Google bans Android developers from adding lock screen ads
Google is cracking down on one of the most annoying ad types on Android. As first spotted by Android Police, the Google Play Developer monetization rules have been updated to ban lock screen ads. Here's the new section:
Unless the exclusive purpose of the app is that of a lockscreen, apps may not introduce ads or features that monetize the locked display of a device.
It's not really possible to show an ad on the existing lock screen, unless you're counting a notification (which is pretty easy to block). So what some of the shadier developers on Google Play have been doing is replacing the existing lock screen, without asking, and showing a screen that can have a big ad slapped onto the lower half. This can be very confusing for users since nothing indicates why their lock screen is different, what app made the changes, or how it can be fixed. Do a search and you'll find tons of help threads of users asking why their lock screen is suddenly different, and others guessing at which app could be the culprit.
Now, developers that continue to do this will be tossed from the Play Store. Of course, this is only a Play Store rule and won't affect devices that are sold with lock screen ads built-in. Amazon, for instance, sells "Prime Exclusive Phones" with "special offers" built-in. These phones show ads full screen lock screen ads, notification ads, and pack the phone with some non-removable Amazon apps, in exchange for a discount of around $50 to $80.