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Zomato and Swiggy withdraw in-app gamification features after Google’s notice


Days after removing Paytm from Play Store and restoring it within hours, Google has sent notices to online food ordering platforms – Zomato and Swiggy for violating its app store’s policies. The two companies have been promoting cashback schemes through fantasy sports features.

According to the Play Store’s policy, it doesn’t allow online casinos or support any unregulated gambling apps that facilitate sports betting. The platform had taken down Paytm app for some hours for violating its gambling policies. ET has reported the development first.

Zomato has confirmed that it received notice from Google, but it believes that the notice is unfair. “We believe that the notice is unfair, but we are a small company and have already realigned our business strategy to comply with Google’s guidelines. We will be replacing Zomato Premier League with a more exciting program by this weekend,” said Zomato’s spokesperson in a response to Entrackr’s queries.

The in-app gamification feature was withdrawn by Swiggy after the notice, but the company has declined to comment further on the issue. A separate query sent to Google remains unanswered. We will update the story as and when it responds.

Of late, Google has been facing backlash from Indian startup ecosystem for a new policy that requires apps with subscription bundling in education, health and fitness and other digital products and services to share 30% revenue. 

The policy will be effective for new apps from January 20, 2021, and September 20, 2021, for existing applications in these categories. While Google maintained that there is nothing new in the policy, several notable personalities including Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Vishal Gonal and Anand Lunia have been protesting against the revised policy.

In a response to Entrackr’s detailed questionnaire, Byju’s, Cure.Fit and Unacademy declined to comment on the impact of the new policy on 30% revenue sharing. To lobby and fight against policies by large platforms like Google and Facebook, startups and other stakeholders are also mulling to form a forum.

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