Gigaom – and many others – are reporting today that Apple may be changing the ways that apps are ranked in the App Store. They are said to be taking into account more than just app download numbers, which seems a reasonable enough starting point for tweaking the ranking system.
According to Inside Mobile Apps, several ad network and pay-per-install executives have noticed a change with the App Store rankings, though it’s too early to say what these changes are based on. Peter Farago, vice president of Flurry, said it’s clear that Apple is using more than download numbers, which he welcomed because it spoke to the true popularity of an app. It’s possible that Apple is now factoring in ratings and daily use into its rankings, said Inside Mobile Apps. I’ve reached out to Apple and will update if and when I hear something back.
The two areas mentioned above as things Apple may now be factoring are ratings and daily use. Daily use – if it can be measured with some degree of accuracy – seems a good thing to factor in to app rankings. An app that is consistently used very frequently does seem worthy of a higher ranking than one that is rarely used.
I hate the idea of the second criteria mentioned as being factored in though – ratings.
If this means App Store ratings from users I think it’s a bad idea. Far too many App Store ratings are like the worst of YouTube comments. They’re written terribly, ratings are often posted when it’s clear the rater has never even used the app being rated (‘This app sucks because it’s $4.99’), 1 star ratings are handed out with near zero explanation (‘This app is so gay’), and apps often get hammered for XYZ feature being broken even when developers have posted to say that same feature is fixed in an update awaiting Apple’s approval.
What do you all think? How would you like to see apps ranked? What should be factored into app rankings?