The Honeygain application for Android was available for download on Google Play Store in the past – however, it was later wrongfully removed due to a misinterpretation of the app’s primary purpose.
According to Google’s Developer program, Device and Network Abuse policy, “apps that facilitate proxy services to third parties may only do so in apps where that is the primary, user-facing core purpose of the app.” This is exactly what Honeygain has been doing ever since its initial launch in 2019: the application offers its users a chance to share their internet bandwidth, become a traffic proxy, and get compensated for it.
Nevertheless, Google failed to see it as the app’s core purpose and blocked it under the pretense of preventing abusive behavior. One possible explanation of how this might have happened is the fact that Honeygain was one of the first applications of this kind, and Google’s reviewers simply lacked experience with similar cases: they might have not been familiar with the concept of voluntarily sharing one’s bandwidth in exchange for a fixed fee at all at the time.
Once Honeygain was removed from the Play Store, we contacted Google directly to understand what must be done to fix the issues identified. We offered to hire a third-party audit company to evaluate our app or provide our code to Google itself for an in-depth review. Unfortunately, Google never showed any interest in starting a proper dialogue. All we received were template-based answers that not only explained nothing but also failed to enable us to rectify the misinterpretation.
Interestingly enough, we had no issues with Apple’s App Store when we launched Honeygain iOS in September 2021 – and Apple is notorious for prioritizing security and thus having very strict review procedures. In addition to that, we have since had to take legal action against multiple fake apps that imitated Honeygain on Google’s Play Store, as Google itself didn’t take any steps to remove them for malicious activities.
When repeated attempts to start a dialogue with Google gave no tangible results, we eventually gave up: after all, the Play Store was just one source of distributing our application, and we managed to grow the Honeygain community at a steady (and, might we say, impressive) pace without it. As of now, Honeygain Android can be found on all other major Android stores, as well as our official website.