I am Matthias Hilke, project manager at ClockStone STUDIO, Austria.
We released our first app, a bridge building game called Bridge Constructor, last week. Now we just got a mail from Google Merchant Checkout Team, that our account has been suspended until we provide certain information. We’re not quite sure yet but it seems the (main) reason was that the company name in the Google Merchant account is not exactly the same as provided on our homepage. They also say something about specifying the trading address.
The main point, however, is that they suspended the account just like that, without sending any notice or warning before. So now nobody can buy the app, we’re falling back onto lower chart positions, etc. How can they act like that in a business that depends so much on daily sales performances? I’m very upset. Am I overreacting?
Any similar experiences around? Any help (or just solacing words) appreciated!
NB: I know that this is not about our income report. But I felt it would fit in here the most. And since it is about an incident that will maybe (hopefully not) ruin our first income report, I hope that it is OK.
I definitely hear what you’re saying. Google seems to do this all the time. It’s one of the risks on the Android Market (now Google Play) - your account could be suspended at any time. I’ve heard of it happening to many other developers, and even had one of my own apps suspended. It was instant, no chance to learn what the problem was & no way to dialog about how I could fix the issue.
My only suggestion would be - it could be quicker to actually create a new account. If this is possible. Look at the feedback they sent you, on what you need to do to be approved. But instead of waiting for them to reconsider & activate your account again, just create a new one with the correct details.
I’m not sure if this is within the TOS (it would depend on your exact situation). But in my experience, this method would be a lot faster than waiting for Google’s support team to get back to you.
Thank you for your prompt response and suggestions!
They wrote they want a clear copy of driver’s license or passport sent by mail or fax. We also need to make sure that the company name on the website complies with the one given in the GM account. And also specify a trading address. So they are at least giving quite specific information on what the problem is. We did everything and are now just hoping they will take care of this soon.
I still can’t believe that they are actually stopping people from buying the app. This makes them losing money as well. Or is it that people can still buy the app?
If there is no response from their side in the next hours, we will ponder your suggestion about the new account. So you mean to just set up a new merchant account and link it with the existing app?
Account reactivated! Phewww…
The good thing is that it took just 4 1/2 hours from our mail until it was fixed again.
The bad thing is that the account was offline for 21 hours, mainly because we didn’t realize the urgency of the situation. Yes, we got their mail at 8 pm (CET) last night but we didn’t react immediately since nothing in it was telling us that the account was suspended. Just things like “additional verification required” and “please send us this” and “if you have additional questions, feel free to…”.
To keep it short: check your settings and information in your Merchant Account twice to avoid troubles like this. Of course they want to avoid fraud, which is basically a good thing but they could have stated things more clearly.
I does wonder, that when they suspend your account they also prohibit people to buy … paypal does allow “income” even on a temporily suspended acc.
But I also experienced, that they just do not tell you, when they suspend your acc. My google+ was also suspended the other day and there was no notification at all, I just recognized, that I was not able to “+1” anymore and started to investigating … not a good thing…
I am pretty sure, your suspension was done because of taxing and money laundering reasons - they have to collect additional information as soon, as your yearly income reaches a distinct number.
In europe this is 2.500 € per year. If you reach that you have to provide additional information like passport and living/trading address (for whatever reason).
We are still in the middle age, except, that nowadays you have to pay much more to your king…
Glad you got your account re-activated again. That must be one of the quickest responses from Google in history!
If you look at the big picture though, your app sales don’t really have much of an impact on Google’s bottom line. Even if you’re making $1000 a day from sales (very rare!), Google gets 30% of that, so $300/day which ends up as roughly $100,000 a year. Now Google’s net revenue for 2011 was about $38 billion. So even if your app was making that much money, it would only be one 380,000th of Google’s revenue for the year!
So I can understand why they wouldn’t be too worried about taking your app down for a single day, if it helps save them expensive money-laundering fines or lawsuits.
I had an app suspended by Google and they just pointed to their guidelines in the suspension email. I protested and got the same email back the next week. I had zero clue what was wrong with my app and they gave no zero indication in either email.
I released the app under a different version and “guessed” what was wrong (using keywords). i have no idea if I guessed right or wrong.
I think Google is a little better about this recently. I got an email warning recently, instead of an app suspension. In it they were kind of vague about the exact problem (only that description was against policy) but they gave me 7 days to correct it befote taking any action. I removed a bunch of keywords from my apps description and never heard back (no app suspension after 7 days). Matthias’ situation is a bit different though because they needed information about his checkout account. I believe it got suspended right away for legal reasons.
I don’t have daily job but 1) I live in a country where the revenue I get from Android games is quite high (3 times my earlier revenue from normal job), 2) I’m working hard on targeting different platforms, 3) I have some extra cash from maintaing old projects I did freelancing. But the stories about Google Play are not encouraging.