1. Use absolute numbers or percentages depending on whichever sounds higher;
2. Don't put absolute numbers in context. For example, is that 119k out of 500k or 500M?
3. Only mention false positive rate if it's really low;
4. Only mention false negative rate if it's really low;
5. Don't be afraid to retroactively include data in your featured set. For example, classifying accounts banned for other reasons as spam accounts;
6. Only mention time frames if it helps your case. For example, if those accounts had been operating for a mean of 3 years then say nothing about that.
I'm not saying any of the above are true but after having seeing thousands of these pronouncements, my mind automatically goes to start asking what isn't being said here.
I remember seeing this first hand at Google with the cut backs in food (cafes and microkitchens). There were statements about "we saved $100m". That's an absolute number that sounds large. It actually amounted to something like $2/employee per day for a noticeable decrease in both quantity and quality to the point where people complained. Was that really worth it? Probably not.
That being said, I don't think there's any intent to mislead here. The numbers could be more complete and detailed, but even if you had relative numbers (e.g. "we banned 119k, which is X% of all developer accounts") what could you do with that information? If it were 20% would that be too low? Too high? What if it were 1%? Since you don't know the ground truth fraction of spam accounts, and you don't know how well a similarly situated generic team of devs would do, I don't think there's much use you can get out of this knowledge.
"Additionally, in 2020, Google Play Protect scanned over 100B installed apps each day"
Are there really 100B unique apps? Or are they saying they scanned some much smaller number of apps, that happen to be "installed" on a shite ton of phones? Why is the number of installs relevant to the how many unique apps were scanned on a cloud server somewhere?
Edit: I'm assuming "Play Protect" just uploads a hash of the binary and makes sure that particular binary has been previously scanned?
I’ve read way too many examples of “Google closed my account for <speculation> with no recourse and won’t provide any details” just here on HN alone.
If you are terminating accounts at this level, then it is - at least for me - a bit more understandable that you can't conduct a deep human review of each termination (and even if you do, there would be still likely some mistakes).
To be honest, when I look at the mobile ecosystem, it seems to me that a pretty large fraction of the "legitimate" apps are barely better than spam. Most of the best freemium and gatcha games are pretty terrible, and I can only imagine how bad the bad stuff is.
Fortunately, there's a filter that can exclude free apps on Google Play. Seems to me, especially in the games department, it behooves you to turn that on. If you do, you generally won't be affected by psuedo spam or actual spam.
That being said, many illegitimate apps are based upon pure misrepresentation. It sounds like that is the type of app that Google's press release was targeting, rather than the nebulous area where most people have differing opinions on what is legit or otherwise.
How did you think gift card scammers cashed them out?
There wasn't anything rude there. Merely pointing out an overlooked facet.
Rude would be sprinkling in "What are you, daft? Never been out of your bubble?", or a similar insult on the end.
Unfortunately, the money laundering scene being what it is today, I wouldn't be surprised if more than a few mobile games were nothing but thinly veiled links in a laundering scheme. I certainly see enough game clones nowadays that are nothing but ad delivery frameworks with a thin veneer of genuine artistic credibility tacked on top that I can see games have shifted from being true labors of love to financial instruments.
The Socratic method of questioning is not rude. It won't make you many friends; but it isn't rude.
I had the displeasure of publishing a few client apps recently. The pointless bureaucracy of it all reminded me of the worst interactions I ever had with the government and banking establishments.
Apple: rejected, we couldn't find the Apple Pay feature
Me: it's on the checkout screen
Apple: ok then, accepted
At least Apple has a pretty fast turnaround.
Despite all this theatre, both app stores have become wastelands of broken and scammy apps to the point I never go there unless via direct link from a trusted outside source.
So basically you're installing apps from links on web-pages on the open web, like back in the days on desktop PCs.
But on all platforms they are now increasingly forcing those links to be in walled garden app-stores, which restricts both the user and developer.
I really hope some anti-trust verdict comes tearing those walls down, and then we can go back to just linking to our apps again.
I have seen absolutely absurd cases of apps being deleted from the store for completely bogus reasons. Their bots make wild assumptions of wrong doing and are judge, jury and executioner.
Legit, no (known) spam, 7y old, educational .. and destroyed by bots
I've seen many awesome presentations from GDC. There should be an awesomelist collecting these.
I can't say that I understand the scale of moderating the PlayStore and as others have mentioned, this blogpost is vague with its numbers. Judging by what I can see, the current system is not doing enough.
With a more aggressive speed of 1 review per hour and a USA based review team, you are looking at a team of about 60 reviewers. At $60k per reviewer, you are talking $3.6m.
Hardly a big ask for a company with annual revenue over $180 billion, making $30 billion in revenue from Play Store alone.
I think your message pretty much gets to the same place though:
* Could Google do manual checks for appeals? Yes - absolutely. Even if it costs them $30 million to review, this is still tiny in the scheme of things (c0.01% of app store revenue). Never mind the fact that these developers had to pay to be on the platform in the first place.
* Would it be best for Developers if Google did it? Yes, it would give developers a chance to appeal and lower the number of absolute horror stories we hear.
* Does Google want to do it? No, because Google only cares about profit and doing the minimum it can get away with.
This of course assumes they aren't just stealing credit card numbers and using those to sign up. In that case the higher account price is not much of a barrier.
Another way to look at this is Google made $2.4M off of these spammer accounts. Not a lot for a Google sized company, but it's still not nothing.
At that point, it only hurts legitimate indy devs who aren't gaming the system.
Well, it would also be hurting all the unprofitable spammers and the spammers who aren’t willing to gamble with $100 to begin with. Like everything, there are just trade offs rather than good vs bad extremes.
Google is a one time payment.
I think a developer reputation system is much better and far cheaper for Google.
Never, ever underestimate the determination of someone in need of a way to economically do nefarious things. Financial barriers are no barrier at all if you do it right. Tenbux is more for presenting a barrier to anyone without access to a digital payment medium than anything else.
And it filters the rest.
> you shut out every aspiring app writer/contributor with a decent idea who is strapped for cash
Lots of hobbies are expensive. There are plenty of avenues left for a cash strapped developer overflowing with ideas to explore.
If this is a goal, reduce the number of scams, then OK. If the goal is to reduce the percentage of people scammed or how much scammers extract from the platform, I'm not convinced those are met. And that's even before talking about the other sides of the tradeoff.
It's always been an ecosystem bribe.
Got a source for the bulk verified apple developer accounts?
Unless you're talking other places that shall not be named; in which case those have a very different kind of gatekeeping to be concerned about.
There is just isn't a "free and can distribute apps" tier. If you want to put an app in the store you need to get verified.
$25 and no prepaid cards