A woman sits before a rack of what appears to be dozens of iPhone 5Cs all set to the Apple App Store. This image has been circulating around social media claiming to be a ranking manipulation service that allows developers to pay to boost their work into the top ten free apps.
The woman in the image is supposedly downloading, installing, and uninstalling the same app over and over again to artificially boost its number of downloads in the App Store. Which, in theory, will increase its overall ranking. The rack holding the iPhones looks specially built for the very purpose of this ranking manipulation.
Another photo also appeared showing what is apparently a price list. It costs RMB 70,000 (about RM40,000) to boost a single app into the top ten free apps, while costs RMB 405,000 (about RM 233,000) to keep it there every week. This is obviously not a cheap service to engage, even if it just involves someone downloading the same app over and over again.
Apple itself has algorithms that prevent bots from doing this sort of thing, but it is harder to detect a person on the other end of the connection. This alone is probably why it would work to defeat most safeguards in place to prevent rank fixing.
Getting to the top ten apps is often a massive visibility boost for developers, which could mean a substantial increase in revenue if their work gets noticed and regular people begin to download. It could also be done to inflate marketing numbers to show to potential investors and clients.
Whatever it is, this is certainly a very interesting situation. Although, to be fair, nobody can verify the authenticity of the App Store ranking manipulation claim.
[Source: Tech in Asia]