This is how the Chinese game the iOS App Store rankings

App Store rating farm scandal in China

The above image, which shows a Chinese lady sitting in front of hundreds of iPhone 5cs’, has gone viral on Chinese social media websites. The image shows how the Chinese are gaming the rating system of the App Store. 

While the source and authenticity of the image could not be confirmed, it is speculated that the lady in the picture is a part of the app manipulation farm in China. Apparently, she downloads and install apps and games from developers who have paid to avail the firm’s service, rates and then uninstall them repeatedly to boost their ratings in the App Store.

App Store Top 10

The image is accompanied by another photo in some websites that list the prices to avail the service. According to the picture, getting your app in the top 10 free apps list in the App Store will cost you RMB 70,000 (US$ 11,200), while making sure it remains there will cost you a staggering RMB 405,000 (US$ 65,000) every week.

According to TechInAsia, a search for “app store ranking manipulation” on one of China’s most popular C2C ecommerce — Taobao — shows hundreds of firms offering services to boost the App Store ratings of iOS App, though the price is listed as 1 RMB.

Are you an app developer who has used the services of such Chinese firms or were you approached by them? Drop in your comment and let us know your experience.

[Via TechInAsia]

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  • Why… why? D: I don’t get it. The developers spend so much to get their apps in the top 10… But their apps are free! What do they gain? Ad revenue from iAds/Admob? Is that so lucrative?

    • Hack&Die

      The Flappy Bird developer was making $50,000 / day on his “free” app from ad revenue so YES it’s so lucrative!

    • Well actually it is Secretss. When Flappy Bird was in the App Store’s top 10 it was estimated then, at the time the creator removed the app, he was earning in excess of $50,000 per/DAY on Ads.

      • Wow, damn! Thanks for that info!

    • Smartest Dev

      They are earning tons of money. Just as @arthurseabra:disqus stated, pretty much everyone in the top 100 of free apps are making north of $5,000 a day. That one game “Clash of Clans” can afford a super bowl commercial which 30 second slots start at $2,000,000. How do you think a free game can afford $2,000,000 for a 30 second slot? 😉 welcome to the world of software development. Now, you will look at coders in a different way. Enjoy.

      • Oh good grief! Thanks, I learned something today!

  • iilliya

    WTH !!! O.o

  • karl

    title doesnt make sense please fix

    • Moinul Alam

      I hear ya. Oddly the first time I read the title it made sense. The second time a few hours later, it sounded like a grammatical issue. Really it’s just the use of the word “game” that throws things off. Could use the word play instead of game.

    • James123

      How so?