Sep 18 AT 4:18 PM Nick Sarafolean 26 Comments

Google’s insane new requirement forces app developers to list a physical address

google logo generic Image via: Robert Scoble with Creative Commons

In a new mandate, Google is requiring developers of paid apps or apps with in-app purchases to list a physical address on their app details page. Jared Rummler, of JRummy Apps, pointed out the change in a new Google+ post today. He included a screenshot of the new requirement informing developers that, as of September 30, developers of paid apps or apps with in-app purchases will need to include a physical mailing address in the app details section.

Google Developer Address Requirement

The requirement doesn’t give any sort of argument to support the new change, making it even more controversial. While Google has had access to developers’ addresses for a long time, they were only available to find if you purchased the app and then went into your Google Wallet account and looked at the details of the purchase. This new change makes it far easier for spammers and others to find a physical address for developers.

One of the issues surrounding the change is that developers already frequently get spam through email. Throwing a physical address out there in the open could cause spam to come to their home and even allow others to find them in their own home. Jared Rummler points out the example of this very week when a disgruntled customer emailed him, threatening his life because he believed that JRummy worked for the government and stole his personal information. That in itself is enough to turn you against the new requirement.

What are your thoughts on the change?

Source: JRummy (Google+)

A nerd at heart, Nick is an average person who has a passion for all things electronic. When not spending his time writing about the latest gadgets, Nick enjoys reading, dabbling in photography, and experimenting with anything and everything coffee. Should you wish to know more about him, you can follow him on Twitter @nsarafolean.

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  • Eli Gaffke

    GOOD! Maybe the threat off having some pissed off gamers coming to your home will help get rid of terrible apps like Flappy Bird!

  • Steve

    Google is a hypocrite in the worst way. To them, only they have a right to know everything about people’s personal information, then when another company wants the same thing, google crys about it. Google is a freedom hater

  • Captdago

    If your a developer who is taking payments either for the app or for features in the app, that makes you not only a developer, but a businessman. And like any business, you have to make available for public records your place of business. Google isn’t doing anything they’re not supposed to. Nothing wrong with having the address of some of these apps that screw people out of purchases.

  • Pete

    This title is outlandish as are the complaints about this. Google requires a SSN or tax id for you to sell apps. Adding you address to the mix is utterly unsurprising and not remotely an invasion of your privacy.
    If you are so concerned about it there are many options like getting a PO BOX, paying a coworking space for a mailbox, using a fictional address, or not selling your app through the app store and privately monetizing it.

    • John V.

      A P.O. is not a physical address so you can’t use that

    • Dave H

      Google isn’t going to print your SSN or Tax ID publicly in the store for hundreds of millions of people to see. We’d be fine with it if they just required having it, not posting it for everybody.

  • Jake

    Why is this “insane?” Interesting editorial spin by this website. It’s pretty standard in most parts of the world that businesses must have a legal address on record. You’re not considered a business if you have a free app, but if you charge a fee then you must have legal address. And like others have mentioned the developer’s address was always visible in your Google Wallet account. So calling this sensible change of policy “insane” is kind of insane itself.

    • John V.

      Screw other parts of the world, this should not affect Americans. How I wish another world war started then all of you will be asking us Americans for help, we will help because we always do but how I wish we didn’t and let you all perish.

      • thel0nerang3r

        You have personally helped the world in world wars? Otherwise, are you taking credit for the things other people have done.

  • a Linux dude

    Didn’t you get the memo? The media are officially Apple’s marketing arm now. The media are to hate anything from Google and love anything that starts with an “i” (M$ doesn’t matter in this particular market, perhaps it will when Broadwell hits around Christmas). Surely you’ve been paying attention to all the blogs, your local and national news on TV and radio, and so on where you hear about Apple every 5 minutes and Google every 5 weeks unless they’re getting investigated.

  • Tommy

    Why not? All the permissions these apps require from me, these devs already have all my personal info. Even it up!
    No seriously though, this is definitely a good thing. Makes the devs that put their work in the playstore a little more up standing. And also i agree with everyone above. Its more professional.

    • John V.

      Paying costumers (people who use our apps) already have access to the address, but now everyone will. Including businesses who want to advertise to developers who will fill my physical mail with crap am not even interested in.

      Oh, and an address is not required for free apps so all those free apps that have access to your private info get a free pass on this policy.

      • Spice

        Businesses still use mail for advertising?

  • Jim

    If you’re earning money from apps then you should be accountable, not anonymous. It’s long been a legal requirement for businesses to have physical addresses/contact details on their websites, I see no reason why people being paid for apps shouldn’t have to do the same.

  • tolucafreak

    Why would ‘indie’ devs be mad about this? The only reason they could be mad is A, that they are just scammers that make malicious apps or B, they just like to whine about absolutely everything. You’re a business trying to sell a product through a retailer understand that. I give Google props for this because this can scare away some of those dumb devs that create malicious apps.

    • Shane

      Yet the app stores on Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Nintendo, Sony, etc don’t have this requirement. Why? Because they’re the ones selling the apps themselves. All we get are royalty checks.

      Google is fucking evil. Google takes 30% of our sales, so their the seller, or they should be. Also, whenever a privacy or freedom destroying bill comes along, Google screams “no! users please contact your representative so your freedom / privacy won’t get destroyed”. But when it comes to the hands that make them money? Silence. Complete. Utter. Silence.

      Oh, and have fun when people make death threats to you and when some chose to act on those threats.

  • AndroidDeveloperLB
  • Chase

    Wow the ignorance is abundant in this comments section. Seems like not a one of you read the article. He said the new requirement forces all developers of paid apps or apps with in-app purchases to list a physical address in the APP DETAILS SECTION. This is the section that can be read by anyone at any time before paying for ANYTHING. This is scary for many indie developers who work from home and are now forced to list their physical home address for anyone with access to Google Play to see. This is what’s frightening and wrong about this you idiots who think you have the right to harrass and yell at someone because their $.99 game didn’t work on your outdated device. And yes, they could get a P.O. Box to use as a mailing address, but Google’s new policy SPECIFICALLY states that it must be a physical address. Last time I checked, no one accepts a P.O. Box as a physical address because you don’t live there. You go post your home address where you and your family live all over the internet with other sensitive information and link that to an app that may have not worked for some fluke of a reason for some psycho that wants you dead over wasting his money and see how safe you feel.

    • charlie88

      Don’t pur your app in the Play store. Put in online as an .apk.

      As soon as you enter the Play store and you want to charge me money, I should be able to see an address. It’s the same with businesses, so why would it be any different with someone who’s trying to sell me an app?

      And yes, it’s in the app details section. When I want to do business with a company, I can check it’s address. Same thing, but for apps.

      • Chase

        Once again genius, this is about indie developers who work from home and are forced to put their HOME address on Goole Play for anyone to see. Not a business address. So like I said, go put your home address and name right here in the comments section and see how you feel about that. Of course you should be able to see where a business is located, but not someone’s private home. Google has their address already they don’t need to share it with everyone. If there is an issue with the app you can report it to google and they will solve it without divulging someone’s personal information to a kissed off kid sitting in his moms basement whining because his Angry Birds DLC didn’t play right on his phone. It seems like you didn’t even read my original comment. Please read and save yourself the embarrassment of looking even dumber than you are.

        • Taylor

          There are other options for supplying an address that are not a PO Box and not the developers home address. This is only a minor hurdle for any serious developer.

          General Delivery is one possible option that is a very reasonable solution:

      • Shane

        Have fun with death threats becoming reality.

  • Alex Novelo

    Via the UPS Store as well as many other locations you can get a PO Box that lists as a physical address. If you are a small business and you are concerned about listing your home address, for a small fee (as low as $5 a month) go and find a place that offers a PO box as a physical address.

    Many home based businesses (not just app dev’s) face this every day. Its not that hard to resolve.

  • Gustavo Gomez

    Businesses have to have a legal address. Would you buy a TV online if you don’t know where is stoee located at? Come on people. Common sense

  • Renascienza

    The Cyanogen Mod need a good quality online store to shake Google Play of the tree.

  • Dave H

    I’d like to know anybody that likes this change. Are you a purchaser that needed to know a developer’s physical address? Are you a developer that wished you could display your physical address in the store? How does anybody benefit from this, including Google?

    Criminals will just put a fake address, but so will a bunch of indie developers who can’t afford an office (or they will just go to Apple).