Google has promptly shut down one of the first apps to take advantage of new ad-blocking capabilities in Samsung’s browser.
Rocketship apps, which makes Adblock Fast, shared with The Next Web a nastygram from the Google Play Review Team that details a violation of Section 4.4 of the Google Play Developer Distribution Agreement:
Hi Developers at Rocketship Apps,
I reviewed Adblock Fast, com.rocketshipapps.adblockfast, and found that it violates section 4.4 of the Developer Distribution Agreement. This particular app has been disabled as a policy strike.
Just as a reminder, you’ve agreed to follow the Google Play Developer Program Policies and additional enforcement could occur if there are further policy issues with your apps.
If you’ve reviewed the policies and feel this rejection may have been in error, please reach out to our policy support team. One of my colleagues will get back to you within 2 business days.
I appreciate your support of Google Play!
Google Play Review Team
The rule says developers can’t build apps that “interfere with other applications.” This seems like a selective interpretation, given that Rocketship apps is using an official API from Samsung in order to implement the blocker.
Additionally, a similar plugin for Samsung’s browser is still listed in the Play Store even though it does the exact same thing.
Often these decisions get reversed. That could happen here, or it could be the beginning of a general crackdown on ad blockers by Google. We’ll definitely keep an eye on how this develops.
The story behind the story: The bulk of Google’s business still comes from advertising revenue, so it’s not tremendously surprising the company wouldn’t be too cool with ad blockers. The company brought in $74.5 billion in revenue in the last quarter, driven primarily from its core advertising business. With so much at stake, the company won’t be embracing ad-blocking anytime soon.