All app developers have to follow a rigorous screening process before their apps are released in the Apple App Store. And now, Apple is all set to crackdown on app developers who use shady means to increase the visibility of their apps.
For quite some time, Apple has faced issues with monitoring app developers, who use fraudulent methods, such as inflating their apps' sales or posting phony app reviews, to bump up their apps in the popularity list.
However, Apple intends to put that to an end with the message that was posted on Monday in Apple's Developer site.
The message, titled Adhering to Guidelines on Third-Party Marketing Services, warned app developers to stop resorting to fraudulent means to increase their apps' popularity or they risk getting booted out of the App Store.
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 message read.
Apple's message links to an internal page that advices app developers on many issues ranging from how to get their apps approved to managing and marketing them once they are released in the App Store. There is a separate section titled, Tips for Creating a Great Presence on the App Store.
The tech giant's latest move to monitor the App Store more closely follows a recent posting in Touch Arcade that claimed that a huge fraud was taking place in the App Store. The posting, titled, 'Biggest Fraud in the Top 25 Free Ranking claimed that some app developers, by paying just $5,000 to an ad network, have ensured that their apps got ranked in the top free iPhone Apps list.
I was pretty curious on how he's able to do that (I was told by an AdMob sales person before that it takes a lot of money and traffic to promote an app to the Top 10). That's when he let loose the BIGGEST FRAUD ever, he said he had outsourced someone to build him a bot farm and the bots will automatically download his clients' apps and drive up their rankings!!! He even told me that even though I might see my app climb up the app store, they aren't REAL at first until it gets to the top and that's when REAL HUMAN players will start seeing my app and play it, the posting read.
The writer, identified as walterkaman, said 8 apps got listed among the top 25 apps using this fraudulent method. They are:
#4 - Tiny Pets #5 - Social Girl #6 - Fluff Friends #10 - Pet Town #12 - Crime City #13 - VIP Poker #16 - Sweet Shop #19 - Top Girl
And, the developer called Crowdstar is quite aggressive and has both of their apps (Social Girl and Top Girl) in the Top 25, the posting read.
Walterkaman, however, did note that Apple is aware of this issue has has already booted a developer called Dream Cortex for botting.
Nonetheless, I am very disappointed to know that these 8 other apps are getting insane exposure on the app store by paying a mere $5000, the poster said.
This is not the first time Apple has cracked down on shady app developers. Though the App Store is too big for Apple to monitor constantly, the tech giant has been doing its best to crack down on fraud.
In January, the company cracked down on piracy of paid applications by sending huge takedown notices to servers that host Apptrackr, a resource of cracked applications.
Last Friday, Apple also cracked down on copycats by taking down knockoffs of popular games such as Temple Run, Tiny Wings and Words with Friends from the App Store. Several apps of the app developer Anton Sinelnikov were taken down.
However, Sinelnikov is not the first to taste Apple's wrath. In 2009, Apple went after developers who cheated the app review system and had taken down 1,000 apps created by one developer.