of committing Ad Fraud!  Needless to say, we are extremely upset and totally flabbergasted at this shocking allegation."

If you read on you will find the usual story of Google banning some software and then not revealing what the reason is in enough detail for the developers to mount a defence. In other words the devs are deemed to be guilty as charged without the charge even being revealed. This is something Kafka couldn't have imagined as part of his hidden malevolent bureaucracy.

How is this allowed to happen? Simple answer because it can be and because we tolerate monopolies and absolute power from both Apple and Google. This is, as I have said many times before, an issue not of the percentage of revenue that the companies take, but the total right to rule without any reasonable due process of justice.

The company has only been told that it is something odd with invalid traffic and advertising. Well you can see that Google would be 100% concerned with this issue as advertising is its lifeblood but what they say next is unacceptable:

"We understand that you may want to know more about the issues that we’ve detected. Because this information could be used to circumvent our proprietary detection system, we’re unable to provide our publishers with information about specific account activity."

This would be funny if it wasn't serious. Google is allowed to accuse and then not give information on the accusation because it might reveal some information that might damage Google. What about the damage to DroidScript and its users?

"This is going to affect a lot of people, DroidScript has a user base of over 100,000 people world wide and is used as a learning tool for many teachers, students and hobbyists as well as professional coders."

After appealing they got a response in around 10 minutes which rejected the appeal:

"Thank you for your appeal. We appreciate your continued interest in our programme. However, after taking into consideration the information that you have provided, we have confirmed that we are unable to reinstate your publisher account."

Given the timing, there doesn't even seem to be a human in the loop.

This is unacceptable.

What can we do?

Well the noise that is being made at the moment will probably, but not assuredly, reinstate DroidScript. This is usually what happens in these cases, but this doesn't make it right because it will happen again and we cannot rely on justice by public outcry.

All we can really do is always remember that whenever you trust your business to Google (or Apple) that the plug can be pulled with little effective right of appeal. So, I say, don't rely on Google for anything unless you have a get-out plan. In addition, I would urge you to support any moves to break up the monopoly that Google and Apple have over our livelihoods even if you think that the overall concept of an app store is a good one that mostly benefits programmers and users.

There is no need for Google or Apple to have such power.


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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 28 April 2021 )