Add a physical contact address demands Google
Looking at the developer console this morning, I discovered that Google is now going to require developers provide Google Play users with a “physical address” to allow them to contact us.
Add a physical contact address Beginning September 30, 2014, you need to add a physical address to your Settings page. After you’ve added an address, it will be available on your app’s detail page to all users on Google Play. If your physical address changes, make sure to update your information on your Settings page.
If you have paid apps or apps with in-app purchases, it’s mandatory to provide a physical address where you can be contacted, as you are the seller of that content, to comply with consumer protection laws. If you don’t provide a physical address on your account, it may result in your apps being removed from the Play Store.
Thank you Google for not sending me an email with only 8 days till it comes into effect.
Many smaller and indie developers like myself may be working out of our homes. This means that we are going to have to put our home addresses where it is easily accessible for anyone browsing Google Play.
Google claim that it’s required by “consumer protection laws”. Which laws are they referring to specifically?
Regardless, the claims are simply not true. “all users on Google Play” are not our customers. Casual browsers have not purchased anything from us. Let Larry Page provide them his home address. They’re his users.
It’s not clear whether a post box would count as a physical contact address. We won’t know if it’s allowed until apps start getting removed. Even so, why should we have to pay for a 3rd party to protect us from Google publishing our home addresses online?
Google has been touting user privacy of late. This is a serious breach of developer privacy and could make us easy targets for trolls, spammers, scammers and others. We are Google users too.
As usual, without personal friends at Google, there’s no way for developers to contact Google about how stupid this is. We’ve been given till the 30th of September to comply or our apps will be pulled from the market.
I really am getting tired of Google’s behaviour. They continue to treat app developers like garbage. We have no support, no way of contacting them, and have to suffer every stupid little butt-covering exercise their legal department cooks up.
I have to wonder how much longer this can go on. According to statistics I’ve seen (which are entirely believable), over 96% of app developers lose money and the vast majority of profits end up the pockets of the app stores themselves. It certainly seems that the only people that make a profit are the big developers who dominate the app store front pages and the spammers that do nothing but clone apps.