Apple warns developers not to manipulate App Store charts
Using services which promote games artificially could lose you dev licence
Apple has issued a statement warning its developers to avoid services which "manipulate" the App Store charts, cautioning that doing so could endanger a studio's development licence.
A post on the company's developer blog makes clear that Apple expects the charts to be a reflection of legitimate downloads alone, a clear response to recent allegations that some companies are using bot services which offer app downloads in return for payment to push games into the coveted front page positions on the storefront.
"Once you build a great app, you want everyone to know about it," reads a short entry on the site. "However, when you promote your app, you should avoid using services that advertise or guarantee top placement in App Store charts.
"Even if you are not personally engaged in manipulating App Store chart rankings or user reviews, employing services that do so on your behalf may result in the loss of your Apple Developer Program membership. Get helpful tips and resources on marketing your apps the right way from the App Store Resource Center."
Yesterday, claims emerged that third-parties were promising top 25 positions for as little as $5000.
It's far from the first piece of policing that the Cupertino multinational has had to conduct on its customer curated system. Last year, Tapjoy was scolded for offering "pay-per-install" packages to developers to promote their titles - something which was at least partially responsible for changes to the Apple ranking algorithm which saw users who download with a promotional code no longer able to rate apps.
Tapjoy's CEO Mihir Shah responded angrily to those changes, claiming that they promoted stagnation, but failed to change the policy.
More recently, Apple has found itself embroiled in scandal over copycat titles, acting to remove the works of Anton Sinelnikov, a Russian indie developer whose games were judged to be direct copies of other successful apps.
Another case, brought by Triple Town developer Spry Fox against 6Waves Lolapps, is as yet unresolved.