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Google yanks ad-blocker apps from Google Play

A handful of app developers receive notices from the Web giant saying that their ad-blocking software "interferes with or accesses another service or product in an unauthorized manner."

Google removes ad-blocking apps from Google Play.
Screenshot by Dara Kerr/CNET

Users in search of ad-blocking apps on Google Play won't have any luck as of today. Google has reportedly launched a campaign to remove apps that interfere with advertising from its app store.

Several app developers for apps such as AdBlock, AdAway, and AdFree received notices from Google today saying that their apps had been taken down, according to Phandroid. Apparently, these apps were in violation of Google Play's Developer Distribution Agreement.

This agreement says that developers must agree not to "engage in any activity with the market, including the development or distribution of products, that interferes with, disrupts, damages, or accesses in an unauthorized manner the devices, servers, networks, or other properties or services of any third party."

Basically, Google seems to be saying don't mess with advertising -- which is the Web giant's central source of revenue.

Jared Rummler, the developer for the Ad Blocker Root app, announced on Twitter that his app was yanked from Google Play today. He posted the notice he received from Google on a Pastebin site.

"After a regular review we have determined that your app interferes with or accesses another service or product in an unauthorized manner. This violates the provision of your agreement with Google referred to above," Google wrote in the notice to Rummler. "All violations are tracked. Serious or repeated violations of any nature will result in the termination of your developer account, and investigation and possible termination of related Google accounts."

Despite these apps disappearing from Google Play, developers are still free to distribute and sell the apps in other venues. Also, users who already have the offending apps installed on their mobile devices can continue to use them without interference.

CNET contacted Google for comment. We'll update the story when we get more information.