Mobile Ecosystem

Google Protects Advertisers, Pulls Ad Blocking Apps From Play Store

Peter Hamilton

ad blocking

Earlier this week, Google pulled four apps from the Google Play Store that enabled Android users to block ads from appearing in apps on their smartphones. Among the apps pulled were AdBlock Plus, AdBlocker, AdAway and AdFree1. They were pulled on the grounds that they violated Google’s Developer Distribution Agreement, which says developers will “agree that you will not engage in any activity with the Market, including the development or distribution of Products, that interferes with, disrupts, damages, or accesses in an unauthorized manner the devices, servers, networks, or other properties or services of any third party including, but not limited to, Android users, Google or any mobile network operator. ”

Till Faida, co-founder of AdBlock Plus, told TechCrunch that “Users should have a right to control what kind of content they want to allow on their devices just like you can deactivate JavaScript or Flash in your browser if you choose to do so.” While I agree that users do have the right to control the content on their devices, often that content is supported by advertising. The only way it exists is through the support of advertisers. Many people seem to forget that Google is an advertising company, and their clients across all of their products are advertisers. Maintaining control of advertising on Android devices is crucial to the cross-platform adoption of their clients and ultimately the success of their organization as a whole. This move is undoubtedly a factor of future scale for Google, as advertising is something that will always scale. It will be there after market saturation, and it will always be extremely valuable. After all, once you have the eyeballs, how do you monetize them better?

This is certainly a bold move by Google, and does bring into question whether Google will support advertisers over developers, but many of those developers are also advertisers in some capacity. By freeing up more ad spend on Android devices they only create a greater monetary opportunity for developers. This move also will absolutely not hurt user experience, as some have questioned. Instead, user experience will only continue to become more competitive than ever. The apps and mobile web properties that find the best user flows and least obnoxious methods will ultimately win out. This might be the capitalist in me speaking, but I believe the industry will be regulated by users, because ultimately what users want, they will eventually get. (Well, except for those rare times when us marketing types can change their minds about what they want!)

Not only was this critical, I think it is amazing that Google stepped up to protect advertising, as it prevents the cannibalization of the web. We absolutely need advertisers to support content so that great content continues to be produced at a high level and continues to experience innovation. After all, who do you think pays for James Cameron’s crazy 3D cameras, our favorite television series – and yes, even TechCrunch?

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Peter Hamilton

A digital marketer by background, Peter is the former CEO of TUNE, the enterprise platform for partner marketing. In 2018, he sold TUNE’s mobile measurement product to Branch, unifying measurement and user experience. He led TUNE’s efforts to bring better management technology and automation to marketing partnerships, across affiliates, influencers, networks, and business development relationships. Follow @peterhamilton

3 responses to “Google Protects Advertisers, Pulls Ad Blocking Apps From Play Store”

  1. So if someone was to build an “EU cookie law compliance” app that blocks cookies and other mechanisms often used by digital advertising programs to id unique user, this would also get removed, since it too disrupts the services of others.

    I wonder what the EU thinks about this kind of behaviour.

  2. ExGooglesubject says:

    Google throwing its weight around again!

  3. The calmer says:

    It’s no big deal. All you need for apps is an apk. If you don’t get it in g.’s store, you get it someplace else. Don’t you worry, people.

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