Recently Google pulled one of the most popular Visual VoiceMail applications from Android Market, PhoneFusion. The reason is because they were said to be citing a violation of the developer payment rules. Basically, they were targeted for not processing application payments through Google Checkout.

This just shows us that Google is on top of their game and they will catch you if you aren’t taking payments the correct way. We aren’t saying the developer knew what he was doing or did it intentionally, but you have to make sure things are done the right way or this happens.

Jonathan Hollander, EVP of PhoneFusion, said Google never made clear what the violation was and that he believes Google is forcing them to use Google Checkout for in-app payments. His application is free but does make money using premium features like voicemail transcription, ad-free service and the ability to receive faxes through a dedicated number. PhoneFusion runs those extra purchases through its own website similar to how Amazon links to its own site for Kindle purchases. This is where he made his mistake apparently. Hollander said the move by Google is similar to Apple’s, which forces developers and publishers to use Apple’s in-app purchase system and prohibits them from linking to websites for outside payments.

When developers at PhoneFusion asked Google to give an explanation of “why,” they were then directed to section 3.3 of the Android Market Developer Distribution Agreement:

If you want to collect fees after the free trial expires, you must collect all fees for the full version of the Product through the Payment Processor on the Market. All fees received by Developers for Products distributed via the Market must be processed by the Market’s Payment Processor.

The application will not be gone forever so don’t panic. If you were one of the million who used it, just be patient while they figure out what exactly they need to do. Seems like they just need to re-submit the app with a new name. This is what Google wants which will of course cause them to lose all the positive reviews and download statistics they have previously racked up. Ouch!

Let us know what you think. Is this fair? Do you think the developers knew what they were doing? Leave your comments below.

Source: GigaOM & Engadget