Paytm said in a statement, “This will be familiar to all Indian internet companies since they face similar arm-twisting and fear of Google’s dominance over India’s digital ecosystem every day.” This all was seen because on Sept. 18, it was temporarily removed from the Play Store. According to Google, this happened due to “repeated policy violations”. It was restored after some hours.
Paytm, on 11th Sept, introduced a scheme where users could collect stickers of cricket and scratch cards on making payment on its app through the Unified Payments Interface (UPI), which allows users to make transactions without needing any bank account details through its app. Users can then win cash backs when they collect a certain no. of stickers.
Google India spokesperson said in a statement, “Our policies don’t let online casinos or support unregulated gambling apps which promote sports betting and daily fantasy sports. We apply our policy after many studies to provide a safe experience for users, along with giving platform and tools needed to build sustainable businesses to the developers. If there is a case of repeated policy violations, we are ready to take more serious action which can include ending Google Play Developer accounts.”
According to Paytm, google informed with a notification on Sept 18, 11:30 am along with banning the app without giving any chance to defend and respond. Paytm said in its statement that “We did not violate any regulations and there is no rule- breakage, this scheme is not at all related to any gambling in any way.”
“Google’s very own payment app, Google pay, very frequently runs similar schemes in India,” Paytm said, pointing Google pay’s “Tez Shots” scheme. “Its already presumed that such cashback campaigns of google pay are not violating play store policies, or maybe they are, but a different set of rules apply to google pay as it is its own app.”
Google has been accused of such acts earlier too, of giving an unfair advantage to its own app. More than 95% of smartphone users in India use android phones, which is an operating system owned by Google- where Google is the only one who decides the rules for the app store. This argument that the rules are blurry doesn’t help. Paytm cannot advertise on its payments app but it can do so through Google’s search ad YouTube.