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Traffic arbitrage

Google Play apps are getting banned: what's happening and what should I do?

During December 2022 - January 2023, there is an increasing amount of information in arbitration chats about a record number of banned applications. While app bans are nothing new or unusual, what surprises many is the scale and ubiquity of this purge: both newly released apps and those that have consistently been available in the app stores are being removed. On average, arbitrageurs report ban rates exceeding 80%, or they say that everything is getting banned without exception.
We have reached out to the app development teams to get their perspective and understand how to weather this storm with minimal losses.

Lukos Apps

This is the usual quarterly cleanup by Google: if the usual pass rate is 50-90%, it's now at 20%. To influence the situation on our end, we are changing our approaches, but mostly, we just need to weather this time. It will last for a maximum of one to one and a half weeks, and then it will return to business as usual. Even now, a few have already made it through, but it mainly concerns apps that were uploaded back in December. All that buyers can do is squeeze out the apps that are already available to the fullest.

Konstantin Luzin


So far, there's no sign of significant trash. Yes, there have been bans, but at the same time, new applications are also getting through and being approved. Most likely, it was just a clean-up, and that's it. Aggressive applications relying heavily on WebView are currently having a hard time passing. Without it and 'normal' code, they don't do very well, or they don't last long. But right now, we have an app with old code, and everything is working fine. In general, it's also random.

Support bot service


"Google has tightened its app scrutiny, changed its gambling app detection scheme, to put it simply. Most likely, all services were affected. The damage is significantly higher than usual. In the past six months, only six of our apps were banned. This time, however, 70-80% of our apps were banned overnight. The losses are comparable to six months of the service's operation.
For any small team, this would be project-ending, but for our structure, it's just another work situation.
It's obvious to us that we need to change literally everything:
  • Accounts
  • Design approaches
  • The black side
  • The upload method
Those who don't make these changes will have to accept the new reality - 70-80% bans at the start, and there will be no talk of six months of app life.
Most likely, these are the new realities of the market. Strong teams with ample resources and experience will survive and become even stronger. Those with limited resources and experience will disappear from the market. Welcome to the new world! We are currently going through a transitional period, and normal operations will resume shortly. Some will survive, some will sink, and for others, perhaps, they'll have to join the 'Delicious and Done' restaurant chain.

Denis Davydov, owner of BROAPPS.

NSQ Market

The situation is as follows:
  • There is a clean-up happening.
  • Apps are connecting with each other.
  • Moderation is taking a long time.

To find ways to bypass app connections, entirely new types of applications are being developed. The moderation pass rate issue is preventing a quick exit from this storm and testing a large number of different types. Nevertheless, work is ongoing in all directions, including bypassing long moderation and new development.
In my opinion, this logic will hold for another week. This is partly due to the Chinese New Year, which falls on January 22nd and consistently extends the moderation time.
App releases are happening as soon as they pass moderation, with an additional day or two for a buffer; we don't hold any reserves.

Sasha Stoshich, owner of NSQ.

Instead of a conclusion

Every year, Google Play consistently bans gambling and generally grey-area apps - those quarterly clean-ups that our experts talk about. This time, around 70-80% of apps were removed within a month (from December 16 to January 15). A high percentage of bans can be observed across all popular app rental services. We can also say from our own experience that the moderation process has significantly become more complicated within the year, but at the same time, many new app rental services have entered the market.
Will this storm become just another standard clean-up that will end in a week or two, or is it truly a 'brave new world' for the app market? Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer. But for now, it's definitely advisable to reduce the aggressiveness of approaches and allow surviving and new apps to weather the peak of the storm.