Let’s all admit that the free ranking chart in the iTunes App Store is pretty well bogged down by horrible, horrible titles — but have you ever wondered why? Over at the TouchArcade forums, one developer noticed an ad that promised a spot in the top 25 list, with eight titles on said list that used the service. It turns out that a company had constructed a vast botnet, and for a cool $5,000 would push your app up the charts, at which point real customers would notice and start downloading.
Now this blatantly against Apple’s rules, and the company appears to be cracking down on it, but it still seems to be happening. I’ve always wondered why such horrible apps seem to flood the free rankings, when there are some legitimately fantastic free ones, too. I’ve always assumed that users have no taste, but if this is correct then it looks like unethical users are as much to blame. Hopefully Apple will be able to tweak the algorithm or figure a way of accounting for bots when compiling the chart. Maybe your download doesn’t count unless you actually use the app?