Android developer Patrick Godeau has published an open letter to Google Play and the community around it, addressing his experiences with Google’s app store.
And the experience is about as bad as it gets: the Play Store decided to terminate his developer account for no known reason.
Godeau, whose independent company Tokata had several apps on Google Play with millions of downloads, writes that Google first informed him one of them, Star Words, had exhibited “malicious behavior.” The termination of his developer account followed.
In true Google fashion, he has been unable to learn from the giant what “malicious behavior” meant and what the offense was supposed to be.
It’s not a secret that there’s no support service for Google users – there aren’t any humans on the other end of the line in case there’s a problem – and the company also apparently has little regard for developer relations.
By his account, Godeau has been communicating with robots in his desperate bid to find out what happened to his business on Google Play. And when he attempted to appeal against whatever triggered the automatic messages informing him of the termination, he was unsuccessful.
Godeau explains that coding is both his passion and his livelihood and that Google’s decision is now depriving him of both.
“It seems that I’m not the only one in this situation. Many Android developers have seen their apps removed and their accounts abruptly terminated by the Google Play bots, often for minor and unintentional reasons, or even for no known reason at all, and almost always without any opportunity to prove their good faith, receiving no other response than automatic messages,” he writes.
Godeau also reveals that he picked Android over iOS as the main platform he develops for believing in Google’s image of being friendlier to toward those who create apps for it. That, he found out, was a mistake – because when publishing for other platforms and facing problems, he is able to talk to technical support and resolve issues. Perhaps most importantly – unlike with Google Play – he is able to find out what the problem was, as a first step in resolving it.
Instead, the generic and obviously automated emails Godeau received from Google’s app store merely inform him first that one of his apps was removed for violating malicious behavior rules, and then that his publisher account was terminated. Finally, somebody called “Mike” signed the last email saying his appeal was rejected, offering only this explanation, very short on any useful detail:
“Your Google Play Developer account has been terminated due to multiple violations of the Developer Program Policies. We’ve reviewed and confirmed this association.”