Google bans notification bar ads, such as AirPush, from Play Store apps

Hate those extremely annoying notification bar/push notification ads, such as AirPush or KDDI? Yeah, we do too and that is why dotTech has featured tools that allow users to detect and uninstall apps that use notification bar ads. Google, apparently, has gotten the message, too because Google has introduced a new Google Play Developer Program Policy that introduces a bunch of new changes to Play Store, including the ban on use of ‘intrusive’ ads.

The following is the e-mail Google sent to developers:

Hello Google Play Developer,

We are constantly striving to make Google Play a great community for developers and consumers. This requires us to update our policies when we launch new features, like subscription billing, and also when we see unhealthy behavior, like deceptive app names and spammy notifications. This email is to notify you that we’ve made some changes to our policies which are highlighted below.

  • We’ve added clearer details to the payment policy, and guidelines on how we will handle cancellations in our new subscription billing feature
  • We are restricting the use of names or icons confusingly similar to existing system apps in order to reduce user confusion.
  • We are providing more detail on the kinds of dangerous products that are not allowed on Google Play. For example, apps that disclose personal information without authorization are not allowed.
  • We are giving more examples of practices that violate the spam policy.

Additionally, we are adding a new section that addresses ad behavior in apps. First, we make it clear that ads in your app must follow the same rules as the app itself. Also, it is important to us that ads don’t negatively affect the experience by deceiving consumers or using disruptive behavior such as obstructing access to apps and interfering with other ads.

Please take a look at the Google Play Developer Program Policy at to see all the changes and make sure your app complies with our updated policies.

Any new apps or app updates published after this notification will be immediately subject to the latest version of the Program Policy. If you find any existing apps in your catalog that don’t comply, we ask you to fix and republish the application within 30 calendar days of receiving this email. After this period, existing applications discovered to be in violation may be subject to warning or removal from Google Play.


Google Play Team

As you can see above, the e-mail specifically mentions the ban on the use of apps that have names or icons similar to existing apps. That means you should not only see less spoof apps on Play Store but also less apps with the same name. Another major change is apps are now required to explicitly ask for user permission when disclosing personal information to the app developer or other third party. Perhaps more important than any of those two, however, is the ban on ‘intrusive’ ads.

While the e-mail itself doesn’t explicitly list it out, if you follow the link to the Google Play Developer Program Policy page you will see new rules that state “ads must not make changes to the functioning of the user’s device” without giving users the ability to undo the changes easily, “ads must not simulate or impersonate system notifications or warnings”, users must not be forced “to click on ads or submit personal information for advertising purposes in order to fully use an app”, and ads “must not interfere with any ads on a third-party application”. To put it simply, traditional in-app ads are still allowed but annoying-as-hell push notification ads are banned.

Google is giving app developers thirty days to comply with the new policy or else risk their apps being pulled from Play Store. All I have to say is: about time, Google, about time.

[via Android Police]

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