I am an iOS indie developer and I love to download app on App Store as an user. But I was totally SHOCKED by the chaos in App Store of China recently.
I found 90% apps on the Top 100 Free App Store that were all promoted by FAKE Downloads. It means Top Free Game Charts has been manipulated by Bot-Farm Companies.
Look at this chart, maybe you wonder why so many famous games like Candy Crush, Subway Surfers, and Clash of Clans were considered as fraud?
The truth is they were used as a cover for the struggle of two Bot-Farm Companies. The evidence is they keep moving up and down in the rankings on App Store (China) these days.
This battle stems from competition of two bot-farm companies. One captured several business from another with low price. The losing side decide to ‘lock' charts to obstruct their business. They use cheat tool to drive many famous games up to Top 50 (Yes , most of them are very famous apps but not stand in Top 50 before this war)
And the other one of course pay it back, so we found incredible fraud in China Top 100 Free Game App Store.
As an honest indie, I really love developing apps on iOS and it saddens me to face the unfair charts on the App Store.
As an iPhone user, I have heard so many people talking about they don't trust the charts on App Store any more.
It really hurt :(
You are surprised that there is software fraud in China? Really now, I'm no racist but the Chinese are notorious for stealing software and cheating.
First, world wide developers don't really need Chinese market to survive. Most appstore revenue comes from North America, Europe, Japan, Korea, Australia.
Second, it's still ok compare to Android market. Since Google Play is not available in China, Chineses create their own android markets, and people can download everything from that, Rovio, Chillingo, EA, ...., fraud, cracked, virus, secretly sending sms from phone, etc.
In China, when you buy a smartphone, the seller offer you a service that you can have any apps available on it and of course free of charge. That is nature, everyone does that, you should do that.
The cheat tool is cool! I hope it work for US market. If I have it, would I drive my app downloads ? Sure. why not ? What do I have to lose now ?
lol @letmeknow I'd really like to sit down and have a beer with you sometime :)
Also invite @ajlondon
...and together we use the cheat tool. Cool!
How do I get in on some of that cheat tool action? And is there a localization for English?
@letmeknow you do make me laugh, such an app probably wouldn't be too difficult to script out, although it is going to look a bit suspicious all these accounts downloading from your own IP :-) I do hope Apple is pro-active in stamping out this sort of activity.
@cocojoe: I created a forum for my app, everyday I delete about 10-20 spam post, ban several user accounts and iP, but they keep comming back everyday. I believe they are the same guys, but with different iP, fake iPs.
I'm not sure it's the right decision to ban iPs or not, since spam guys can use any iPs they want, the iP black list is as long as hundreds iPs but still not preventing them from visiting the forum.
Everything can be done in this world, just we can't imagine it can be done.
IP Addresses are really easy to fake - even if you're not spoofing them. Services that offer anonymous routing (like onion routing with something like TOR) allow you to legitimately "pop out" at a random address somewhere in the world. There are good uses for it (esp. in dictatorial regimes), but it can also be used for nefarious purposes. Using these services, you can make a hundred visits to the same site within minutes, all with different IP Addresses. And that's only using a single computer.
@letmeknow you tend to ban IPs on a temp basis. In the case of a forum if you are using common software like phpBB then it is good to add a human captcha which should help curb the automated spam. This works best of course if you have an English speaking forum...
Yes, it's phpBB & it has captcha when register new users, but still got spams. Anyway, there is no perfect way to destroy spam completely.
@letmeknow I have never looked into it however I am curious do you know what IAP sales figures are like for China?
I didn't catch you, what is the relationship between forum, spam & IAP sales ? The Chinese appstore chart provided by @TotalEclipse.
Nihil novi ;)
If botfarms were (are in some cases I'm sure) used en masse on the US market which is the most prominent, than noone should be surprised things like that happen on the Chinese one
The thing I don't get is how is it for Apple to see it and do nothing. A few bans here and there would stop developers from using botfarms and without source of income the source of cheating would dry out too
@letmeknow well we are talking about bots pushing up Free apps into the Top 50 however if the apps are not being monitized with strong IAP sales in China. Then why even bother faking downloads?
@MikeSz: I have heard someone said if they (people) catch all Italian mafia, they wouldn't have Italian government anymore. Similar things might happens to Chinese market, if they stop developers from using botfarms (by anyway), they may not have any apps in Chinese appstore anymore.
@cocojoe: I did not bother about faking apps in China, I wish I could be (or be backed up by) a Chinese in US market.