Apple cracking down on App Store manipulation services

Earlier this year, we pointed out an interesting discovery regarding the App Store’s list of top 25 free apps. Apparently, some developers were employing seedy marketing services to move their apps up the ranks, using tens of thousands of download bots.

Well it looks like Apple is cracking down on such services, as downloads for the top 200 free apps in the U.S. have dropped more than 30% over the past two months. And Fiksu, a legitimate app marketing firm, attributes part of the decline to Apple’s actions…

TechCrunch reports:

“An unexpected contributing factor could be the decline in the use of robotic install tactics by app marketers responding to Apple’s new policy,” said Fiksu’s chief executive Micah Adler in a statement. The crackdown has had huge implications for the types of apps that make it to the top of the charts…

…It was pretty common to see really strange, esoteric (and frankly, not very well-made) apps pop on the charts every single week. At the same time, very social, more utility-like apps like Instagram or Facebook would hover in the teens or twenties — or between #50 and 100.”

Because of the way the App Store operates, any app that breaks into the top 25 apps list (free or paid) usually sees a dramatic increase in downloads. That’s because browsing the list has become the main way iOS users “discover” new titles.

Of course, this could all change in the near future thanks to Apple’s recent Chomp acquisition. The company behind the popular app discovery software is expected to be heavily involved in an upcoming App Store redesign.