Apple To Developers: Don’t Try To Game The App Store Charts



Apple has issued a reminder to developers warning them to not manipulate App Store rankings. Following Apple’s removal of a third-party developer’s collection of 68 copy-cat apps (titles like Temple Jump and Numbers With Friends) from the App Store, the issue of chart scamming has been brought into the light again.

Stealing isn’t the only way that devs can manipulate the top charts. As highlighted by PocketGamer, there are scam services that will enlist thousands of bots to redownload a certain app over and over until it rises to the top of the App Store. This activity takes advantage of free download rankings to make an otherwise-worthless app popular overnight. All a dishonest dev has to do is pay a company a few thousand dollars to get a crappy app off the ground and into the limelight.

Here’s what Apple has to say on the issue:

Adhering to Guidelines on Third-Party Marketing Services

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.

Lesser-known devs have been known to ripoff the design or name of a popular app in order to trick customers into downloading. This isn’t a new practice, but this type of cheating also continues to steal the spotlight from the legitimate offerings in the App Store.

If you’re a developer, how do you feel about these types of App Store ranking scams? Do you believe that Apple could be combating these fraudulent promotional services more proactively?

(via iClarified)

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  • Connor Mulcahey

    As a developer I have to say that I am saddened by the fact that there are such dishonest, greedy developers in the iOS dev community. Of all the third party development programs out there, I would expect the iOS developers to be the least corrupt, them being associated with Apple’s emphasis on delivering a high-quality product to consumers. I realized that my presumption was false after that segment on the Daily Show about the Tap Fish developers who are clearly very greedy. The way they, and other “fermium” games are taking advantage of kids is just disgusting. I would hope that in the future, developers would make there money be focusing on delivering the best product possible that people will be glad to spend there money because they know they are getting a quality product. As Steve put it “We want to make the best products for people, and if we do, then we get to come into for tomorrow!”

  • Jonathan Ober

    @google-4a5112d727b0ff90581888398240a2b5:disqus  I completely agree with you. Though I am not an app store developer, yet, I am a parent and before I put anything on my device for my kids to play I always look to see if there is in app purchases that they could inadvertently tap on and purchase something if I was recently logged in to download something. I absolutely will not put anything on my iDevices that have IAP. I’d rather buy something upfront and play or use for work than buy a demo and then buy the full version on top of it. Sad thing is whenever something gets popular the scum of the earth always try to capitalize on it by selling junk and making a profit overnight. here’s to hoping there is a special place in hell on those that prey on the innocent or ill informed.

  • Aufdenschlips

    you can use restrictions. in settings you disable iap and your kids can still play the games

  • Kye Alan Russell

    There’s a very widely used restrictions setting on iOS, check out

  • Njideka Okafor

    woah! you sound like you expected an Apple where there would be no worms. Wake up firend. The bad guys may take the Earth while we dream.

  • Reivax

    Fully agree that the worst-of-the-worst are scumbags who use kids apps to scam in their cash. [I’m an edu app developer and am proud of the organically earned success of our work on the App Store.] Laziness is always the bedfellow of unscrupulousness, so stealing others’ ideas on the most popular app platform is a no-brainer for hacks. Glad that Apple is bouncing these dubious rank boosters and the hacks who hire them. Good riddance, indeed.

  • Jonathan Ober

    I guess what I was getting at is that I would rather pay for an app to not include IAP because when my 2 or 4 year old hits the button, despite it being locked out by me they are still taken out of their app and sometimes either to the web or to iTunes. It just makes for a messy and confusing experience for a youngster.