Google is banning a Chinese app developer CooTek from the play store and also from its ad platforms, according to the BuzzFeed. A security company has provided evidence in this regard, that its apps continued to bombard users with disruptive ads even after the company claimed it had stopped the behavior. CooTek is based in Shangai which is traded on the New York Stock Exchange and had hundreds of Android apps in the Play store, including the popular TouchPal keyboard apps.
Moreover, more than 60 of its app have been removed from the play store. CooTek is now completely banned from Google’s lucrative ad platforms. After this story was published CooTek issued a press release in which the company explained that its apps have been temporarily disabled from Google platform. CooTek knows that its ability to attract new users and generate revenue from Google Admob may be adversely affected. The actions taken by Google will not be going to affect CooTek’s current users or their ability to apps.
CooTek is the second major Chinese app developer to receive a ban from Google this year. In April, all apps from Do Global, a developer with half a billion installs and tries to e-commerce giant Baidu, were removed after it was revealed that the company was committing ad fraud and violating other Google policies. Last year, Google also removed hugely popular apps from Chinese companies Cheetah Mobile and Kika Tech after BuzzFeed News reported on them engaging in ad fraud.
Google has decided to ban the CooTek app last month when security company Lookout publicly revealed that 238 of the company’s apps contained an adware plug-in, BeiTaAd. This plug-in also triggered the disputive ads when a phone was asleep, locked, or in other cases when a CooTek app was not in use.
In response, CooTek apologized and said it removed the plug-in and uploaded new, clean versions of its apps. Google accepted those apps back into the Play store, effectively confirming they were safe. However, the evidence obtained by BuzzFeed News and Lookout showed that 58 of the updated apps contained old as well as new code that helped them continue the same malicious ad activity. The BeiTaAd plug-in was gone, but the ads remained, according to Lookout’s review of the updated apps in question.
In multiple Email messages previous to the ban, the company denied the fact of updated apps engaged in malicious ad activity, and disputed Lookout’s new analysis. The company reiterated this denial in its press release. App development and monetization is the core of CooTek business, the action by Google will have a significant impact on its revenue outside of China, though its iOS apps remain available in Apple’s App Store as no issues have been reported with those versions.