NOTIFICATION FROM GOOGLE PLAY STORE ABOUT VUNGLE SDK, AN AD TOOL USUALLY SEEN IN APPS

Source: https://verify.wiki/wiki/Vungle

Why did we share the above information about Vungle?
To start this article, we would like to make it clear that we neither recommend this organization nor connected to this organization in any way.

Recently, we got an email from the Google Play Store team that one of the SDKs included in our app is a non-compliant version of that SDK and we need to take action within 30 days. The non-compliant version happens to be that of Vungle. We also were informed that if we don't take action, our app would be removed from the Play Store. Having gone through similar experiences, where our app, iMessenger was removed without any notice upfront upon some third-party claims and then reinstated upon struggle, when other apps similar to our apps left intact in the Play Store or even added afterwards, we were wondering whether this action is one such similar action from the Google Play Store team or from other vested parties. 

Are such actions warranted for? 
We need to be pragmatic about how that world works. Please also understand that there is an election in the US coming up soon. 

What do we mean by that?
Recently, we had raised our concern about removing another app that had the same name, functions very similarly and was added well over an year after our app got added. While our app was removed without notice then, this app appears to have been in the play store for all those times. Please see below for more details. This concern on the SDK from the Google Play Store team was raised within a short frame after we had raised our own concern to the removals team.

What other action have we taken?
Anyways, as we rely on a third-party Google Play Store platform (though we are gradually expanding our own platform, The Yagle Play Store), we believe that it is our ethical responsibility to align with the policy put in place. Hopefully, it is consistent across board. 

What do I mean by that?
Please see below is the total number of apps with Vungle in it. This SDK has been in place since 2011. 

There are more than 21 thousand apps with Vungle in it with the total number of downloads amounting to more than 83 billion. If the compliance issue is mounting from this SDK, does n't it make sense for us to know whether it is only this app or all the apps out there with this SDK?

What action have we taken?
We have sent a reply to Google Play Store to find out more about this issue so that we can address accordingly. 

Please also take note that considering our smaller size, though trying to grow from every front, we rely on third-party development frameworks to implement some of our applications. This app of ours also rely on one such third-party framework. 

When it comes to the ads placed in our apps, we neither make money from those ads as we opted out of it nor have control over the nature of ad SDKs put in place by this framework provider. 

For that reason, in addition to contacting the Google Play Store (please emails below), we have also reached out to this third-party framework provider to address this issue, as many others like us also utilize this framework for implementation of these apps. If a SDK has any negative effect on the users, it would also place this organization in jeopardy.  I guess their understanding in this matter led them to respond to our email in a timely manner. As per their message, a fix would be in place, which would allow us to update our app. We hope to have the updated version in a week's time, as that is the time given to us by this framework provider for the fix to be ready.

In addition, we are also working on engineering our own ad-free versions for a nominal charge, which we plan to release over time. We already have some apps in place. However, we are keen to complete all possible testing prior to releasing those in the near future.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
EXHIBIT I: Email to the Removals team

VAL-U-PRO CONSULTING GROUP, LLC - SRIKANTH KIDAMBI 

Thu, Jun 18, 10:40 PM (8 days ago)
to ads-trademarks-support+!NTI5MzkyVal-U-Proplay-trademarks
Thank you for your response. 

If this is the case, may I know why our app was removed without our consent before based on the complaint filed by a
third-party, which we believe, affected our reputation in the marketplace, while causing unnecessary anxiety and stress
 for us? It also affected our development focus as our direction got distracted due to the removal of our application.
It was also the time that this app with the same name might have gotten added to the play store impacting our
potential user base in the process.

Waiting for the trademark outcome might delay and affect us furthermore causing more likelihood of confusion in the
marketplace for our app. For that reason, based on prior art and priority in listing our application in the play store
at least a year before the new app, we would like the other app with the same name to be removed from the play store.

play-trademarks@google.com

Thu, Jun 18, 10:29 PM (8 days ago)
to me
Hello Srikanth,

It appears that the trademark applications you have referenced are still pending. Please let us know if/when your application registers and we will be happy to further investigate your claim.

Regards,
Marty
Google Legal Support Team
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

EXHIBIT II: Email to Google Play Store with regard to Vungle SDK:

VAL-U-PRO CONSULTING GROUP, LLC - SRIKANTH KIDAMBI

4:09 AM (12 hours ago)
to Val-U-Prono-reply-googleplay-developerbogdina
Play Store Team:

May I know more about the malicious behaviour of the Vungle SDK? Vungle appears to be in place since 2012 
with significant seed money invested then for this SDK company. Is there a specific Vungle adware that is a 
concern or is it for any app that includes Vungle that this concern has been raised? It is important for us to 
understand so that we can be careful about the nature of third-party SDKs to include in our app development 
process.

Here are the current numbers of Vungle that are in the Play Store:
AppswithVungle.png

Comments