Paytm went through a roller-coaster of a ride late last week after its app was abruptly delisted from Google’s Android App Store. Although the Paytm App is back on the Android Play Store, the sudden action by Google is being perceived as heavy-handed by several Indian App Developers.
Google’s sudden removal and subsequent reinstatement of the Paytm App on Android Play Store has once again highlighted Google’s strongarm techniques, claimed the payments and financial services app. Paytm claims it was forced to comply with Google’s mandate of removing their UPI cashback offer and scratch cards to get re-listed. However, the company insists several internet companies continue to face similar arm-twisting and fear of Google’s dominance over India’s digital ecosystem every day.
Paytm’s UPI Cashback Campaign Similar To Google’s Techniques But Still Viewed As Violations Of Android App Policy?
Paytm has outlined the events that led to its app being delisted from the Google Play Store, the Android App repository. Android powers over 95% of smartphones in India, and Paytm is one of the popular and regularly used digital payment platforms. Paytm claims its app regularly features customer engagement campaigns, including cashback, contests, and several other online and time-bound events.
Earlier this month, Paytm launched a campaign where users could collect cricket stickers & scratch cards to earn UPI cashback. This offer was applicable to recharges, utility payments, UPI money transfers, and adding money to the Paytm wallet.
So Google basically took down @Paytm to promote its own Tez Shots? Have been bombarded with GPay's notifications daily. Tell me, how are the 2 campaigns different? @GoogleIndia @vijayshekhar https://t.co/9QgMyTybg1
— Jaymin Shah (@JayminSOfficial) September 18, 2020
Paytm claims the entire campaign completely abided by the local Indian laws governing online gambling. The company claims Google still delisted the Paytm app from the Google Play Store and subsequently sent an email to the company informing about the delisting. The email also highlighted the aspects which were found objectionable.
The delisting happened more than a week after the campaign went live. Moreover, Paytm claims Google did not give any opportunity to respond to their concerns or put forth their views. Paytm has further claimed that the campaign which Google found objectionable is not related to gambling in any manner whatsoever but was still termed as such and used as a reason to abruptly delist the app.
It is interesting to note that Google runs similar campaigns in India, claim Paytm. Incidentally, Google has a competing platform called Google Pay in India. Paytm noted Google Pay started its ‘Tez Shots’ campaign which clearly stated, “Score Runs to earn assured rewards worth up to Rs 1. lakh.” According to the steps of the game, a user can play as many times as they want. They earn vouchers that they can unlock at each milestone. Finally, they qualify for a lucky draw through which they get assured tickets up to Rs 1 lakh with any qualifying payment.
Paytm has openly raised doubts about Google’s alleged dual standards by stating such cashback campaigns of Google Pay are supposedly not in breach of Play Store policies, or maybe they are, but a different set of rules apply to Google’s own apps.
Paytm Back On Google Play Store But Without Its Gaming Subsidiary’s Campaign:
After the delisting, Paytm quickly removed the section that Google claimed was violating its terms and conditions. Immediately after, Google relisted the Paytm App. However, the methodology and actions do raise doubts about Google’s apparent strongarm techniques in forcing app developers to eliminate key aspects or components of their apps. Apparently, these supposedly offending sections are quite similar to the ones that are operational on Google’s own apps in the country.
— Pradeep Bhandari(प्रदीप भंडारी) (@pradip103) September 18, 2020
Paytm maintains Google’s recent action on the de-listing of the Paytm app owing to a cashback campaign is unjustified. The company has added that Google and its employees are making policies which are over and above the laws of the country, and are arbitrarily implementing them.