We all know Google Play Store does not follow a pre-approval process for Apps. However, they actively scan the store and notify developers about any policy violations. In some extreme cases, they suspend the App without any prior warning. While Google has a very elaborate App Policy Center, which lists down all policies & guidelines, it’s not uncommon for developer’s to miss some minor but significant points.
Google updated its content policy on 22nd December* and brought in a few more changes which are quite significant. To make it easy for developers, I am listing down all the major guidelines you must follow to avoid any suspension or termination:
(Note: This is not a comprehensive list, but covers the common mistakes most developers make. Please refer Google App Policy Center here for detailed guidelines)
1. Do not include user’s reviews in your App description*
2. Do not include the name of other apps in your description or in replies to reviews unless it’s in the context*
3. Do not ask user’s to revise their ratings, either directly through replies or any other external means like emails to users*
4. Do not post your app’s link in competitor’s or any other app reviews by posing as a user*
5. You cannot offer any incentive to users for ratings or reviews
6. Do not repeat keywords, use unrelated keywords or provide false information in your app description
7. Do not include any web view to pull someone else’s content without permission inside your App
8. Do not trigger an SMS / email from inside your App without showing the content to the user
9. No sexually explicit or erotic content. Give appropriate rating (Low/Medium/High Maturity) based on your content
10. No ads in notifications
11. Do not place bookmarks in the browser or add another app’s icon as a shortcut through your app
12. All Ad walls should have clearly marked close button.
13. Include ad disclosure in your EULA if you are showing advertisements in your App
14. Don’t promote your apps using deceptive ads (warn your Ad-network partners)
15. Only Google Play’s in-app billing to be used for IAP for virtual goods. 3rd party payments allowed only for physical goods or services used outside of the phone.
16. Android Advertising Identifier — use it only for advertising & data analytics. Do not try to create user’s identity using Advertising ID
17. Avoid copyright infringments, impersonation or any trademark usage in your App, Images or description
18. Do not generate premium SMS from your App
19. Do not use system based icons or any other system based UI impersonation in your App
20. Do not overlay your message/notification over other apps.
I hope this quick list will help you avoid these common mistakes. In case you app is suspended by Google for any reason, you can send an appeal to google through this link https://support.google.com/googleplay/android-developer/contact/accountappeals
To see visual examples, check out my presentation on Slideshare
Deepak Abbot currently heads mobile strategy for Times Internet and has previously worked with Paytm as their marketing head. His core competency lies in product management, mobile growth & data analytics. He is on Twitter at @deepakabbot. This post originally appeared on Medium. Crossposted with permission.