In a surprise move, Google removed popular payments app Paytm from the Play Store on Friday. While the app got reinstated on the same day, Paytm published a blog post this weekend explaining its version of the whole app takedown situation.
In its blog post, Paytm says the company was forced to comply with Google’s order to remove UPI cashback offer and scratch cards to be back on the Play Store. The company went on to say that all Indian internet companies will be familiar with such situations due to ‘similar arm-twisting’ and ‘fear of Google’s dominance’.
According to Paytm, the incident started on September 11 when it launched a campaign dubbed ‘Paytm Cricket League’. Paytm Cricket League lets users collect stickers and scratch cards for earning UPI cashback. The company alleges that Google de-listed Paytm without even offering the company a chance to respond.
Paytm claims to have received an email on September 18 at 11:30 AM informing the takedown. “Your app contains content that doesn’t comply with the Gambling policy as it offers games with “loyalty” (e.g. engagement or activity) points that (1) are accrued or accelerated via real-money purchases which (2) can be exchanged for items or prizes of real-world monetary value,” reads the email.
Paytm believes its UPI cashback & scratch cards campaign doesn’t violate Google’s guidelines. The company mentions that driving traffic or promoting fantasy sports is not gambling. Moreover, the firm points out that Google runs similar campaigns such as ‘Tez Shots’ on Google Pay.
Google has responded to this blog post saying cashback and vouchers don’t result in a ban. “Offering cashbacks and vouchers alone do not constitute a violation of our Google Play gambling policies. Last week we reiterated our Play Store gambling policies. Our policies don’t allow online casinos or support any unregulated gambling apps that facilitate sports betting, including daily fantasy sports in India,” said a Google spokesperson.