In a recent massive crackdown on ad fraud and “disruptive” advertising, Google has dropped nearly 600 Android apps and banned its developers from the Google App Store and its advertising networks,media reported. The biggest developers banned from Google’s app store and ad network include Cheetah Mobile, which was revealed to be engaged in advertising fraud in November 2018.
Google then dropped Cheetah Mobile’s offending app, but allowed it to continue offering other apps in the App Store.
But as of the morning of February 20, local time, Cheetah Mobile had all 45 apps in Google’s App Store that were no longer displayed on Google’s ad network.
Per Bjorke, Google’s senior product manager for ad traffic quality, says the apps have been installed more than 4.5 billion times, mainly for English-speaking users, mostly from China, Singapore and India. Bjork declined to name specific apps or developers, but said many of the banned apps were utilities or games.
In 2019, Google also banned developer touch. It comes after NewsFeed News, a news-aggregation site, and a security firm offered evidence that even after notifying Google that it had stopped running a large number of “disruptive” ads, touchthes had not actually changed its behavior.
Google’s “disruptive” advertising policy prohibits developers from continuing to display ads when their apps are not in use, as well as “inadvertent clicks” on ads. One example, Bjork says, is when a user tries to make a phone call, the app displays a full-screen ad.
“It’s an intrusive strategy that can lead to a poor user experience, disrupt the functionality of critical devices such as phones and GPS, cause inadvertent ad clicks and waste advertisers’ money,” Mr Bjork said. He added that Google had deployed new technology late last year to automatically detect whether apps display ads when they are not in use. This change helped identify offending applications and developers, which in turn led to today’s ban.
“After the first violation is detected, we notify and warn the developers and allow them to correct the problem,” Bjork said. If they don’t correct their behavior, we will take tough measures. “
He also said that while some offending applications and developers use similar techniques to display “disruptive” ads and avoid detection, it is unclear whether they have a collaboration. Google has begun refunding brands that display damaging ads.