back to article JavaScript developers left in the dark after DroidScript software shut down by Google over ad fraud allegations

On the last day of March, DroidScript, a popular Android app for writing JavaScript code, had its Google advertising account suspended and a week later was removed from the Google Play Store for alleged ad fraud. David Hurren, founder of the non-profit and of SoftCogs Ltd, a UK-based software firm, is baffled …

  1. jonfr

    Nobody works at Google anymore

    Nobody works at Google that handle this type of problems. The company is today just people that run stuff and nothing else. The rest is just stupid A.I bots that have two functions. Approve and ban in most cases.

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Nobody works at Google anymore

      We got DoSed by a malconfigured Google server a few years back (according to the ISP, they was around 1gbps coming in through their perimeter and we had a 10mbps line).

      The abuse and webmaster mail accounts have a "prerecorded" message, stating that the email has been automatically been deleted and emails to these accounts are never read.

      I tried calling them, I got bumped around their phone system for 20 minutes, before being spat out, after having heard that I should, "go to the relevant part of the Google website that deals with issue." Unfortunately, I couldn't find any part of the Google website that dealt with them DOSing your network...

      Twitter wasn't any help either. No response from any of the official Google accounts.

      In the end, we managed to get a month's worth of DoS support from our ISP, which blocked the Google IP address at their perimeter. We were switching ISPs anyway, so we forced the switch through ahead of plan. The old line was still active for another 4 months. After 3 months, I plugged a PC into the modem for that line and... Google was still flooding the IP address.

      1. David 132 Silver badge

        Re: Nobody works at Google anymore

        The abuse and webmaster mail accounts have a "prerecorded" message, stating that the email has been automatically been deleted and emails to these accounts are never read.

        That, right there, tells you what disdain Google have for the niceties of being a good Internet citizen.

        No, I’m sure the relevant RFC doesn’t mandate that the abuse@ and postmaster@ addresses are staffed 24x7 with a 15-minute SLA, but even so - “we have these addresses for the look of the thing but you might as well be dropping meringues into a black hole for all the good emailing them will do” just shows a complete lack of courtesy.

    2. Timo

      Re: Nobody works at Google anymore

      The money that is being made by these companies is built up of bazillions of users multiplied by pennies per user. As long as everything works (for the company, primarily) then its all great. But as soon as you have a problem you're not worth supporting, and its then up to you to try to fix it yourself and hopefully post what you did to fix it as free tech support.

      What did you expect for free after all? I keep coming back to that old saying "if you aren't paying for it then you're not the customer, you're the product".

      This last wave of internet innovations has been driving even more cost out of the system, to the point where "customers" are becoming part of the cost side of the equation.

      1. teknopaul Silver badge

        Re: Nobody works at Google anymore

        You have no rights because its free, is not a valid argument for a monopoly to make.

  2. RobThBay

    I wrote an app several years ago to help students learn Canadian Railway signals. It didn't ask for any info and it didn't have any ads.

    After year or so Google suspended the app declaring it was malicious. No explanation and nothing I could do about it.

    Maybe Google didn't like the app because there weren't any ads??

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge

      for the few things I've written, I just make a downloadable APK available.


      (too bad you can't [easily] do this with Apple)

    2. noobCritter

      Actually this thread of should go to anti-trust evidence. In fact I really am surprised that governments haven't put out ads requesting dirt on these companies and their abuses of market position before they brought anti-trust charges.

  3. cantankerous swineherd

    google are bringing a competitor out?

    1. cantankerous swineherd

      had a quick go with it, running a server over wifi that seemingly can't be turned off once you've started it isn't a good look.

      edit: now it's offering to open sparse rss links...

      1. Joe W Silver badge

        .... well... if you download it from dubious sources...

        the original app was suspended, as far as I understand, so should not be available through the official channels, right?

      2. Mandroid

        Closing the app shuts down the (IDE) server. The server is also password protected.

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge

      sadly, you may be too accurate with your snark...

      (Micros~1 used to clone ideas and bundle them with DOS/Windows. Stacker sued and won, though...)

  4. Mike 137 Silver badge

    Never ascribe to malice what can be explained by stupidity

    Once any organisation reaches a certain critical size (described by Hewlett or Packard - not sure which - as the point where identity badges are necessary) it always gets increasingly unresponsive to everything except the balance sheet. I think it's primarily due to the inertia of large masses and breakdown of internal communication rather than any specific devious intent or purpose. In effect, organisations on such scales become stupid.

    Behemoths such as Gooooooooooooooooooooogle are so far beyond that threshold that there's no warranty of a rational reason for anything they do.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Never ascribe to malice what can be explained by stupidity

      Yes, but they should be accountable. Their effective monopoly (there is no real competition for Android app stores) needs to be broken if they can't do the job.

    2. tekHedd

      You wouldn't shake a baby...

      Not stupidity: negligence. Negligence might as well be malice. If you neglect your baby and it comes to harm, don't expect special treatment just because "it wasn't malice."

      In terms of power imbalance the situation is very similar. We are helpless.

  5. _LC_


    Anyone spotted anything “kafkaesque” in relation to a certain disease lately?

    Obey your masters and shut up!

    1. vtcodger Silver badge

      Re: Kafkaesque

      Franz Kafka lived a century too early. From the IMDb review of The Castle.

      "A land surveyor is summoned to a village to work, yet finds that nobody knows who sent for him. As he tries to understand what is happening, he is blocked at every turn by bureaucratic Kafkaesque obstacles and officials."

      Perhaps it is time for a new term -- "Googlesk"

  6. AstroCam

    Google is about making money. It is why they track you and sell your data to advertising. I am sure that any program that limits this will not be welcome on their sales platform. Also, we remember the story about the guy who made Terreria. He got banned but unlike Droid script just said. okay not publishing a successful game on this rather flimsy game streaming platform which needs all the games it can get. Outcome his account came back as they wanted to make money from him. Similarly I had a rather minor you tube channel which they shut me out of. It was a reasonably successful folk channel. When I was locked out of it due to a fight between my isp and google I could no longer access my account. There was no comeback at all. That is google for you. Say one thing do another.

    1. Kane Silver badge

      "It was a reasonably successful folk channel."

      I think we've identified the problem right there!

  7. Wolfclaw

    Google are similar to many companies, take for example Wargaming, if their is no monetary value from its customers, it doesn't care, listen or bother to fix anything, just rollout the next patch/update to milk the whales for cash.

  8. Blofeld's Cat

    The computer says no ...

    There seems to be a growing trend amongst even small companies to completely stonewall any enquiries, requests, error reports or complaints.

    I recently had a medium-sized parts order unexpectedly cancelled by a company I have dealt with for many years.

    Their web site took the order and payment in the usual way, but the goods didn't arrive and the order disappeared from the "past orders" list. All very strange, especially as this was a repeat order for items they have supplied many times before.

    When I eventually managed to contact their sales people, they confirmed their web site was "working correctly" and that they had the necessary items in stock, they could not however explain why the order had failed, only that it had been silently cancelled by "the system". They did however return my money, which was nice.

    It also turns out that since they were bought out by a larger company, orders below a certain value can only be placed through their web site and not via the sales office.

    A second attempt a few days later was again cancelled by "the system". Fortunately I could (and did) purchase the parts elsewhere.

    1. Andy Non

      Re: The computer says no ...

      I had similar issues with Maplin putting barriers in the way of purchasing items via their website. They just didn't want my money so I bought elsewhere. They went bust a year later.

      1. Julian 8

        Re: The computer says no ...

        So you're to blame ?

        1. Andy Non

          Re: The computer says no ...

          Must be. :-) No, it think it was just indicative of Maplin's poor management and poor business practices in general. They used to be moderately better in the days before the internet and their big catalogues with the sci-fi covers.

          1. RegGuy1 Silver badge

            Re: The computer says no ...

            Ah Maplin. In their later years (when they had stores everywhere) you'd go in to buy something and all their sales droids would try to up-sell you something. Oh, I see you are buying solder, for a few pence more you can have this -- wouldn't you like that instead? And then this goes well with it (sort of what Amazon does now but via a bot).

            Then, at the till, they'd demand to know you're postcode. Living in Manchester I'd invariably give them a Scottish one. :-)

            Ah Maplin -- I miss them (not).

  9. RyokuMas

    Pretty obvious...

    "We are a development tool, so we support a lot of functionality and access almost every Android API on behalf of our users..."

    Probably Google has some kind of competing tooling in the pipeline and wants to eliminate the competition...

  10. Howard Sway Silver badge

    A horrid early warning of our soon-to-be-controlled-by-AI-gatekeepers world

    As a result of insisting that everything has to be done through their app stores, the big behemoths of content and apps must be deluged every day by masses of malicious and other forms of unacceptable crap. Having no way to manage this other than with automated admission systems, everybody who wants to get in to the magic walled garden must now have to struggle to fight through the crowd and will be rejected all too easily, as these purported "AI" systems are far less intelligent than claimed and hoist plenty of wrong warning flags. And when they slam the door on you there will be no explanation and no second chance.

    Be certain that this is the way everything is going, from interaction with authorities to buying your weekly shop. Once this starts affecting everyone, there is going to be one hell of a "Smash The AI" luddite reaction breaking out everywhere. But the competition to become the new gatekeepers will be so fierce that we have little chance of doing anything about it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A horrid early warning of our soon-to-be-controlled-by-AI-gatekeepers world

      So 2025 is going to be shit then.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    When they have their monopoly broken...

    ...they'll only have themselves to blame.

    Yes, I know there are iPhones, and alternate android stores, but they are effectively a monopoly, and if they can't behave responsibly, they need to lose it.

  12. xyz Silver badge

    Have said this before...

    They've gone from " Do no evil" to "Dr No evil"

    1. MrReynolds2U

      Re: Have said this before...

      Or perhaps from "do no evil" to "see no evil"

      1. amanonthestreet

        Re: Have said this before...

        Or they've just added a comma:

        no, do evil.

        1. Steve Goodey

          Re: Have said this before...

          do no good?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Have said this before...

            We're evil. Give us all your money.

            You won't? Well based on your Internet[1] use our bots have put this blackmail letter together...

            [1] On my hobby horse, but there is only one Internet, so it must be a proper noun and requires a capital letter. Don't believe me? This guy told me:

  13. Muskiier

    There's nobody listening

    There really is nobody sentient at the other end. Just last week I wasted time following incorrect Google Map directions going to a long-established local business. When I finally got there and apologized for being late and why, the owner told me "a lot of people tell us that, and we've contacted Google but we just get a canned response". This isn't the first business in our area with the same story.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I was suspended from Adsense with no explanation and they would not respond to any enquiry. There is no appeal process. I was informed a couple of days before payday. I lost that payment and the money due for the ads served in the previous month. So yes, this happens, quite a lot, and you don’t tend to hear about it unless it’s a bigger player or someone sprays bullets at an office building. Dismissal without appeal hurts lots of people. There is no accountability. See

  15. Claptrap314 Silver badge

    The bottom line (the bottom line)

    When the only thing they attend to is the bottom line, then the bottom line is that your bottom is on the line. A strange game--the only winning move is not to play.

    I saw this when the iPhone came out. Google's actually worse because they started with an open platform and used automation to address the inevitable morass of malware.

    Don't feed the beast.

  16. RegGuy1 Silver badge

    What! You use an App?

    Well more fool you. So now you are fully in the hands of Google. Serves you right!

    Just use the browser[1]. Create your web interface and use that. Then you keep control. If you have to use Google's services[2] then be aware that Google can pull the plug on YOU at any time. If you don't use anything run by Google they can't fuck you over.

    The less you touch Google the better your life will be. But it seems a lot of people still have to learn this. Hey ho.

    [1] Lesson one: Not Chrome. NEVER CHROME! Note to all users: log into Google's play store and download Firefox. Then never ever go back to the play store. (Why can't Mozilla offer Firefox for Android outside of the play store?)

    [2] Do you really have to use Google's services? Jquery, for example, exists outside of Google.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: What! You use an App?

      While I have sympathy for Droidscript for many reasons, this is the correct response.

      That's why I never get tired of saying: how's that cloud thing working out for ya?

      Never, ever, rely on cloud anything. Use it, but never reply on it.

      People seem to have forgotten they have control. Build your OWN websites. Use your OWN PC, servers and local indie or municiple ISP (if you have one). NEVER give control to large companies like Google/MS/Apple/Cisco/Adobe/BT/ATT/etc. You WILL get screwed if you do.

      That was the whole damn point of PCs in the first place. Freedom and control for the average person..

      1. noobCritter

        Re: What! You use an App?

        Oof, I even forgot I could write a soley html and javascript webpage.

        But seriously, when 'skymind' is through with you you'll find that it probably isn't possible to hang from the clouds.

  17. noobCritter


    I had noticed a few comments in here that do tend to support a negative feeling I was experienciing towards the power that google wields (or attempts to convince us that it wields) apologies for typos in advance or hindsight, btw...

    So, here's a thing... I had written a little book and decided to add google as a distributor through the google play partner programme. The book had just been beginning to gain a little momentum after the third update (its a gaming strategy book so it updates 3-6 months after the game does) but this year, with money taken, google play suddenly disapproves the account requesting proof that I own the work That was the first time that anyone had requested any such thing from me.

    After doing a little 'googling', I realised that they seemed to be trying to push me towards nft'ing my work. A practice that I take issue with under the Consumer Protection Act.

    I strongly suspect that they own or are planning to buy up these nft companies at some point (similar to the IP wars of apple and samsung) as a tidy earner and want to bulk them up. If so, that would qualify as a corrupt business practice - do they call it racketeering in the US?!?

    Nevertheless, google claimed that my brand new book updates had been submitted by numerous parties but did not respond to requests for details or evidence of this. I was extremely angry since it would have been impossible for such an action to occur unless they had been compromised. I mean, a little indie person like me could never be a target for such activity.

    Either way, this action, with no warning, in a limited space for ebook distribution (paperbacks are distributed by another company) goes to show how their so called power can be abused.

    I wouldn't trust them with my proofs; will not declare my proofs unless someone tries to sue on copyright (unlikely) and it was never an issue until nfts became a thing.

    In my opinion, they should not let the phds out alone but instead milk them in the pasture and test their milk before declaring it fit for human consumption.

    I'm pretty sure there isn't a shallow mind that can read that one ;)

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