Paytm accuses Google of trying to dominate India's digital ecosystem

Topics Paytm | Google | Google Play Store

The Noida-headquartered company said it had launched a campaign UPI cashback for its users on September 11. | Photo: Bloomberg
Indian unicorn Paytm has accused Google of making policies that are over and above the laws of India after the Noida-based startup's app was briefly delisted from the Playstore last week.

The Noida-headquartered company said it had launched a campaign UPI cashback for its users on September 11. However, the company's payments app was delisted on September 18 from Playstore for policy violations without giving it an opportunity to defend itself.  

"This was the first time that Google sent us a notification regarding our UPI cashback and scratch cards campaign. Contrary to accepted practice, we were not given any opportunity to respond to their concerns or put forth our views," added the company in its blog post.

Paytm suggested the global tech giant's move as hypocritical as Google, too, regularly runs similar scratch card campaigns in India under its Google Pay app.

Such moves will be familiar to all Indian internet companies since they face similar arm-twisting and fear of Google’s dominance over India’s digital ecosystem every day, Paytm added.

"Google owns Android which is the operating system on which over 95 per cent of smartphones in India run. Google, as a result, has enormous control over which apps you download through its Play Store policies. It also makes billions of dollars in advertising revenues from the Indian startups that make these apps," the company said.
A Google spokesperson said on Sunday evening, "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. 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."

Regarding the controversy of Paytm First Games being promoted through the Paytm app, the firm said it had received communication from Google’s support team sharing their concerns on August 20, August 28 and September 1. 

"While we strenuously disagreed with the allegation that we are breaching the policy, we immediately complied with the diktat that barred us from promoting our gaming subsidiary. We wish to make it clear that driving traffic or promoting fantasy sports is not gambling," the company added.

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