Home » World » Paytm alleges arm-twisting by Google – world news

Paytm alleges arm-twisting by Google – world news

Home grown digital financial services firm Paytm on Sunday charged internet giant Google of “arm-twisting” and forcing it to roll back a UPI cashback campaign which is legal in India.

Google said that offering cashbacks and vouchers alone do not constitute a violation of Google Play gambling policies and in case of repeat violation its may even terminate Google Play developer accounts.

Paytm in a blog alleged that Google Pay has been running similar cricket-based promotions “but a different set of rules apply to Google’s own apps”.

Google had blocked Paytm on its Play store following a policy update on September 18, ahead of the IPL cricket tournament, to disallow apps that support any unregulated gambling but restored the mobile app after a few hours after it rolled back the campaign.

Paytm said that it was forced to comply with Google’s mandate to remove the UPI cashback and scratch cards campaign to get re-listed on the Android Play Store.

“Offering both is legal in India, and cashback was being given following all rules and regulations set by the government,” Paytm said.

When contacted, a Google spokesperson said that offering cashbacks and vouchers alone do not constitute a violation of our Google Play gambling policies.

The spokesperson said that last week Google reiterated Play Store gambling policies which bars online casinos or support any unregulated gambling apps that facilitate sports betting, “including daily fantasy sports in India”.

“We enforce our policies very thoughtfully to provide a safe and secure experience for consumers, while also giving developers the platform and tools they need to build sustainable businesses. In the case of repeated policy violations, we may take more serious action which may include terminating Google Play Developer accounts. Our policies are applied and enforced on all developers consistently,” Google spokesperson said.

Paytm said that its gaming subsidiary, Paytm First Games can conveniently do a paid promotion on Google-owned YouTube but it is not allowed to do the same advertisement on the Paytm app as per Google Policy.

“We have been prompt and responsible in solving Google’s concerns and comply with their directions. Google’s recent action on the delisting of the Paytm app because of a UPI cashback campaign is unjustified. We reiterate that our cashback campaign was within guidelines, and there was no violation,” Paytm said.

It added that as a country India should not beholden to such tech giants.

The digital payments firm alleged that it was “arm-twisted” by the search engine major to comply with its biased app Play Store policies “that are meant to artificially create Google’s market dominance.”

Paytm in the blog said that Google Pay has started its Tez Shots Campaign which clearly says, “Score Runs to earn assured rewards worth up to Rs 1 lakh” at the beginning of this cricket season itself.

The Tez Shots participants who qualify for a lucky draw through which they get assured tickets up to Rs 1 lakh with any qualifying payment, Paytm said in a blog.

“Presumably, such cashback campaigns of Google Pay are not in breach of play store policies, or maybe they are, but a different set of rules apply to Google’s own apps,” the digital payments firm said.

Paytm said that it launched a campaign on September 11 where users could collect cricket stickers and scratch cards to earn UPI cashback.

The offer was applicable on recharges, utility payments, UPI money transfers, and adding money to wallet and on September 18 at 11:30 AM, the company received the first email from Google Play Support informing that the Paytm Android app had been delisted.

Vijay Shekhar Sharma-run digital payments firm alleged that it was not given any opportunity to respond to their concerns or put forth views.

“We maintain that our promotional campaign was within guidelines, and there was no violation. It was also not related to gambling in any manner whatsoever,” Paytm added its blog.

Paytm said the Google Play Support team had written to them on three occasions–on August 20, August 28 and on September 1, with some concerns on a separate matter of Paytm First Games’ promotion through the Paytm app for some alleged previous “policy violations”.

“While we strenuously disagreed with the allegation that we are breaching the policy (and we disagree with the policy itself too), we immediately complied with the diktat that barred us from promoting our gaming subsidiary,” it stated in the blog.

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