Apple updates App Store to address developer misuse

Discussion in 'iOS Apps' started by HiFiGuy528, Sep 29, 2008.

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  1. HiFiGuy528 macrumors 68000

    HiFiGuy528

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2008
    #1
    Thought you guys may be interested in this.

    Apple over the weekend instated a series of changes to the way its App Store operates in an effort to knock out loopholes that were being exploited by some developers seeking an unfair advantage.

    Reviews

    In particular, the store now requires that users purchase or download an application before they able to post a review of that particular application.

    Users attempting to post a review of application that they haven't downloaded are now met with a dialog box stating: "In order to write a Custom Review for this item you must have purchased or downloaded it."

    Apple hopes this move will mitigate the number of bogus, or agenda-driven reviews that have been used to raise or lower an applications overall rating, sometimes at the hands of developers themselves.

    App Updates

    Similarly, and more critically, the company also made changes to the way applications appear on the App Store after receiving a minor update.

    [​IMG]


    In the past, all applications were categorized based on their 'release date.' However, Apple had been determining release dates based on the last date the application received an update, rather than the first time it appeared on the store as a 1.0 application.

    As a result, applications receiving updates would be pushed back to the first page of their respective category listing, often appearing on the App Store home page within iTunes as well, and the first page of category listings viewed on an iPhone or iPod touch.

    The result was an immediate jump in sales, as noted by Krishna Vegesna, whose company TouchMeme offers three applications on the App Store. He posted the graph (below) illustrating this behavior, where each spike in sales coincided with the release of one of his app updates.


    [​IMG]

    "With the latest update to the AppStore, the above behavior is no longer holds true (and I am glad it doesn’t)," he said. "This is because the applications are now categorized according to the ‘Actual Released Date’ rather that the last updated date."

    Given Apple's changes, new version 1.0 applications will have a longer shelf life on the first page of category listings, as they won't be bumped down in the listings as quickly due to an influx of minor app updates.

    The moves should also allow developers to shift their focus to "real innovation in functionality rather than focusing on who pushes the update first," Vegesna said. At the same time, however, he raises the concern that tactical developers may now focus on rolling out new apps to generate high profits rather than improving their existing ones.

    http://www.appleinsider.com/article...es_app_store_to_address_developer_misuse.html
     
  2. Pring macrumors 6502

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    Sep 17, 2003
    #2
    The reviews we knew about and are discussed http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=570913


    The sorting stuff I'm not so sure about. It sounds like this guy just came across the bug where after an update your release date breaks. We discussed that in this thread and there's a workaround.

    I know for a fact that an application I updated recently is listed with the update date rather the original submission.
     
  3. Small White Car macrumors G4

    Small White Car

    Joined:
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    Washington DC
    #3
    Interesting. I can see this concern, but I don't think it's that important. I think the 'pros' still outweigh the 'cons' on this one, and am glad they changed the way it works.

    Fact is, if there is an improvement to be made I think that developers will do it to remain competitive against other programs. So I don't see this as a really big concernt.

    On the flip side, I think we would have started to see more developers releasing dumb updates ("bug fixes") that do little more than move them up the ranking page. I'm glad they stopped that before that tactic became too popular.
     
  4. DreamPod macrumors 65816

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    #4
    Your app updated this weekend after Apple made their system changes? As for that thread, it sounds to me like it worked perfectly fine - he updated his app, and it didn't change the release date, but kept the same one it always had - he said it changed to the date he orginally submitted it, which is correct behavior. Unfortunately, it sounds like there's yet another loophole, that he used to bump the release date up to yesterday. Hopefully Apple closes that one quickly.
     
  5. Pring macrumors 6502

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    Sep 17, 2003
    #5
    My update went up on Saturday. I saw the date changed and remembered a few posts from the Apple discussion boards

    http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?messageID=7917099&#7917099
    http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?messageID=8018774&#8018774

    Which talks about a bug going back as far as August to do with the date being wrong when you update the application description during an update.

    I'm not trying to play the system, thought it was just a bug on Apple's part.. in fact, until they saw otherwise I'm not convinced. They've obviously been having database problems over the weekend and I think this may be a symptom of them trying to fix it. Maybe not.
     
  6. DEAN616 macrumors member

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    Jul 17, 2008
    #6
    they need to bring back the option to view all the free ipod touch apps. now you have to search yourself.
     
  7. Pring macrumors 6502

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    #7
    Bleh and my other app now has the SUBMISSION date, not even the RELEASE date!
     
  8. GregInAZ macrumors newbie

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    Aug 2, 2008
    #8
    I'm sure the sorting by submission date was to discourage developers from releasing updates so frequently. The big problem I see with this is now no matter how great your updates are that would appeal to potential buyers who skipped over you in the past, your app is now buried only to be found by a lot of browsing, searching, or it being mentioned on the Web.

    I see this is as a bad thing for end users since now they can expect fewer apps to provide updates.

    Personally, I liked seeing it sorted by update date so I could look at apps again to see how they've improved and potentially buy them.
     
  9. firewood macrumors 604

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    Silicon Valley
    #9
    The problem was with a lot of the updates having nothing really appealing, just minor fixes released too often in order to get a bump in the listing order. All these minor fix updates were clogging the review process and thus slowing down everybody else's applications in getting to the store.
     
  10. Niiro13 macrumors 68000

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    #10
  11. firewood macrumors 604

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    #11
    That's one way to keep existing customers from getting free updates of their paid apps. Might work for free apps though... until Apple cracks down again, since it's not in their customer's best interests for that to happen.
     
  12. admanimal macrumors 68040

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    Apr 22, 2005
    #12
    I don't think that always listing apps by the original release date is really the fairest solution either. Now older, less popular apps are pretty much never going to have a chance to get popular, even if they release an update that makes the app great. And I really don't think that Apple needed to give "developers" yet another reason to pump out crappy new apps.

    Maybe just limiting the number of updates an app can have per month would have been a better solution.
     
  13. firewood macrumors 604

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    #13
    There needs to be another mechanism to give all apps a fair shake at more public exposure than just release date or update date.

    Maybe a new randomized listing order every day? Amazon does this with some of their book suggestions.

    .
     
  14. admanimal macrumors 68040

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    Apr 22, 2005
    #14
    I'll probably have to start exploring more traditional marketing approaches for my app if I can't rely on updates giving a boost in popularity. It may also mean I have to raise the price a bit if I am getting fewer impulse buys (I think most people who are specifically looking for an app like mine will pay $1.99 rather than the 99 cents my app is priced at now).
     
  15. SoSII macrumors member

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    Jul 19, 2008
    #15
    So, the idea is that a competing developer is not going to purchase an app for a few bucks in order to post a damning review, which he/she might stand to gain $$$$$ from. Give me a break. If that really is a driver for this, then someone at Apple needs to take a really big sip from the clue straw!!!
    :mad:
     
  16. nottooshabby macrumors 6502

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    Jul 12, 2008
    #16
    Yeah, this was a mistake by apple to handle a problem that could have been handled differently. Now there will be little incentive to keep making your app better because it will still be buried 5 pages back. Now people will just make a new app with the added functionality. So instead of a bunch of updates we will just get a bunch of new apps with one new feature a new name. All Apple had to do was make it so an update wouldn't change your release date unless it had been 2 months since the last update.
     
  17. SoSII macrumors member

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    Jul 19, 2008
    #17
    surely a 'newly update' list would be a good idea. Jeez, the pda community (eg Palm, WM etc) have had this sorted out for years. Why does it need to be so difficult??
     
  18. admanimal macrumors 68040

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    Apr 22, 2005
    #18
    I think it was a stretch for the article to claim that the reviewing change had anything to do with developer misuse, rather than just stopping all of the crap reviews from 12 year olds.
     
  19. moopf macrumors member

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    Aug 28, 2008
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #19
    Yes, I completely agree. As a developer, I have become annoyed at the constant stream of small, very minor, almost inconsequential updates that I've seen some developers make to their apps to get them back up to the top. If anything it has rewarded those developers who released under-cooked software with heaps of bugs - those who rushed to get it into the store. That isn't good for consumers either. For somebody like myself, who made sure that when my app entered the store it was polished, I haven't had the need to push updates every week (which some have seemed to be doing) because when it came into the store it had been well tested and I hadn't rushed it. I did push an update for review yesterday which includes some features that have been requested from me, though, as responding to what customers are asking for is sensible.

    I hope that this will mean apps arriving in the store where their first iteration is more polished now because this is good for consumers and good for developers as a whole, as I believe looking at comments on apps in the app store and on forums, that some consumers are starting to feel that they're paying for apps in order to beta test them. That could end up tarring all developers with the same brush so if there isn't the rush to get something rough out there, I'm hoping (possibly unrealistically!) that the general quality will improve.

    Sorry, early in the morning here. Rambled a bit :)
     
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