Is Google letting popular apps break Google Play rules?

Also in today's open source roundup: Transmission 2.9 has been released, and is Microsoft neglecting Linux users of Skype?

Is Google letting popular apps break Google Play rules?
Credit: jbtaylor

Is Google letting popular apps break Google Play developer policies?

Some apps in the Google Play store may be getting a bit more leeway from Google than others. One redditor recently focused on the popular app SongFlip and wondered why it was being allowed to stay in the Google Play store.

Soundcloud musician asked his question in a thread on the Android subreddit:

There are a few very popular apps in the Google Play Store which are blatantly breaking many Google Play rules (developer policies). Why is Google refusing to remove them and ignoring all reports against them? I believe something sinister is going on involving former Google employees.

For example, check out SongFlip (, which has quickly become the #16 Overall App in the USA (and a top app in many other countries), meaning it is easily making over $30,000 per day from ad revenue and is getting about the same number of daily downloads as Spotify (#14 Overall). SongFlip is blatantly breaking many Google Play rules and violating copyrights...

My question is why is Google allowing some very popular apps like SongFlip to break so many rules? Could it be the case that the SongFlip creator, who is a former Google employee, is using contacts within Google to prevent it from being taken down despite so many violations? We can only speculate...

By mysteriously allowing it to continue breaking rules and violate intellectual property and ignoring all reports against the app, Google has allowed it to quickly become the #16 Overall app in the USA, which means it is making over $30,000 per day in ad revenue and is as popular as Spotify (#14 Overall app).

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His fellow redditors shared their thoughts about why Google might be letting some developers get away with more than others:

Tetsuo666: "I think it's a bit too early to say that Google is voluntarily letting this app survive on the PlayStore.

For me Google is pretty notorious for buying/creating services that generates a ton of user generated content (Youtube, PlayStore, Photos, G+). The thing is none of these services uses proper moderators to control the content. It's pretty much entirely handled by a hord of bots more or less accurate when aiming their targets.

Chances are this developper just got really good at avoiding the algorithm controlling those bots. Eventually one of the two humans at Google's moderating/abuse team should see the issue and act on it."

Atb1183: "...raising the entry fee to posting an app won't help either since he's raking in $$$. Two options exist:

1) walled garden like apple 2) heuristic scanning of apps upon submission

2 is probably what they should do already anyway to cut back malware (not just virus but crappy behaviors as well)."

QuestionsEverythang: "I wonder if he's also opening a new bank account to link his Google Merchant account to (to collect his funds) or if he's using his same bank account and Google, with all their bots, are unable to see that all these malicious accounts are linked to the same bank account. "

Flirpcannon: "Google let a...malware app hit the top 5 list before they intervened. That should sum up their oversight pretty nicely."

MyRealUser: "For the same reason eBay is allowing many big sellers blatantly violate many of their rules (misleading titles, keywords spam, listing multiple different items under the same listing to show up as cheapest, etc). They make lots of money off these shady practices."

LongUsername: "You're a soundcloud musician so I assume this app is violating your copyright under #3. Have you looked at sending Google a DMCA request against the App? I'm not sure exactly if it would work as the app itself as hosted by google isn't a copyright violation, but a facilitator of copyright violation.

The other option is that you have the name and location of the author: Sue him for copyright violations. You may want to remove the links to his LinkedIn/G+ account as it may be viewed as encouraging harassment of him over this issue and skirts close to a bannable offense on Reddit."

TheReal: "Meanwhile AdBlockers and Youtube background players are banned within seconds."

MangoScango: "No. These policies aren't comparable. Google disallows apps to interfere with other apps content. So you can't do system wide Adblocking because you're breaking other apps.

Apple allows Adblocking in their browser. That's it. Google does too, albeit Chrome doesn't support extensions on Android yet. But anyone can put up a browser with Adblocking. Apple would never allow system wide Adblocking either."

Sephr: "Requiring users to rate 5 stars is against the rules, but do note that you don't have to follow SoundCloud's API terms and conditions if you just scrape the website instead of using the API. I don't know if that is what this app does, but it's important to realize that it is possible to make this app without breaking SoundCloud's API terms."

Keaukraine: "Mainly, because they just don't care. But just try publishing AdMob ad blockers to Google Play... :)"

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