Disgruntled Android developers have started a petition claiming Google is unjustly banning developer accounts and apps from Google Play.
As of writing, almost 3,000 developers are now calling on Google to provide “one-on-one communication” in the instance of policy violations. The petition, which was started by Android enthusiast site Phandroid, says Google’s automated email approach to customer service prevents “honest developers” from complying with policy stipulations by failing to provide instructions on where they’ve gone wrong.
Phandroid’s Rob Jackson writes:
Google’s notification for these violations comes in the form of vague automated e-mails that prevent honest developers from complying with Google’s demands (no instructions on what to change or fix). In many cases, apps and accounts are suspended or removed completely without prior warning or notice, offering no recourse to fix inadvertent violations regardless of the problem’s simplicity, severity, or developer’s intentions to fully comply.
The petition goes on to say that Google’s “careless” approach to account suspensions has “disastrous and far reaching” effects, such as “sudden loss of income source and jobs.” Phandroid says its fallen foul of Google’s policy crackdowns twice itself and now “felt it was time to speak up and make our combined voices heard.”
The arguments are certainly a valid. However, Google has a long reputation for being very uncommunicative even with advertising customers, which comprise its biggest source of revenue. The problem is due to the large scale nature of Google’s business – there are just too many customers to deal with. The company no doubt takes a more personal approach when it comes to bigger developers on the store, but for the thousands of smaller devs, the cost/benefit of hiring a dedicated team to communicate with them is probably too low. Unless of course, the petition gathers enough signatures to cause a PR nightmare (and hopefully it will).