More Evidence Suggests Apple Tweaked its App Store Ranking Algorithm
Apple is widely believed to have altered the algorithm used to determine app ranking in the company's App Store. Although Apple is not commenting on the supposed revision, developers and other observers - including the analysts at Flurry - say that changes are apparent, particularly with regard to criteria used to elevate app rankings.
Based on the apparent revisions, it now seems as though the number of downloads an app sees exerts less influence than before on its ranking in the App Store. In the Top Free app category, for example, evidence suggests that Apple is giving more weight to applications that are "actively used."
“We’ve been noticing changes in the Top Free rankings for at least three days now,” says Peter Farago, vice president of marketing at Flurry. “From our point of view, Apple is absolutely considering more than just downloads, which we believe is the right direction to go in to measure the true popularity of an app.”
On the positive side of this change would be a more accurate and telling reflection of the apps that are truly the most popular and most widely used. On the other hand, this method of considering active use in app ranking favors longstanding popular apps, which makes it exponentially more cumbersome for a "new guy" to gain traction and ascend the App Store's ranking ladder. For example, huge apps like Facebook and Netflix have already benefited in their respective rankings from the suspected algorithm modification.
Source: Into Mobile Apps