We've been certifying apps for almost two years now, and we feel pretty good at the progress we've made: our security partners agree with our requirements and trust our certifications, and our customers (the app vendors) understand what they need to do to meet the requirements.
But we have found an issue that we need to address: bad supply chains can hurt consumers, and we need more help from app vendors to avoid using them as they build, advertise, distribute, and monetize their apps.
Here are just a few examples of where an app vendor can inadvertently hurt consumers by using a bad supply chain partner:
- When an affiliate partner uses deceptive advertising and fear tactics to scare consumers into installing the app
- When a call center over-sells their services to consumers during an activation or customer support call
- When an ad network hijacks ad space or places misleading or inappropriate ads in the app, downgrading the consumers' online experience and exposing them to additional risks
- When a bundler or download manager uses deceptive means to install additional apps on the consumer's machine
- When the payment processor doesn't get consent to include additional apps and services into a consumer's online shopping cart
We don't want clean apps' supply chain partners to mistreat consumers. Starting in September, we're adjusting our policy to hold apps accountable for the misbehavior of their supply chain partners.
Here's the updated policy: If we find that a supply chain partner violates our Deceptor-level requirements in its business related to an app, we'll consider both the supply chain partner and the app as Deceptors, and we'll follow our existing policies for how we notify them or list them immediately on our active Deceptor page.
If you're an app vendor: we suggest that you use supply chain partners who are part of our Better World Network and encouraging non-member partners to join. If you're a supply chain provider, consider joining the Better World Network or registering your service with us for Deceptor notifications.
We're hoping that by enlisting app vendors this effort, together we'll be able to influence bad supply chain partners to clean up their acts and stop mistreating consumers.