On October 19th, 2020, the Cointiply app was removed from the Google Play app store, without warning, following a routine update. After numerous back and forths with the Google Play support team, Google has failed to provide a reasonable explanation for the app removal. In addition, Google’s dismissive responses failed to shed any light on how to correct the problem — if there even is one at all.
The Cointiply app has been installed and enjoyed by more than 500,000 users in the past 2 years. At the time of removal the app was rated 4.5 stars and had received over 9000 organic user ratings. The Cointiply application compliments the desktop experience by offering more opportunities for users to earn rewards and participate in the Cointiply community on the go.
We also want to let members know that if you already have the app installed, it will continue to work
Cointiply is by no means the first or only victim of Google’s crypto crackdown. The Tech Giant is steadily gaining a reputation for banning apps in the cryptocurrency community, without ever providing a reason why. For businesses that run on Google, the flippant and dismissive responses from Google’s customer service team are as expected as they are devastating.
MetaMask and Bitcoin Blast are among the more high profile cases to be banned without reason or warning, and now Cointiply is joining their ranks. Both MetaMask and Bitcoin Blast were reinstated after outcry from the crypto community. We hope that with your support, Cointiply will also be reinstated.
According to Google’s initial suspension notification, the Cointiply app was removed over one line of text in the app’s description: “Get paid to install Android Apps.” Google cited the following policy as the reason for removal: User Ratings, Reviews, and Installs - Play Console Help
Identical and similar descriptions can be found on thousands of reward apps in the Google Play store. The reality is that installing apps or games to receive rewards is a large part of the overall Android ecosystem. Cointiply has never intentionally or unintentionally manipulated rankings or reviews of any apps, and, to the best of our knowledge, Cointiply is in complete compliance with Google Play’s policies.
Later, after Cointiply appealed the app suspension and offered to edit this line out of the app’s description, Google also cited an additional policy violation: App Promotion - Play Console Help, which states that “deceptive and harmful” practices are not allowed. After reviewing the rules’ clear examples, it’s obvious that Cointiply is in compliance with both policy descriptions. Google refuses to elaborate on the perceived non-compliance for either policy and, thus far, has refused to provide specific examples of Cointiply being in the wrong. Without being shown what to fix, we have no way of knowing what to fix.
Like thousands of other reward apps, Cointiply curates third-party offers and rewards users in exchange for performing tasks, such as viewing an advertisement or installing a game. Since Cointiply uses many of the same offers as other apps, then it can only be said that all reward apps available in the Google Play store are also in violation. Likewise, many high profile games - that earn Google massive revenue - also offer incentivized installs with the very same third-party offers that Cointiply curates.
One can only assume that Cointiply has been singled out due to its ties with the crypto community.
Google’s monopolistic practices make it impossible for apps to be successful on any other Android platform. While the company continues to unfairly ban cryptocurrency apps, Coinitply developers are left in the dark trying to solve a problem that doesn’t seem to exist.
We need your help! Cointiply has always put our users first, and ultimately, our users are the ones who will suffer from Google’s decision to suspend the Cointiply application from the Google Play store.
Please share this story, repost it, and retweet at @GooglePlay and @GooglePlayDev so we can get the word out.
In the interest of transparency we have included our full conversation with Google Play’s “appeal” team below. Contact details have been blurred to maintain privacy.
Further Reading & Related Links:
Google’s monopoly: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/20/technology/google-antitrust.html
Bitcoin Blast removed from Google Play: https://www.coindesk.com/developers-say-google-play-unfairly-booted-their-bitcoin-rewards-game
MetaMask removed from Google Play: https://cointelegraph.com/news/google-suspends-metamask-from-its-play-app-store-citing-deceptive-services
Google’s antitrust lawsuit: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2020/oct/21/google-antitrust-charges-what-is-next
Original Suspension Notification
Cointiply’s Initial Appeal (Submitted Through Google Play’s Appeal Form)
Hello! Thanks for taking the time to go through this with us.
If I'm understanding correctly, it's this line in the description of our app that's a problem:
Full description (en_US): "get paid to download Android apps,"
We're more than happy to edit this completely out of our description. It's really not the focus of our app, and our app is very specifically NOT focused on illegitimately inflating installs in this way. In fact we're very much like many other apps in the store... with the exception that our description contains this language and theirs do not. Sorry about that! :)
Anyway, please let us know how you'd like us to proceed with editing this, and we'll go from there.
Thanks so much!
Subsequent Conversation With Google Play Support