GOOGLE HAS banned an entire portfolio of apps by Chinese developer DO Global, after discovering malicious code that was being used for ‘click fraud'.
A host of apps from the company, a former subsiduary of browser maker Baidu, were removed from the Play Store, after Buzzfeed found that users were being made to click on apps for ads they weren't even using.
This breaches rules for both the Play Store and Google Ads, and were further compounded because DO Global used individual developer names and addresses when publishing to hide the fact that all these apps were from the same place.
The highest profile removal is ES File Explorer, which has been in trouble before, but it's just one of 46 apps that have been removed, from a portfolio of over 100.
Google issued a statement explaining: "We actively investigate malicious behavior, and when we find violations, we take action, including the removal of a developer's ability to monetize their app with AdMob or publish on Play,"
DO Global has said that it apologises and accepts the decision:
"First of all, we would like to extend our thanks to Buzzfeed for your articles. We fully understand the seriousness of the allegations. Therefore, after reading the reports about our apps, we immediately conducted an internal investigation on this matter. We regret to find irregularities in some of our products' use of AdMob advertisements. Given this, we fully understand and accept Google's decision. Moreover, we have actively cooperated with them by doing a thorough examination of every app involved,"
Sub-brands DO Global Games and Applecheer studio are part of the sweep making for an estimated 250m total active users. All the detected apps are now gone from the Play Store, and DO Global's ad account has been suspended.
The company has not given any indication of its next move, or if/when the apps will be reinstated. μ
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