According to AppFigures, a company specializing in metrics and tracking the ranking of iPhone applications, the iTunes App Store is officially frozen – that is, there has been no change in rankings for any applications in the last 24 hours.

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The problem may be older then that however. Over the last week, many of our clients and various posts on message boards have pointed to strange app ranking issues including sudden unexplained jumps or drops in ratings, applications appearing out of nowhere, and other anomalies. Release dates seem to be one of the more effected aspects, with the release date option appearing and disappearing from the developer console.

Personally…. with it happening just after Halloween, we believe that iTunes has been possessed by the ghosts off rejected applications and the issues will continue until a full exorcism of Apple has occurred. That aside, we expect Apples engineers are frantically plugging away on the back end, trying to resolve the problem.

Please comment on any additional issues you notice, and we will continue to monitor and report if we hear of a change.

***RUMOR MILL UPDATE***

According to the founder of Cramzy, who claims to have inside information, one of the problems is because a major change is being made to the system. The gist of the change is this – updating your app will no longer place you at the top of the “Recently Released Apps” queue. If this is true, we believe this is an extremely poor decision by Apple. The marketing uplift given to an app by performing an update can be significant, and this feature as it currently is keeps developers involved in their apps, refreshing them with new content and bug fixes. Removing this will lead to more apps going stale, cluttering up the app store and making it harder for anyone to sell anything.

**RUMOR CONFIRMATION**

One of our clients, Memorize Words, Spanish Edition , had their app update approved today. Its app description only lists it as “Last Updated Nov 6th”, however it does not appear on the recently released apps section in its category. All apps in the recently released are listed as version 1.0’s. No official word from Apple, but all evidance points to this as a new major change in the app store.

2 Comments »

  1. It was actually worse… they had the Top 100 for each category showing brand new and frankly, otherwise unpopular apps for several hours. The #1 app for a while became “iGlowStickPro” which was brand new and hardly a bestseller.

    The rankings have been fixed but there is a new change in their system. Presumably, in the process of making the change, that’s how they broke things.

    The big change: New Releases now only shows brand new 1.0 apps. Updated apps don’t appear.

    The outage was very frustrating. My app, 100sounds, had been 72 in Entertainment, but for several hours over the past 2 days, it was completely absent from the charts. Now, it’s 63, so the damage was temporary!
    But that GlowStick app got rocketed to #9, thanks to the publicity from those few hours!

    Read more here:

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=814724

    Comment by Todd Bernhard — November 6, 2009 @ 6:49 pm

  2. There are SEO people who whine every time Google changes something. Every little detail matters to them because their primary marketing techniques are all about taking technical advantage of the system. Their content and offers tend to be of questionable value anyway.

    The majority of good folks follow a few basic good practices but the majority of their time is spent producing good content and products. Their marketing strategy is to focus on their audience/customers more than on Google. These folks tend to be in good shape whatever the changes.

    Changes like this mean that the app market place is continuing to mature. Pushing a new release with insignificant changes shouldn’t lead to a free marketing bump. Yes, it creates new challenges for marketers, it’s important to know about and respond to, but good call by Apple.

    Thanks for sharing the info, Aaron!

    Comment by Dale Larson — November 7, 2009 @ 5:14 am

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