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Our Remaining Apps To Be Pulled From Google Play

Written On: 5/9/2024

We have reached our 'last straw' with Google Play (GP) and expect them to pull our remaining apps before the end of the year. We regret any inconvenience this may cause our apps' users. The following is additional detail concerning this situation.

Q. Why will this occur?

A. We have regrettably determined that it is not cost-effective for us to maintain our account with GP. Note: Additional information appears below.

Q. When will this occur?

A. We expect GP to remove our remaining apps from GP on or around 10/16/2024, the date indicated in an email we received from them.

Q. Will your android apps still be available elsewhere?

A. At this time, applicable apps may still be available on Amazon (try here for links). However, we cannot make any promises regarding availability/continuing availability.

Q. Will previously purchased apps still be available on GP?

A. Sorry, but GP may/may not allow access to previously purchased apps. We have found that previously purchased apps - even while STILL live in their store - were not downloadable on our older test devices. Please contact GP for more details concerning availability of previously purchased apps.

Q. Can you provide additional information?

A. As indicated above, we've reached our 'last straw' with GP. We have at last determined that it is not cost effective to continue 'jumping through their hoops'. See below for more detail.

--- Additional Detail ---

First of all, GP frequently requires changes/updates to apps/app data and to our account (which costs us time/money). Some relevant issues we have...

* We find some of their decisions to be ridiculous (e.g. pulling our speed dial app because it dials phone numbers - the app's very purpose!)

* We have found their appeal process to be pointless & unreasonable (e.g. totally ineffective/ridiculous, and utterly failed to provide answers to reasonable questions). Note: Try here for more detail.

* We find the number of updates required by GP to be excessive (at least for small developers like us)

* We find their practices to be intrusive in terms of data requested (e.g. suddenly requesting "official documents" verifying our identity/organization more then TWELVE years after we have been doing business with them, despite the fact that we have already provided them sufficient verifiable information, including banking information). Note: This general documentation requirement has been imposed on everyone. Besides being unnecessary in our case, we are aware of Ggl's alleged privacy violations and do not want to take the risk. We have proven we are trustworthy by our conduct over the years, they have proven (in our opinion, primarily based on news reports/books) that there are legitimate concerns entrusting them with personal information.

Secondly, even if the above were surmountable issues, the situation would not be resolved because, GP has made it virtually impossible for customers to find our apps (which hampers our sales). For example...

* The GP auto-complete fails to include our apps, even if the exact app name is searched for (see below for some auto-complete examples)

Some Auto-Complete Examples

* When searching for our apps - even when using the exact app name - our apps may not appear at all on GP, or they may appear far down the list. Imagine searching for an app that is live and available, using the exact correct app name as the search criteria, and finding that it does not come up at all in the results! How could one possibly buy such an app?

Noting the lack of sales at one point a few years back, we brought this matter up with GP but the issue was never resolved. They in fact said there were no issues. We followed up with them multiple times and asked them to look more closely into the matter. Our concerns were supposedly "escalated" at one point. After a long wait, we finally heard back...

"Thanks for your extended patience while our team looked into your concern again. They were not able to provide any more detail or a better answer to your question. There are no issues with your apps' rankings when it comes to search and the algorithms are working as intended."

Some portions of our correspondence with GP from years back are included below (excerpts below are from various emails, in no particular order), FYI...

"Thank you for looking into the matter, but we remain convinced that there is some issue.

For one thing, we performed searches on Google Play such as...


Catholic Bible

Stations of the Cross

The results did not include any of our apps. We understand (especially for the search term 'Catholic'), that others may come up before (or in place of) ours, but ours didn't come up at all, even for more specific searches and even when other apps that were irrelevant to the search criteria came up. 

For example, we have a Stations of the Cross app (iStations for Android). It did not come up at all when searching for 'Stations of the Cross'. The Google Play search results, however did include a lot of apps that were NOT Stations of the Cross apps (including history apps, hymn books, bible-related apps, saint apps, radio apps, etc.). In the results, we found apps that have fewer installs than ours (iStations has 500+, other apps in listings had 10+, 100+). Also included in the results were apps that had fewer & worse ratings than ours (iStations has 14 reviews, averaging 4.7 stars, others had no reviews or only one review and 4 or fewer stars).  


* Actual search on Google Play return apps that are LESS relevant than ours, but NOT ours.

* Actual search on Google Play return apps that have FEWER installs than ours, but NOT ours.

* Actual search on Google Play return apps that have FEWER ratings than ours, but NOT ours.

* Actual search on Google Play return apps that have FEWER stars than ours, but NOT ours.

Therefore we cannot understand why our apps would not come up in search results. It actually does not seem fair.

Furthermore, we have checked fifty pages showing our historical sales from 1/2012 (the beginning) through 11/30/2019 and found that there was never a month without a single sale or attempted sale (the sales on some months span multiple pages), with the sole exception of 9/2019 (around the time when the issue seems to have started). Therefore, it is very difficult for us to believe that nothing is wrong or that we "just have not received any new orders" since 11/30/19 (which is roughly the time of our app updates). This is inconsistent with all of our app sale history on Google Play. 

Could you please have a more comprehensive look at what is going on? Including, exactly why we are not coming up in search results when our apps are more relevant, more highly rated, and have more installs and higher reviews than various other apps that come up?"


"We know you consider this matter resolved, but we cannot agree. For example, our iStations app - which typically has 'seasonal' sales that spike in Lent, has only sold one single copy on Google Play since Lent started (specifically, one sale on 2/29/20). During the identical time frame, the same app has been #1 in its category on Amazon's App store multiple times (in fact, it is #1 as of this writing - see attached [attached in original email]). Likewise, the iOS version has been on the Apple charts numerous times since Lent began in late February (see image attached, ranked #7) [attached in original email]. Yet, only one single sale on Google Play."

"We are certain (and the sales on Amazon & Apple seem to prove), that the lack of sales on Google Play right now is NOT because people don't want to buy our app but because Google Play is functioning as a 'gatekeeper' preventing people from even seeing the app."

"Again, regardless of any reasons you may put forward, our app does NOT appear on Google Play for relevant keywords (e.g. 'Stations of the Cross'), but other apps that are LESS relevant, LESS highly rated, with fewer installs and ratings than ours DO show. No reason provided (or even imaginable) makes any sense of these facts."

Given the above, as one might expect, our sales have essentially been reduced to nothing on GP. In fact, as of 5/9/24, we have had 1 (one) single app sale on GP for 2024. In 2023, there were 0 (zero) app sales for the entire year. Before that there were also years of decline. Near the beginning, we had sold hundreds of apps in a year on this platform. On the Amazon App Store, as of late, we have consistently been selling more apps than we have on GP. And Amazon doesn't require all the hoop-jumping that GP has been requiring.

So, there is really no point for us to spend the time or money keeping on GP, and risking our privacy to do so, when we cannot seem to get a fair shake for our apps on the GP platform. They have, in our opinion, made unreasonable demands while simultaneously 'putting their thumb on the scale' against us. It is regrettable, but we do not see any reasonable solution that makes sense to us. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may cause to our apps' users.

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