Google has made a big move, the tech giant has reportedly banned close to 600 Android apps and their developers from the Play store and its ad networks as part of a massive crackdown on ad fraud and "disruptive" mobile ads.
One of the biggest names in this crackdown is Cheetah mobile, a Chinese company that is publicly traded. The company had been caught engaging in ad fraud, and though Google removed the offending apps at the time, it allowed Cheetah to continue operating on the playstore.
However, in its latest move, Google has decided to remove Cheetah's entire suite of roughly 45 apps in the Play store. The apps no longer offer advertising inventory for sale in Google's ad networks.
Per Bjorke, Google's senior product manager for ad traffic quality, told BuzzFeed News the removed apps, which had been installed more than 4.5 billion times, primarily targeted English-speaking users and were mainly from developers based in China, Hong Kong, Singapore, and India. He declined to name specific apps or developers but said many of the banned apps were utilities or games. Google published a blog post today with details about the removals.
It looks like Google is getting aggressive with its new app clean up. The tech giant's disruptive ads policy reportedly forbids developers from displaying ads when their app is not in use, and from displaying ads in a way that "results in inadvertent clicks."
Bjorke went on to say that one example is an app that shows a full-screen ad when a user is trying to make a phone call. He added that this is an invasive maneuver resulting in poor user experiences that disrupted key device functions like phone calls and GPS, caused inadvertent ad clicks, and wasted [money] for advertisers.