How Google Play Misses Out
If you’re one of those people who like to explore different opportunities when it comes to promoting your affiliate offers then you’ve surely looked into the mobile app space already.
In general, apps are all fine and dandy, but the problems start when you try developing a purely gambling-centered app and then putting it in Google Play (the main app store for Android phones) or Apple’s App Store.
As it turns out, your success and your app’s approval will depend on the small details about its structure and the way it operates. To be blunt about this, Google Play doesn’t enjoy gambling apps very much.
In short, if your app offers real money gambling (i.e. offers rewards that can be directly converted to cash income) then Google won’t allow it in their Play store.
To quote their official guidelines, your app won’t be featured if it offers:
“[...] content or services that facilitate online gambling, including but not limited to, online casinos, sports betting and lotteries, or games of skill.”
As you can see, it’s gambling itself that Google doesn’t appreciate and the “real money” rule looks like an excuse to have an easily-explainable reason for banning certain apps.
But there are also other rules. Rules that are not strictly gambling-related, yet can still make your life harder, should you decide to try your luck with Google Play regardless.
Some of the restrictions that are worth mentioning:
- no ads in system notifications or home screen icons – this means that your app can’t change the way a user interacts with their device; showing ads in system notifications could be a fairly effective thing, since the user is sure to pay attention to them; however, the practice is completely banned now,
- no hate speech – this one sounds obvious at first glance, but Google has done a lot to redefine what they understand as hate speech, so it’s always a good idea to browse through the rules before creating anything controversial,
- no incentives to rate an app – asking for a review is okay, but giving something in return isn’t,
- use Google Play’s official in-app billing service when offering in-app purchases – you can’t use other solutions.
Let’s leave all these difficulties on the side and end with some good news.
We have to keep in mind that Android is an open source system. This means that your users can install any app they wish, regardless of the fact if it’s available in Google Play or not. This is completely different with Apple’s App Store. Basically, if your app isn’t available there then it doesn’t exist.
With Android, you can offer apps on your site, or in other third-party Android stores. So being banned from Google Play isn’t necessarily game over. The only problem, however, is that Google Play has a big user base and not having your app featured there will limit your reach greatly.
Anyway, we have to admit that Google Play is still one of those Google products that are willing to cooperate with the developers/users even if they’re not 100% compliant with the guidelines. Unlike AdWords, for example, which will just send you a termination notice effective immediately and won’t respond to any communication afterwards.