Google may be in the process of being the biggest ban on the Play Store ever by massively removing applications from a large Chinese-connected application developer. This comes in the wake of a recent investigation by BuzzFeed News about a verified ad fraud from popular apps made by the firm.
The story so far
According to the new update from BuzzFeed news, 46 applications from DO Global, which were considered to be partially owned by Baidu after the cancellation a year ago, were removed from the Google Play Store. In addition, DO Global applications no longer offer an advertising inventory for the Google AdMob mobile ad network, indicating a broad ban.
DO Global had about 100 applications in the Play Store and over 600 million installations before the ban, the report said. This means that Google's move to act against DO Global may be the biggest ban ever made to an application developer.
Although Google did not want to specifically comment on removals, Google's spokesman spoke against malicious behavior in general: "We are actively investigating malicious behavior, and when we find violations, we take action, including removing the developer's ability to monetize their app with AdMob or post to Play. "
Mass advertising fraud
Initial investigation from BuzzFeed news saw a total of 6 applications involved and were downloaded more than 90 million times, according to researchers from the checkpoint, who worked together in the investigation. The applications reportedly mimic the behavior of users to click banners from a trio of advertising agencies, including AdMob and Mopub, and the latter is a mobile ad network operated by Twitter.
Major pains were taken to ensure that the scam was never detected. For example, the application checks if the user recently clicked on the banner, and a fake click on the banner is initiated only if the interval and daily maximum clicks are lower than the predefined limit.
Of great importance, behavior often appears in the background when the user does not use the application, potentially draining the phone's battery in the background. The findings were transferred to Google, which confirmed the presence of an advertising fraud. Applied applications were then removed from the Play Store.
"Investigating how to deal with each ad agency, different code segments and activity on us, show how much this actor has invested in this operation. With applications that have reached 50,000,000 acquisitions, we can only speculate on the amount of money generated of this deceptive activity, "the researchers concluded.
The blatant and sophisticated nature of this fraud scam campaign highlights the problems that the advertising industry faces. While vendors are aware that a certain proportion of their spending is likely to be destroyed by advertising fraud, pure fraud may be greater than anyone could have imagined.
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