There sure has been a lot of hoopla around this #AdBlock  and +Google Play removing them from the play store.. But I wanted to give a view from a 3rd party developer who WAS affected by AdBlock (in a negative manner) :

 see ( https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/03/google-censoring-android-apps )..

I don't use ad block, and am not really bothered by advertisements. But I am a developer of an app on the market, which has our users log in and play a game. We try to secure our data as much as possible, and step one for that is using SSL for all our data transmission. 

To clarify - we have a free app, and don't serve any advertisements  So we should not be affected by ad-blockers.

On February 12th of last month, we got a couple support emails from a user of our app that they were no longer able to log in via cellular data.. But they were able to log in when on wifi. I thought this quite strange, and wondered if there was some strange routing issue from overseas to our data center.. 

I had him do a few things like visiting our website, which had no issues doing from mobile.. So I decided to package up a debug build of our app, add some additional logging to try and get to the bottom of the issue. One of the debugs prints out to the logs, the full response back that we get when doing a https connection. The https connection was not 'failing' but the data coming back was not getting parsed.. After getting the logs back, and spending several hours going back and forth helping the end user reproduce this, going over the logs etc.. I saw that there was some proxy (going from memory on the name - pretty sure it was squid or something similar) that was returning a response, basically saying that https was not configured for the proxy. I asked the user if they had any anti-virus/ad blocking installed, and they responded, they had AdBlock installed. They went ahead and disabled it (not sure if they uninstalled it), and poof, it worked.. The user could log into our servers again..

When I heard Google removed some apps which were ad blocking, I was pretty happy to hear the news, and a bit torn.. Like most people out there, we like the Play store to be the wild west.. We don't have to get our apps approved, and have lengthy waits to have updates show up.. We just publish and we are done! I have been doing Android development since 1.0 and have seen all kinds of changes. Some I agree with, others I don't.. I have to think we lost a little bit of the wild west.. But then again.. Maybe the Sheriff just showed up to try and keep the riff-raff to a minimum. 

In the case of AdBlock Plus. I saw a post from someone in one of my circles linking to their G+ page.. I went there and left them a comment about how it (AdBlock Plus) broke our user experience. They basically responded, by saying that they have a bug, and they were going to be rolling out a fix in 2-3 weeks.

THIS is why Google removed them (IMHO).. They have had a bug in their software for at LEAST one month. They know about the bug, and still were not planning on rolling out an update for 2-3 more weeks.. That is just not playing nice in the Google Sandbox. 

The whole point about the self governance in the Play store was that apps which performed negatively (used too much cpu/battery,  deleted / changed / stole contacts, sent spam messages, sent expensive texts), would be self governed by people giving the bad apps 1* ratings. 

After all, apps are not supposed to be able to affect other apps in a negative manner outside the scope of the public APIs which Google has provided, documented, and done numerous presentations/blog posts about. 

For the most part, it is pretty tough for one app to screw up another app, without giving itself away.. (think notification advertisements where you can now check app-info and see which app posted the advertisement -- these apps bother me, are usually installed by my kids when I am not looking, and usually get uninstalled, and sometimes a 1* review).. But these ad-blockers using proxies, and breaking other 3rd party apps ended up giving THOSE apps the 1* rating. This undermines almost all the self governance of the Play store..

Now, one other note on this whole proxy thing.. Most users don't know WHAT a proxy is, or what it does. ( https://adblockplus.org/en/android-config#proxy ) has instructions on how to set one up.. But does not really describe what it is/does. (other than blocks your ads)..

What it does do, it gives AdBlock Plus, the ability to intercept, read, and take ANY data that you send over the internet. Not saying that they do this. But another rouge developer 'could' develop a legit ad blocking app with a proxy, and send copies of all the data passing back and forth through the proxy to their own servers, and they could mine it for contacts, passwords, bank account information etc. etc. etc.

THIS is also why IMHO Google did this.. For security..

Now.. To disprove why Google did not do it for the Advertising Revenue. 

Google, and other advertising networks make money from their Ads being shown to users. If the requests don't make it to them, they are not making as much money (but then again they are not really loosing money either - depending on your point of view).. 


SOLUTION For developers to make AdBlock irrelevant. 
A developer, such as myself, could have the option (which we did) to release our app with no advertisements at all (we were passionate about not using advertisements in our app). And we wanted to give it away.. We felt we could monetize in other manners. 

Had I been a developer which wanted to get paid for my app, by showing advertisements, I have a simple solution to people who were freeloading. If I really wanted to make my advertisement supported version, only available to those who actually showed advertisements (i.e. paid me for my app by being subjected to advertisements).. All I would need to do is have a way to query that my advertisements were actually getting shown. If they were getting blocked due to an AdBlocker, then I could limit the functionality of my app, or just close and let the user know that my app is advertising supported. They can buy the ad-free version from Play store, or continue to use the one with Advertising built in, but they need to disable the ad blocker to do so. 

One last thing I saw a few people saying that other rouge apps could delete contacts, steal this, suck cpu/battery, do that.. yes they could, they are probably lower profile apps which do it, and there are probably cases where Google has removed them from the Play store. Why did we not hear about them? Because they probably were trying to be bad Android Citizens, and did not want to bring attention to the fact they were trying to do so. 

Hopefully this gave a little bit different answer to why Google may have removed the app from the play store.. 
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