Physical contact address on Google Play

aaronk

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Hi,

Looks like Google now want everyone to know how to find you..

Anyone know why they added this?
(And I can't seem to find a place to enter this in, I guess this is coming soon)

Add a physical contact address Beginning September 30, 2014, you need to add a physical address to your Settings page. After you've added an address, it will be available on your app's detail page to all users on Google Play. If your physical address changes, make sure to update your information on your Settings page.

If you have paid apps or apps with in-app purchases, it's mandatory to provide a physical address where you can be contacted. If you don't provide a physical address on your account, it may result in your apps being removed from the Play Store.
 
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canalrun

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Has anybody else heard of this?

I did a Google search for multiword phrases from within the announcement shown above. I did not find any matches except for a site that looks like it was written half in Chinese and half in English.

If this is true, it would be a HUGE invasion of privacy. There is a very good reason why CEOs, celebrities, public officials, etc. don't publish a physical address other than their business address.

I'm certainly not going to maintain a business address so that I can sell $.99 apps on Google Play and I certainly don't want some drunken redneck stopping by my house with a shotgun because the $.99 app he bought doesn't lay golden eggs.

Anyone hear of this?

Barry.
 

aaronk

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I guess I don't need to wait for a email saying my app doesn't work, I just need to wait for them to knock on the door.

I got this information from the Google Play Developer Console under the Announcements section:

physical contact address1.PNG
 

udg

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I don't publish on Google Play, but just in case I would use their headquarters' physical address ;)

udg
 

corwin42

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Google makes it harder and harder for private people to publish apps.

I don't have a company address and won't give them my private address to make it publicly available on the PlayStore.
 

LWGShane

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Looks like I'm selling from my website, where I'll have 100% control.

Thanks for caring, Google. I care too ;)
 

nwhitfield

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Presumably this is only mandatory for paid apps? It's certainly pretty annoying, but I suspect it's not entirely Google's fault.

For example, in the England and Wales we the Business Names Act 1985, which requires that any business covered has to provide in documents and on request, the names of the relevant people, together with an address at which documents may be served. There are some exceptions, for example, if you are carrying out business on your own, in your own name, so I could do business as "Nigel Whitfield" as a sole trader (as, in fact, I do) but if I were to add anything else, like "Nigel Whitfield Apps" then I would fall under the requirements of the Act and would have to

state in legible characters on all business letters, written orders for goods or services to be supplied to the business, invoices and receipts issued in the course of the business and written demands for payment of debts arising in the course of the business

(...)
in relation to each person so named, an address in Great Britain at which service of any document relating in any way to the business will be effective;

I'm pretty certain that, effectively, is a requirement to give people my home address, since any lawyer turning up at the post office to server a document on my PO Box is going to be completely ineffective.

Now, clearly, Google is going a little further than our Business Names Act, in requiring that information on the web page, though actually not much further than the legal requirement that it would have to be given on demand anyway. And, of course, in applying it to everyone, they are removing the exception we have in law for a person trading just under their name.

But that's the English and Welsh law; as often happens in situations like this, Google has very probably looked at the legislation in a number of countries where they operate, and decided that complying with the strictest will ensure that they comply with them all.

It's certainly very annoying, but I wouldn't necessarily put the blame at Google's door on this one. Rather, it's a case of legislation - like the BNA, and similar rules in other countries - not really having caught up at all with a shift in how people create businesses. Not so long ago, as sole trader would generally do business in person, meeting clients, and be readily contactable via a shopfront, or a phone number, because that was the only way to get business.

Things like the app economy (and people who make their living on eBay) have changed that, and there are now many thousands of people who are trading electronically with people all around the world. Many of them probably aren't even aware that there are requirements like the Business Names Act in their country, and their legislators are struggling to keep up with such seismic shifts in the workplace.

It's definitely annoying, but more likely to do with Google trying to find a way to comply with out of date rules around the world than a deliberate attempt to lock out small programmers.
 

LucaMs

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I do not even think it is a conspiracy against the small programmers.

But I think that Google will step back: we have just begun a period in which people want to delete their personal information from the Internet, and it shall make these requests!
 

LWGShane

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@nwhitfield :

Complying with laws is good, however, a better solution would be for Google to have the Play Store be the Merchant of Record, just like the Apple and Microsoft stores. Then that way we wouldn't need to publicly list our address.

It's the publicly displaying that I don't agree with.
 

nwhitfield

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I agree it's not helpful; but I suspect that it's probably out of their hands, to a degree, in attempting to comply with the needs of countless jurisdictions.

They act simply as an agent and payment processor; if they were to be the actual vendor, then in the UK at least, they'd also be the person with whom each buyer had a contract, and so be liable in various ways. Given the shocking customer service I had when I ordered my Nexus tablet, I would imagine that they are trying very hard indeed to avoid having any responsibility towards customers at all, and would be most unwilling to actually assume any more than they have to.

It seems to me that what is really needed is a way for a 'micro business' to be registered, with minimal ongoing costs, in such a way that it provides a legal address at which papers can be served, without all the other tedious requirements.

I note that the page quoted above simply says "a physical address at which you can be contacted" which, I presume, means a PO Box doesn't apply, but I wonder if, say, a solicitor's office would. In the UK, for instance, it is common practice for a company's registered address to be that of their accountant, and the requirement in law is that the address be effective for the service of any document.

This may perhaps be an opportunity for enterprising accountants and/or lawyers to offer a cut price service for small traders or micro businesses. There are services around there - I just did a quick search and found some at between £20 and £80 a year for service of HMRC documents alone - but I imagine many people would much prefer to keep this at the lower end, especially if they're a sole trader, and include other mail
 
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aaronk

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Since they are going display our address publicly hopefully we get the address of the people buying our apps.

Hopefully Google give developers new things in the developer console such as promo codes etc or even reduce the 30% share in our sales in return for showing our addresses.

It wouldn't be fair that they publicly show our address and we get nothing in return.
 

Andy Barker

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I've recently bought B4A to write some specific apps to go on the Play Store, and I'm going to reconsider my options with this new requirement. I do have the benefit of being able to charge for a web service that the apps could use, but I was planning on having some low cost options that didn't require the web service. I guess the Amazon Store, or direct downloads of APKs are options (but not as appealing as the Play Store for obvious reasons).

I'm going to wait and see if things change before proceeding with the paid options.
 

eps

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Since they are going display our address publicly hopefully we get the address of the people buying our apps.

Hopefully Google give developers new things in the developer console such as promo codes etc or even reduce the 30% share in our sales in return for showing our addresses.

It wouldn't be fair that they publicly show our address and we get nothing in return.

You get their address already...
 

LucaMs

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I've recently bought B4A to write some specific apps to go on the Play Store, and I'm going to reconsider my options with this new requirement. I do have the benefit of being able to charge for a web service that the apps could use, but I was planning on having some low cost options that didn't require the web service. I guess the Amazon Store, or direct downloads of APKs are options (but not as appealing as the Play Store for obvious reasons).

I'm going to wait and see if things change before proceeding with the paid options.


I wonder if you can post a free app on Google Play which has the only (or almost only) purpose to advertise our own app to sell on a personal website.

Moreover, there are apps that are just advertise, such as this one, for example.
 

aaronk

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You get their address already...
How ?

In Google Play I don't see how I can find this, and in the Google wallet all I see is the post/Zip code and which country they are from.
It used to show me the customers name, but now it doesn't. (hasn't for a while now)
 
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