Google scans unpublished apps? Advertising ID policy violation!
Some months ago I received an Advertising ID policy violation for an old app that I had no intention of updating. To avoid being punished by Google, I immediately unpublished the offending app, and also unpublished a second app that could potentially trigger the same violation. Both apps received few downloads and I had no plans to ever re-activate them.
Imagine my surprise when I received a second Advertising ID policy violation today, on one of the unpublished apps.
So, Google is scanning unpublished apps? Why? Nobody can download them!
One of these two apps can’t be fixed because it’s old Shiva code and I can’t run the compiler anymore. Besides that, it would be a waste of time to fix an app that has no future.
Google doesn’t let developers delete apps and they apparently won’t ignore apps that are unpublished. How am I supposed to resolve this?
Ironically, the punishment for not being able to remove the app is to have the app removed automatically. Awesome!
- Policy ViolationWe have determined that your app uses a library or SDK (com.revmob.client) that is in violation of the Developer Programme Policy. Please note that beginning 1 Aug 2014 the Developer Programme Policy requires all updates and new apps uploaded to be compliant with the advertising ID provision of the Developer Programme Policy. Apps in violation may be subject to permanent removal from the Store. Learn more.
On second thoughts, perhaps it’s not such a good idea to let Google do it. Developers often report their entire account is banned after three individual apps are removed. An account ban is for the life of the person who registered the account.
Foolishly, I tried to contact Google for clarification. As usual, I ended up running a maze with no exit. No matter which option I chose on “Help Centre”, the system kept pushing me to the Android developer site, a wasteland with no sign of human contact.
The only solution that I could come up with is to build a blank app that contains nothing so that it cannot re-trigger the Advertising ID policy violation, or any future violations that Google might dream up…
If anyone at Google does look at the app, it displays a warning that it only exists because Google demanded it. Hopefully there’s no secret violation for having an unpublished blank app that contains no content!
I’ve previously heard rumours that Google has banned developers for uploading placeholder graphics for unpublished apps that contains someone else’s IP. At the time I thought it sounded a bit fishy – perhaps the developer had published the app with the placeholder graphics accidentally? After having google flag my unpublished app, it now seems quite plausible. Could something as innocent as different app’s description as a placeholder while working on a new app result in a ban?