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Apple Warns Developers Not to Manipulate App Store Rankings


Yesterday, a TouchArcade thread was posted that warned about fraudulent App promotion services that guarantee Top 25 rankings for a modest fee. According to the poster, these services utilize automated scripts or bots to artificially boost free app rankings into the Top charts. At least one company denied the claims in the thread.

PocketGamer picked up on the story based on the forum thread:
For $5,000, said company will allegedly utilise bots that will download a developer's app over and over again until it has broken into the top 25 charts. At this point, the developer's app will have received sufficient customer exposure to attract downloads from real people.
In an apparent response, Apple has just posted a reminder (via iClarified) to developers, warning them not to manipulate App Store chart rankings.
Adhering to Guidelines on Third-Party Marketing Services
Feb 6, 2012

Once you build a great app, you want everyone to know about it. However, when you promote your app, you should avoid using services that advertise or guarantee top placement in App Store charts. Even if you are not personally engaged in manipulating App Store chart rankings or user reviews, employing services that do so on your behalf may result in the loss of your Apple Developer Program membership. Get helpful tips and resources on marketing your apps the right way from the App Store Resource Center.
The existence of these services is not new, but it seems the renewed publicity surrounding them has reached Apple's attention.

Top Rated Comments

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36 months ago
Now I know how some really stupid apps makes it in the top 25
Rating: 34 Votes
36 months ago
So.. for just $5000, I can get Apple to remove any developer from the app store? :cool:

Zynga, here I come!
Rating: 28 Votes
36 months ago
I'm glad Apple are taking a more prominent note of this. I'm not an app developer, but it certainly does bug me how I have to wade through the tons of crap that I know has made its way into the top 100 by unfair means.

(Although I am completely aware that people are stupid/ bored enough to download them too).

It's the 5 star reviews for the apps that annoy me the most though.
Rating: 14 Votes
36 months ago
I think this all boils down to one thing: There's too many apps out there.

I understand why developers would resort to these tactics: You could write a fantastic app but it'd be buried under thousands of others, it may never get the initial exposure it needs to take off.

On the other side of this, I find it increasingly difficult to find apps I like these days. Not just because there's so many apps out there, but also because of companies like the ones mentioned in this article messing up the ratings system.

What's the solution here? How could Apple better organize and catalogue the huge collection of apps?

:confused:
Rating: 13 Votes
36 months ago

I think this all boils down to one thing: There's too many apps out there.

I understand why developers would resort to these tactics: You could write a fantastic app but it'd be buried under thousands of others, it may never get the initial exposure it needs to take off.

On the other side of this, I find it increasingly difficult to find apps I like these days. Not just because there's so many apps out there, but also because of companies like the ones mentioned in this article messing up the ratings system.

What's the solution here? How could Apple better organize and catalogue the huge collection of apps?

:confused:

They could start by adding sub-categories for non-gamings apps.

And perhaps add a "novelty" category for all those pointless gimmick apps.
Rating: 5 Votes
36 months ago
Sorry to say that this has been going on for a loooong time. I remember looking through the countless "Mirror" and "Night Vision" apps and seeing all the identical reviews... Apple needs a way for users to report this so that we can stop the spamming.
Rating: 5 Votes
36 months ago

What's the solution here? How could Apple better organize and catalogue the huge collection of apps?

:confused:


I do much more Searching instead of Browsing, and I generally already have an app in mind from searching the larger web before I enter the store. By that means, I can enjoy the best-of-the-best apps without wading through too much shovelware.

That said, when I do Browse the store/categories, I like to place limits: especially based on star ratings. (That’s something the iPad-based store app does, not sure about the iPhone version.) The number of results can still be high, but not so high that I can’t glance through and weed out the obvious junk. Often based on name and/or icon alone.

And I can spot fake reviews a mile off :o But I’m sure many people don’t bother reading through them, especially for a free app.
Rating: 4 Votes
36 months ago
That's the problem with these kinds of things. Downloads are exponential. You get more downloads later when people download stuff.

If I search the exact name of my YouTube video, I don't see it because it only has 10 views, and it can't get more because it never comes up.
Rating: 4 Votes
36 months ago
So-called "developers" who would pay $5,000 for such a service are suckers. And their apps probably just plain suck.

Also, I'd hardly call $5,000 a "modest fee" (as the original article characterizes it).
Rating: 4 Votes
36 months ago
It is really nice to see Apple doing this. People are gaming the system.

I can understand why some do it. Take for example doodle jump. They were gaming the system for a while with lots of update trying to stay on top because they got covered with all the crap app. Apple change the rules so updating did not do the same thing any more. The app only took off after they got luck and they got someone at Apple to make it a recommended App of the day or something.
After that they got the downloads and became one of those games everyone knows about and across multiple platforms. I could see how the devs are looking like 5k gets them on top and the critical mass they need.

Apple doing some stuff is great start of improving it but like others as said they need more categories. It will always be a cat and mouse game for the stores.
Rating: 4 Votes

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