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Updates Made to Android App Rules Crack Down on Erotic Content

Whether you’re an app developer, or you use mobile advertising to promote your business, you’ll want to take note of the recent changes Google made to the Google Play Developer Program Policy.  The updates affect what types of content apps are allowed to display, and will help to reduce the amount of dishonest or deceptive ads being seen in android apps, as well as place more limitations on the type of content allowed.

One change that many app developers will notice is a clarification made to the content policy section of the program policy, specifically related to the apps ‘no-porn’ policy.  Prior to the update, Google said, “We don’t allow content that contains nudity, graphic sex acts, or sexually explicit material.”  The update adjusts the wording to say, “Apps that contain or promote pornography are prohibited; this includes sexually explicit or erotic content, icons, titles or descriptions.”

Erotic content is a fairly subjective term, and many app developers believe this will end up reducing or eliminating the ‘sexy’ apps.  There are many apps out there for things like ‘sexy wallpapers,’ ‘sexy selfies’ and many others.  At this point, Google hasn’t taken these down, and it is too early to tell whether they will be putting an end to them, but the policy change certainly opens that door.

There were other areas of change for the policy as well.  One of the biggest adjustments to the policy is that it puts the responsibility of keeping the ads in line with the policy now falls on the shoulders of the app developers themselves.  They have to make sure that they aren’t using any ad networks, affiliates or direct advertisers who may be using questionable ad practices.  This will undoubtedly make it more difficult for smaller or new ad networks, since they don’t yet have the reputation of providing only high quality advertisements.

The new section of the program policy called, “App Promotion” has several new rules, including these:

“Apps published on Google Play may not directly or indirectly engage in or benefit from the following behavior:

  • Promotion via deceptive ads on websites, apps or other properties, including simulated system, service or app notifications or alerts.
  • Promotion or install tactics which cause redirection to Google Play or the download of the app without informed user action.
  • Unsolicited promotion via SMS services.

It is your responsibility to ensure that no ad network or affiliate uses such methods to direct users to pages that make your app available for download.”

This shouldn’t have too much of an impact for honest marketers who are attempting to promote an app, but it does add an extra layer of responsibility and complexity on the app developers themselves.  They will now have to take more precautions to ensure that the ads that run in their apps don’t break any of the policy rules.  If they don’t take these changes seriously, they could have their app removed from the Google Play store.

You can read the entire policy HERE.

Pesach Lattin
Pesach Lattin
Pesach "Pace" Lattin is one of the top experts in interactive advertising, affiliate marketing. Pesach Lattin is known for his dedication to ethics in marketing, and focus on compliance and fraud in the industry, and has written numerous articles for publications from MediaPost, ClickZ, ADOTAS and his own blogs.

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