One Photo Sums Up Exactly Why You Can Never Trust App Store Rankings

So this explains why that crappy app you hate has so many downloads …

A photograph of an unidentified woman working what appears to be 100 iPhone 5c units has gone viral after being uploaded to Chinese social media site Weibo.

The photo reportedly shows how workers at Chinese app manipulation farms simultaneously download, install and uninstall an app continuously on multiple phones to increase an app’s ranking in the App Store. App developers can pay app manipulation farms $11,200 to get their app ranked in the App Store’s top 10 free apps chart and then another $65,000 per week to stay there, according to an accompanying image uploaded with the original photo.

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While Apple’s algorithm for its App Store rankings have never been fully disclosed, one factor that weighs heavily into the equation is an app’s overall number of downloads. Ratings are another factor that affect rankings as well, and services to boost ratings are also available from app manipulation farms.

While Apple — which recently became the most valuable company in American history — disapproves of App Store manipulations, it hasn’t been able to completely eliminate the practice with its crackdowns.

Featured image via Weibo

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