Food delivery apps Swiggy and Zomato were issued notices from Google claiming the gamification techniques used by both platforms were in violation of the tech giant’s Play Store guidelines.
Swiggy confirmed the development. “Meetings are on to discuss the issue. We have time until next week to make our stand clear. Zomato and Swiggy are not the only companies, Google has sent notices to. There are some more,” said a person directly aware of the matter to Inc42 on condition of anonymity.
Meanwhile, Zomato speaking to Inc42 said, “Yes, we have received a notice from Google. We believe that the notice is unfair, but we are a small company and have already realigned our business strategy to comply with Google’s guidelines. We will be replacing Zomato Premier League with a more exciting program by this weekend ”
While Zomato was running Zomato Premier League, on its app, where users could make predictions about the ongoing IPL match, and earn cashback; Swiggy was running Match Day Mania offers during IPL matches.
The development comes a week after Paytm’s app was pulled off Google for a UPI-related cashback IPL game. However, after a 10-day hiatus, the homegrown digital payments giant brought back its IPL-led cashback scheme Paytm Cricket League.
Both the food delivery companies have subsequently paused their sports-based cashback games.
Play Store policies allow daily fantasy sports only in the United States, or if they meet the stringent requirements laid down for gambling apps. Either way Paytm’s subsidiary Paytm First Games, or other Indian fantasy sports apps such as Dream11 and Mobile Premier League (MPL), don’t make the cut.
Commenting on the same, Google spokesperson had told Inc42, “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.”
Google Only Implementing Rules
Google has also been in the eye of a storm, with the tech and startup community criticising the tech giant’s move demanding a 30% cut from app developers who sell digital goods on the Google Play Store. Incidentally, Apple too charges 30% commission on its app Store for iOS-powered mobile devices.
“We have clarified the language in our Payments Policy to be more explicit that all developers selling digital goods in their apps are required to use Google Play’s billing system,” product management vice president Sameer Samat said in a blog post published on Monday (September 28).
Big IPL Push For Food Delivery Majors
For businesses like food delivery, IPL is a crucial time to push for customer acquisition. In fact, after a weak quarter, food delivery sales have recovered by additional 10% in September over last month to touch 85% of the pre-pandemic numbers, a report by Zomato showed.
The IPL- season has been critical for India’s foodtech sector which has been reeling from the impact of the pandemic. The online food delivery segment has been hinging their hopes on the IPL-season for a faster recovery, as they expect to get back dormant customers.
While Delhi and Mumbai are nearing full recovery, with 95% of pre-Covid-19 sales, metros such as Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Chennai are still behind the curve with 80% recovery. Some cities such as Kolkata, Patna, Jamshedpur, Ranchi, and Siliguri have exceeded the pre-Covid-19 levels.