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30 Aug – Google- Don’t be Evil

Who are we?

Craterzone is a product and service based company from India. We are associated with more than 100 social, user generated content and customized solutions for Android, Blackberry and IOS. Few of our developers have worked with companies such as Blackberry, HTC and other OEMs and have graduated from top US universities.

What happened?

We posted an application called Phone Pinup to the Google Play store. Phone Pinup is a sharing platform where you can know/share the Social ID (BBM, WeChat, Line) of your phone book contacts.

That was a huge success so we thought to replicate this model and launched an app for FIFA 2014 called FIFA Event Manager. This app was a social platform where you could discuss matches, teams and players and root for your team . It was an instant hit and we were getting more than 5000 downloads per day during initial launch. Now our Google play account,  Google Wallet and Google AdMob accounts have been banned, which means that Craterzone can no longer post Android apps for life.

First suspension email

After a couple of weeks of FIFA Event Manager launch, we received a suspension email regarding IP Infringement. I had no intention to infringe anyone’s work, that’s why we sent an email to Google so that i can understand what i am doing wrong  (icon, name, logo) .. As experienced by others, Google didn’t revert to our email so we thought to rename the app and put the app back on App Store as “Event Manger for FIFA” as our patrons loved the app.

Second suspension email

In next few hours, second app also got suspended and this time we thought may be FIFA doesn’t like us to mention their name in our app name so we put a new app called Event Manager – World cup 2014

Banned for life

Next morning we received a “banned for life” email from Google stating, We are not allowed to publish any app and which affects not only this account but also the Craterzone as an entity. However, the silver lining in the dark cloud was the fact that we could appeal against the Google decision. We filed for an appeal and immediately received an email within 5 minutes stating that Google after due considerations is not reinstating our accounts.

In our opinion, banning someone for lifetime is pretty harsh without even allowing the user a genuine chance to present his case.  We as a company not only lost our accounts but more than 30 devs and their families also were affected by this barbarian rule of Google.

Another Google policy that just doesn’t make any sense is the fact that if any developer account gets 3 suspensions their account gets banned and can never be reinstated. Seriously 3! We had more than 15 apps and as a human , we are susceptible to make mistakes and only 3 strikes is pretty harsh.

What did we do next?

We called few clients (devs, project managers) from Google, Facebook and they all assured us that they can help us connect to the right people. We were on cloud nine and thought that finally there is somebody in Google who is wiling to lend his/her ear. We sent our apology (mentioned below) and are still waiting for response.

Fears with publishing app on Android app store.

You never know when your account will be banned; no explanation , no reasoning. Your life is literally in hands of a company whose motto is “Don’t be Evil” but is handling its developer community otherwise.

To make it worse, there are no Developer Relation Managers to whom the developer community could talk to in times of such matters.

Our Opinion: Why Google has lot of mediocre apps?

There is lot of marketing hype that play store is full of mediocre and useless apps that doesn’t work .If one ponders on it, it does completely makes sense. Its very difficult to find an app that works and if it does, it has a performance issue and hogs the battery. The main reason of the mediocrity is that its humanly not possibly to review all the apps and hence we have a “Bot” that decides to flag apps and hence an automated banned for life sword hanging on the developer community.

Conclusion

Craterzone is successfully running services department and making more $$$ than ever. We now recommend Non-Google products to our clients. Not only because we don’t like their “Be Evil” attitude but we don’t want our clients to be under constant fear of banning all Google services once their Google account gets 3 strikes. Its not that Google rules the internet world, There are many other companies that are doing good work but its Google cloud and single account management that made us choose Google over others. But in reality , this in fact is a troubling fact as Google can stop your internet life by disabling your Google account and all accounts lined with that.

Things you should do to avoid account termination (Few we know of, few Google never explained)

  • If an account receives 2 app bans, discontinue use of it permanently. You could be safe rather than sorry.
  • Impersonation or Deceptive Behavior : Never use anyone’s else name in front of an app. For example App should be named as Phone Pinup for BBM not BBM Phone Pinup.
  • No Intellectual Property
  • Never open anyone else web URL in your app without their consent.
  • New Admob account – different than developer account.
  • No Pornographic or sexual explicit content.
  • Don’t use excessive keywords , Always add disclaimers.
  • No Sexually Explicit Material
  • No Violence and Bullying
  • No Hate Speech
  • Don’t publish anyone’s Personal and Confidential Information

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