You may be one of half a billion Android app users who has been deceived by DO Global on several of their mobile apps.
Google is in the process of removing all the Android apps DO Global hosted on the play store for committing ad fraud. The app developer — which is partly owned by Chinese giant Baidu who owns 34% of its stakes — hosted some 100 android apps out of which the search engine has removed 46 along with their ownership details, BuzzFeed reports.
The report further indicates that the remaining app from the developer will also go offline in the coming days.
DO Global that has more than 600 million downloads registered on the Play Store deceived its users through 6 of its apps that used a hidden code for clicking on the advertisements making it appears as if users were clicking in real.
The apps used simple names like Selfie Camera and Total Cleaner that are commonly searched on the Play Store by Android users. DO Global also concealed the ownership details of the controversial apps under the disguise of generic developer names such as “Pic Tools Group” and “Photo Artist Studio.”
Apart from cancellation of apps from the Play Store, DO Global also seems to have lost registration from Google’s AdMob network that means, the developer will not be able to advertise its products on Google’s owned ad network.
On the 27th of April, the company confessed about its misleading and unlawful practices. A public statement which is also present on its website states, “In the past week, we have noticed a series of reports about our apps by the media. We fully understand the seriousness of the allegations. As such, we immediately conducted an internal investigation on this matter. We regret to find irregularities in some of our products’ use of AdMob advertisements. Given this, we fully understand and accept Google’s decision. Moreover, we have actively cooperated with them by doing a thorough examination of every app involved”.
As per Google’s policies, it takes such deceiving acts seriously, but usually, it doesn’t go harsh with major app developers. It hasn’t been unearthed yet as to how much financial benefit the fraudster enjoyed over the period.