If you feel like handing out fist-bumps today, save one for Google, which is cracking down on shady ad practices by Android app developers. Google already has several policies in place that restrict overly annoying ad implementations, though up until now, developers were free to splash the lockscreen with ads. And they have been doing exactly that, but no more, thanks to a new policy.
Over in Google's Developer Policy Center, there is a Disruptive Ads policy in the Monetization and Ads section that states ads may only be placed inside of an app.
"Ads should not be shown in a way that results in inadvertent clicks. Forcing a user to click an ad or submit personal information for advertising purposes before they can fully use an app is prohibited. Interstitial ads may only be displayed inside of the app serving them. If your app displays interstitial ads or other ads that interfere with normal use, they must be easily dismissable without penalty," the policy states.
In the example above, the ad on the lockscreen does not have a dismiss button or a clear means of closing it out. It also takes up nearly the entire screen and interferes with normal use. This is exactly the type of thing Google is cracking down on with its new policy, and going forward, app developers are not allowed to implement ads in this manner.
This sort of thing has been a growing problem as of late. Apps such as ES File Explorer, Hotspot Shield VPN, and others had been annoying users with nearly full-screen overlays on the lockscreen, after updating to the latest version. That might be somewhat tolerable if the apps themselves were custom lockscreens, but that is not the case.
Google's rule change is a welcome one, and hopefully it enforces the policy with swift bans from the Play Store when a developer breaks the rules.
Thumbnail Image Source: Wikimedia Commons via Nickolas Titkov