Developer David Barnard – whose apps have broken millions of dollars and have been featured several times by Apple – has written a blog post asking Apple to take tougher action against rogue developers who play the App Store.
He describes ten methods they use to give their apps an unfair advantage in either visibility or earning money from purchases in apps. Some are simple and famous, like buying fake reviews, while others are more amazing – like those described below …
The tricks he describes range from visibility increases to look for fair fraud against users . For visibility, for example:
Find a keyword that drives a decent amount of organic search traffic. Clearly, keywords are "weather", "calculator", "kabal" etc. But these keywords are so competitive, and the rest of the tactics so powerful, you can get away with other levels in the keyword goals. Now go to the App Store Connect and your name app the exact keyword. "Weather" is already taken, and Apple does not allow duplicate app names, so you need to add a symbol. Let's go with "Weather ◌".
This is the case, the App Store search algorithm provides a huge boost for an exact match to what the user searched and the algorithm ignores symbols, so "Weather ◌" will get a great search benefit, which will help drive organic installations of the app. There are many other hacks to manipulate the App Store search algorithm. I have not maintained all the black hat tactics so I'm not sure what's working and what's no longer, but here's fun: The App Store Search Algorithm Indexes Multiple Languages per App Store Location, So You Can Double Your Keywords in the App Store in the United States, by entering keywords in the Spanish (Mexico) location of your App Store page.
Some tricks to play the App Store, trick other developers.
Weather data costs money and We try to maximize revenue at all costs, so proxy a few apps as they ask for data and "borrow" some API keys you may find. I hear Apple's weather reports can be a good place to start.
While others cheat users.
Implement a difficult subscription page with high subscriptions and the price far removed from some kind of "Continue to Try" button. Also hide the button used to close this page ( bonus points to hide the key for a few seconds ) so users feel compelled to press the "Continue" button.
Barnard acknowledges that Apple has begun violating this kind of behavior – after some sketchy apps that come under the spotlight – but say there are still many examples out there.
He says he is not Apple bashing here. He is grateful for the opportunity to make money through his apps, but wants Apple to do more to smooth out the game.
I'd like to see Apple using [its] the power to shape the App Store in ways that will maintain and encourage meaningful development instead of continuing to let the deck be stacked against it […]
I want to see this amazing The platform Apple created is the best it can be. The App Store is an incredible marketplace that has generated tens of billions of revenue while giving thousands of people all over the world to do amazing things with these magic little computers we carry around in our pockets. But I think the overall success of the App Store has blinded Apple to the need for different course corrections over the years.
Barnard claims that Apple needs to do more to reward best practice and punish those who play the App Store
Check out 9to5Mac on YouTube for more Apple news: