AppStore: American dream - worldwide nightmare?


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 24, 2009
American dream - worldwide nightmare?

Do we really believe, the AppStore Gold Rush affects all developers worldwide? Is it possible, that something unknown judges every single app's success? Let's call it Apple's dirty little ranking secret, which we try to unveil now.

Let's start with some questions for this context:

Why is my app so successful?
How does everybody believe AppStore ranking roughly works?
How does it really work?
Why should apple do it that way?

Success? Yes, but national, not worldwide!

Hello Great Britain, Willkommen Deutschland, Bonjour France. Have you ever noticed, that your monetary success in the AppStore was a national one? Why are you ranked in Top 30 category in your country and in your neighboring country you did not get the real success? Well, you might accuse yourself, not really understanding foreign culture or some foolish thoughts like this. Your marketing was - maybe - not as good, as it should have been. Ok, you'll work on that. Maybe with the next update. And of course you could pimp your support website. And a twitter account, yeah, all successful app developers have a twitter account. Let's recapitulate: Your app is a success in your own home country and in addition, your app collects a bit money from the world. Hm.

Remember all the nice little rankings and sales reports you've received from countries you've never heard of before. Wow, there's one sale in Slovakia, which makes my app a Top100 Utility. Uhh, and another one in Indonesia. That's not big money, ok, but you're really excited about a gorgeous (and amazing) worldwide distribution model (Boom) which you are part of now. Watch out world, i'm coming? It's the opposite. It's your indicator of: world, i'm leaving.

AppStore Ranking and how it should work

We all believe, there is a fair chance, every app is ranked and rated by the customers. And the best will succeed. That sounds easy. Let's count your sales, maybe write an algorithm to estimate some progress and factor in some history sales counts. And then, you'll get a ranking. From 1 to 100000. Sounds good, fair, clear and easy, but reality is far worse.

AppStore Ranking and how it really works

Let's say, you're a french developer. Now, please look at your sales closely. You had a good ranking in france today, position 42 in your category. Your app is localized in english, of course, and you checked all the boxes in iTunesConnect, to (hopefully) sell it worldwide. But as you see, it's hard hard hard to achieve a somewhat attractive ranking outside france. Especially the US-Store with its enormous audience, which was initially your main target, moves like grandma. And, if you're lucky, they put you on place 82 or so. But that's just a flash in the pan and with a wink you're gone again. How could that happen? Is my app that bad? My english translation too sloppy? Design too goodlooking? Nothing of this. Your national app ranking for your home country is cumulated with your international sales. That's why french developers are slightly successful in France, why polish developers succeed mainly in Poland and why apps by germans reach the highest rankings in Germany. Please, think about it for a moment, before we continue.

What does this mean for all developers?

Conclusion is made easy, once you unveiled what may be apple's dirty little ranking secret. According to these rules, developers which home country provides the largest customer base and store has the most benefit of a ranking algorithm like this. While someone in that store sells 100 copies in his own country plus 100 copies worldwide is ranked a lot better (with accumulated 200 sales in his home store) than you, who also sold 100 copies the same day. But STOP. What market is the largest one and the most interesting one for monetarization? Yep. You got it. Welcome to the american dream. That's why all americans benefit while developers from the rest of the world are a sort of underpaid carpet weavers. Is this the future base for a business concept? Or are we wrong and world's full of satisfied polynesian developers who succeeded in the US TOP100. Successors outside US, please: drop us a line.


Let's see how the US ranking in category's TOP100 affects worldwide positions while your foreign ranking does nothing with the US listing. We've got some interesting statistics we'll add soon. What about you?


macrumors member
Nov 22, 2009
Sounds like a conspiracy theory with no sound basis.

All the rankings I've seen, seem to relate to the sales for that specific country.

I have a friend who had a top 10 App in the US but in his native country Australia it was ranked lower.

I think you need to check your stats again.


macrumors 68040
Apr 22, 2005
This post makes absolutely no sense; I'm not even sure I understand what point you are trying to make.

Your rank in a particular country's store depends entirely on how many units you have sold in that country, plus other factors like your star rating in that country's store, etc. The point is that only your performance in a given country's store affects your rank in that store. I don't see what the big conspiracy is. It is also true that you need far fewer sales in some other countries' stores to get into their top 100 or even top 10- sometimes only a few per day is good enough. This is obviously due to the fact that those countries' store sell far fewer apps in general. I don't see why the fact that you are coincidentally ranked highly in a random country's store should have any effect on your rank in the U.S. store, which is think is what the OP is insinuating.

I am also absolutely positive that many developers not located in the U.S. have had great successes in the U.S. app store.

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