Will Verduzco · Sep 27, 2013 at 07:30 pm

Google Bans Spammy Ads from Play Store

If you’re a developer who writes mobile apps for a living, chances are that you’ve at least experimented with mobile ads in the past. Far more true than on other competing platforms, the Android app developer ecosystem is essentially driven by in-app advertisements rather than upfront payments.

This is a topic we broached some time ago, when we presented a thread with various developers’ experiences with different monetization strategies. Long story short: Ads and in-app purchases seem to be far more powerful tools in your monetization arsenal than upfront paid apps.

This should all come as no surprise for a variety of reasons. One of the main driving forces for this primarily ad-based monetization is that most Android users have come to expect free functionality thanks to Google’s extremely comprehensive ad-supported services. Starting with class leading search, the company has continued to offer some of the best solutions for maps, email, calendar hosting, translation, note keeping, and much more. Most of the company’s services are offered for free to end users, at the expense of mobile ads. So when your core operating system’s provider has built an empire based on “free,” why would you want to part ways with your hard earned cash for some cell phone fart app that you probably won’t use in a month?

While ads may seem like a sort of saving grace to developers in the face of a community that refuses to pay for apps and services, ad-based monetization isn’t always a perfect solution. We’ve talked about some of the problems when ad providers go too far, and the impact this has on the applications’ users. Aggressive advertising that breaks an end user’s trust is unethical. And aside from the questionable ethics, it’s simply not sustainable as a means of monetization. This is because users will simply lose trust for a developer that uses these types of ad networks.

However, the problem with certain implementations of ad-based monetization goes beyond simply shady ad networks. Certain applications, perhaps even ones that you’ve tried and promptly uninstalled, place annoying and intrusive advertisements in your notification bar or ad-based shortcuts on your home screen. This is simply unacceptable from an end-user perspective. Thankfully, Google is now putting an end to these practices.

According to VentureBeat, Google has made two very important changes to the Google Play Developer Program Policies. Thanks to the changes, applications can no longer place advertisements in the notification bar, and they can no longer create ad-based shortcuts on your launcher. Developers with offending applications now have 30 days to update their apps. Beyond that time, applications found to be in violation will likely be removed from the Play Store.

If you’re a developer who currently uses these types of advertisements, your initial reaction may be one of anger towards the new policy change. However, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing for you—even if you have to rethink your monetization strategies. In fact, we think it’s more than likely a win-win scenario for both end users and developers. End users feel more confident in your applications, and application developers likely acquire more users.

Are you a developer who relies on ad-based monetization? Are you an end user who has experienced these aggressive advertisements in the past? Let us know what you think of these policy changes in the comments section below!

[Thanks to XDA News Writer Samantha for the tip!]


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Will Verduzco

willverduzco is an editor on XDA-Developers, the largest community for Android users. Will Verduzco is the Portal Administrator for the XDA-Developers Portal. He has been addicted to mobile technology since the HTC Wizard. But starting with the Nexus One, his gadget love affair shifted to Google's little green robot. He is also a Johns Hopkins University graduate in neuroscience and is now currently studying to become a physician. View willverduzco's posts and articles here.
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