Google is apparently in the process of one of its largest Play Store bans ever. A report today details how Google is banning DO Global, generator of over half a billion combined installs, from the Play Store following an ad fraud scheme.
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BuzzFeed News reports that 46 applications from DO Global have been removed from the Google Play Store as well as removing those apps from the AdMob network. Google has not publicly commented on this matter, but a source claims that Google is looking to remove more apps from the developer, as well as banning DO Global entirely.
Before the removals, DO Global’s collection of over 100 apps had amassed over 600 million installs. That makes this one of the largest bans Google has carried out.
Apparently, Google is taking this action due to an ad fraud scheme. Another report from BuzzFeed and Check Point Security detailed that several DO Global apps on the Play Store were using a bit of code that would make the apps click on ads even if the user wasn’t in the app. Further, the apps concealed the fact that they were owned by DO Global by putting privacy policies on Tumblr and using generic developer names. BuzzFeed News further explains:
Google removed those six apps, and claimed its internal systems had also flagged most of them for removal. Another 40 DO apps disappeared from the Play store this week, including 20 using the Do Global Games developer name, and 14 listed under Applecheer Studio. The apps listed different addresses and contact information in the store, making it difficult for the average user to see they were all owned by the same major developer.
…Google previously confirmed to BuzzFeed News that the offending apps violated multiple Play and ad product policies. The malicious nature of the ad fraud code found in its apps likely played a role in Google’s decision to take action against DO as a developer.
Update 4/29: DO Global has officially responded to this report with an official statement. The company explains that it did find some “irregularities” in how some apps handled ads as the result of an internal investigation. The company says that moving forward, it will “strictly follow relevant regulations” and the company also apologized for not communicating in a more timely matter.
Further, ES File Explorer may be one of the biggest names to have been removed in this scandal. Android Police noted the other day that the app was removed from the Play Store, and it’s also prominently featured on the company’s website.
In the past week, we have noticed a series of reports about our apps by the media. We fully understand the seriousness of the allegations. As such, we immediately conducted an internal investigation on this matter. We regret to find irregularities in some of our products’ use of AdMob advertisements. Given this, we fully understand and accept Google’s decision. Moreover, we have actively cooperated with them by doing a thorough examination of every app involved.
We would like to thank the media, our partners, and the public for their support. Moving forward, we will strictly follow relevant regulations and continue conducting a comprehensive review of our products. Lastly, during this process, we have caused misunderstandings and great concern due to our being unable to communicate in a timely manner and provide complete information. We offer our sincere apologies.
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