Photo supposedly showing how app ranks and downloads are being manipulated on iOS is going viral in China

If you browse enough apps, sooner or later you'll stumble upon a listing that seems off. The app in question has a super high rating and a ton of ravishing reviews. Based on that, you end up downloading it... only to find it either severely lacking or average at best. Why? Because somebody's job somewhere out there was to manipulate said app's rating and inflate its download count to make it look more appealing. A new photo that is going viral in China is allegedly showing us just that somebody – an employee at an app ranking manipulation "farm".

As is clearly visible from the photo, which is captioned "hardworking App Store ranking manipulation employee" and whose authenticity is unverifiable, said employee is working in front of a giant trove of iPhone 5c units, apparently in the middle of her app-ranking-influencing-voodoo. Another bank of iPhone 5c's is also seen, suggesting that this is no small operation. A different image, supposedly showing us a price breakdown for the service, is also seen included by some Chinese news outlets. From what we can see, a push into the top 10 free apps list will run developers down ¥70,000 ($~12,000) and over five times that to keep it there.

$12,000 might seem like an insane asking price, and we'll admit that few indie developers will be able to afford the service, but keep in mind that the fee is also indicative of the potential earnings that an app that lands in the coveted rank list can reap. Indeed, given the size of the iOS community and the undeniable appeal of free apps, devs can make some real cash through ads so long as enough eyeballs go through them. Consider this: At the height of the Flappy Bird craze, the developer was reportedly making over $50,000 from ads alone per day. Not a bad payout, right?

FEATURED VIDEO

13 Comments

1. LeBrownJames

Posts: 201; Member since: Mar 17, 2014

"hardworking App Store ranking manipulation employee.." Only in China.

3. engineer-1701d unregistered

That's how the got the 75 million phone sales you can't tell me every iPhone owner in the world got a new phone and then 20 million more, but if ur a company tryong to increase your worth u can employ people to do this above and the stock price will off set the phone price 1 share equals 2/3 a iphone cost

7. Ninetysix

Posts: 2966; Member since: Oct 08, 2012

Hilarious comment broseph. Apple sold 75M phones because someone's manipulating app downloads in China?...hahahaha

9. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

That's not what he is saying. What he is saying is how easy it can be for an OEM to manipulate number. Apple does it all the time. For example, I remember when I Tim Cook had said that one of the version of OS X had more usage in a much shorter time vs Windows. Yet, even though yes Apple did reach that number quicker, Windows still hd more users on the new OS, but the percentage was simply smaller. After all 60% of OS X users is a much smaller number than 60% of Windows users. But again, it was Apple using numbers out of true context to make you think they are dong so great. Yet OS X still is less than 10% of the world in usage. The same with Android, Apple always tales about how the adoption rate of IOS 8 is blah blah, while the adoption rate of Android 5.x is much slower. Well when you make one device yourself, it is easier to push an OS to YOUR device, vs Google who doesn't make any devices at all. The OEM's do, and the OEM's don't push updates, they let the carriers control that which is also a mess. But comparing them is stupid because the adoption is don't differently, but against it messing with the numbers to make you appear better when you aren't. 1.3Billion people own a Android device while only 700M own an iOS device.

2. sip1995

Posts: 1771; Member since: Feb 07, 2014

Tipical chinese people...

5. aries.phills

Posts: 161; Member since: May 17, 2011

Well, I see it as business and ingenious initiative.

6. meanestgenius

Posts: 22786; Member since: May 28, 2014

Hmmm....I wonder if Apple has a hand in this? Wouldn't surprise me on the least.

8. meanestgenius

Posts: 22786; Member since: May 28, 2014

*in the least

10. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Of course they do. But they likely wont get caught. Since most Android apps are free, there is no benefit to Android for this type of cheating. Yet the fans ragged Samsung because they claimed they cheated on benchmarks which they actually did not.

11. dancheung77

Posts: 202; Member since: Jan 28, 2015

I heard about people buying hits on YouTube and likes on Facebook... I guess anything can be bought for a price

12. mattkl

Posts: 255; Member since: Feb 01, 2010

Poor girl needs an app store stick. May be clip a fire extiguisher or two to you her as well. Where's Gallagher when you need him?

14. ZeroCide

Posts: 818; Member since: Jan 09, 2013

They need to write an app to replace her

13. Chuck007

Posts: 1419; Member since: Mar 02, 2014

I can swear you guys already posted this..

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.
FCC OKs Cingular's purchase of AT&T Wireless