Developers cheating to get No.1 on AppStore

Discussion in 'iOS Apps' started by mappyman, Aug 20, 2008.

  1. mappyman macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #1
    Look at the Top paid App right now.

    It is "Crazy Disco".

    Yesterday it was a free program and now it is $1. Because it was free and downloaded many times, its popularity had been boosted prior to becoming a paid apps. This popularity is carried over to its paid status giving it No.1 position.

    Why dont Apple reset the popularity of an App when it switches to become a paid app ?

    :apple:
     
  2. liketom macrumors 601

    liketom

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2004
    Location:
    Lincoln,UK
    #2
    that's a cunning plan

    click click click 60,000 times then up the price from 0 to $1 :D

    Rich i tells you RICH
     
  3. Dimwhit macrumors 68000

    Dimwhit

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2007
    #3
    Wait until Simplify Media goes paid in a few weeks. Talk about a big jump. They've already had a couple hundred thousand downloads.

    I think for some developers, that would be unintentional. For others, I'm sure it's by design.
     
  4. ballen420 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2008
    Location:
    South of Boston
    #4
    It should be reset - I thought they were going to fix that problem.

    On another note, I'm tired of these applications that don't turn off the sound when the silent switch is set. I downloaded Crazy Disco last night for S&G and hit it by accident at work this morning. Nothing like an obnoxious sound in the office at 8 am when you have your phone on silent!!!
     
  5. detz macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2007
    #5
    Very clever. Another one which I'm not sure is fixed or not is people adding spaces before the name so it appears at the top of the list. "Test App" with " Test App" shows at the top of the list. Silly Apple.
     
  6. whosyourtator macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2007
    #6
    They need to reset the count

    I saw that "Tip" did exactly the same thing. It suddenly appeared in the #2 spot a few days ago after being free for a very long time. It has since fallen to 14 or so.
     
  7. Greencardman macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2003
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    #7
    I believe the spaces problem was fixed.

    Do you think its really a problem for the numbers not to be reset? After all, they lost money on all those downloads that were free. Do we know for sure they will make it back up with the extra downloads that come with being at the top of the list? I'm not so sure.
     
  8. CommanderData macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2007
    #8
    A very interesting point of view. Certainly Simplify Media deserves to move to the top of the paid apps once they make it non-free? They will have lost many hundreds of thousands of dollars in the giveaway. At least the extra exposure at the top of the paid apps may help them gain some paid sales.
     
  9. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2003
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #9
    They have lost no dollars. They gave it away for free. They didn't give away money. It didn't cost them money to give it away. Now because the app is "number one" more people will buy it than if they had to compete with all the paid apps from the start. They don't lose money, they gain money.
     
  10. whosyourtator macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2007
    #10
    There is an element of deceit to it because many apps never announce they are in promotion. They just start free and then switch once they reach so many downloads.

    I think it is ok to announce that an app is free for x number of downloads, but acting like an app is going to be free and then switching is deceitful.
     
  11. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #11
    *shrug* Popularity is popularity. This same trick is done all the time with software outside the iPhone, with newspapers and magazines to increase subscription rates, with all kinds of other service sector offerings.

    If you want to compete with it, there's nothing stopping you from incentivizing downloads with a loss-leader free downloading campaign, any more than there is anything stopping anyone else.

    I find it less duplicitous than, say, this fishy "private / paid beta" program that MacTheRipper is doing....
     
  12. CommanderData macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2007
    #12
    Actually I believe it has cost Simplify Media money already. Software development costs are the most obvious, and then unexpected server upgrades to handle the strain of 200,000 new users in 30 hours. Not to mention they originally planned to give away only 100,000 copies, but the downloads were so fast and furious there was no way for them to cut off at the limit (they had naively estimated 30 days to reach 100,000 users). With only daily sales figures available right now it was impossible for them to know what was happening until it was too late. That's a minimum of 100,000 lost sales at whatever their final pricetag is. Even if you want to support them and try to buy the app afterwards, Apple remembers you bought it and you just re-download it for free...

    I do agree with whosyourtator that any app trying this should make it clear upfront when posted to the app store that it is free for x number of days or downloads, then paid. At least that gets rid of the shady line-jumpers.
     
  13. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

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    Sep 3, 2003
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #13
    It would have cost them to develop the software whether or not they gave it away. This is irrelevant.

    Arguably here what cost them money was not giving the software away but poor planning. I haven't been following this case, but I suppose you should include the cost of servers to handle the downloads. A negligible cost, generally.

    If their servers were handling the downloads they should have known exactly how many downloads were occurring. If there are too many, just shut off the server.

    The number of lost sales, by contrast, is impossible to know. How would we know how many copies would have been sold if it wasn't free? If I give away free beer and 5,000 people show up at my front door, how can I say that 5,000 people (or 1,000, or 100) would have showed up if I had been charging $5 per glass?

    Presumably they knew this at the outset. Maybe they could set up a paypal account for donations... or just bask in all the free publicity from being the #1 app.

    Agreed -- but more importantly, Apple shouldn't count free copies in its sales stats.
     
  14. CommanderData macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2007
    #14
    You do have some valid points that are not worth arguing about, but I felt the need to correct this section... Their servers don't host the files for downloads. Apps in the store are hosted by Apple only, and they are wrapped in Fairplay DRM which ties them to your iTunes account when you download it.
     
  15. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    #15
    I think the app store listings and rankings need to be divided into three categories -- Free, Paid, and 99 cents!

    Personally, I think the 99 cents apps are the most annoying -- while there are a few 99 cents apps that are good, a vast majority make me wince and think "You are charging for *that*?"

    When an app is free, it doesn't matter if it's junk, and the ones that are good make you happy that you are getting such good value for free. 99 cents, however...
     
  16. mcdj macrumors 604

    mcdj

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2007
    Location:
    NYC
    #16
    one review for Crazy Disco predicted exactly this scenario...apparently the dev has done it before.
     
  17. Greencardman macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2003
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    #17
    So I'm wondering, is there still a complaint here? Who's getting hurt if this continues? After all, some customers are getting an app for free if they get in early. And if all developers did this, then we'd all move to the top of the list, and even more customers would get apps for free. So who's being hurt when a developer has a free trial period?
     
  18. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

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    Jul 17, 2008
    #18
    Other developers who chose, for whatever reason, to charge for their apps from the beginning, and whose apps get pushed down the ranking list.
     
  19. Greencardman macrumors 6502

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    Apr 24, 2003
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    Milwaukee, WI
    #19
    So make it free for a limited time, and you'll get pushed back up, no? Doing the math, it shouldn't matter if you give it away for free in the beginning or give it away for free in the middle.
     
  20. tdhurst macrumors 68040

    tdhurst

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2003
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #20
    huh?

    That's not cheating, it's a clever way to promote their product. I understand that the download numbers are already off because free apps are downloaded much more freely than paid apps, but I don't have a problem with someone doing this, especially for a buck.

    What's the harm?
     
  21. Dorfdad macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2007
    #21
    Possible fix for this only allow price changes ever 30 days.. This way you can't play games like this.
     
  22. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

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    Sep 3, 2003
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #22
    Well, then, the entire original argument falls apart, doesn't it? If Apple is hosting the download service, than how can it cost a company anything to offer a free download? They don't pay for the servers or the bandwidth.
     
  23. Greencardman macrumors 6502

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    Apr 24, 2003
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    #23
    No, I think his point was that Simplify shutting off their servers wouldn't stop people downloading, Simplify would have had to change it directly in the App Store, and, for a few reasons I can think of but won't get into, it sounds like Simply wasn't able to keep track close enough to know their app had become wildly popular and went over their pre-set limit for free downloads.
     
  24. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

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    #24
    they do have to pay a 100 a year to have apple host it though
     
  25. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    #25
    I think the server that was being overloaded is the music streaming server that Simplify uses to stream music from user's computers to their iPhones. That is something Simplify has to pay to maintain and upgrade.
     

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