Google Beefs Up Fraud and Spam Detection in the Play Store
As a developer, having your application rise to the top of the charts can mean the difference between having enough money to fund your next app or having to look for outside funding. You may not like it, but you can understand how a superior app beats your app in ratings. Competition will drive you to improve your app, and further satisfy your existing and potential customers. But it’s completely different when you see an obvious spam app start to garner significant attention and bring in more revenue than a truly polished product.
Google uses a number of factors to determine an application’s rank within the Play Store. These factors include things like the number of installs, highly-praised reviews, and how many stars a person is rating your application. The sad part is, some businesses have figured out ways to game these key factors and they sell services to desperate developers who want to increase the awareness of their application within the Play Store. This system is terribly unfair to developers who don’t have the cash to spend to also use these systems, and it’s unfair to users who are presented apps with artificially inflated ratings.
Google has been aware of this issue for awhile now, and they’ve been working hard to improve the experience for developers who are not trying to manipulate their app’s rankings. The company has just announced some new and improved detection and filtering systems that will be able to spot these ranking abuses more effectively. Naturally, it is unlikely that this will be the end-all solution to the problem, but it’s one much needed step further in the cat and mouse game between Google and Play Store ranking abusers.
Still, Google rolled out these new detection systems for the Play Store yesterday and they’ll continue to improve them as they are able to collect more data. If Google’s new systems detect an application’s ranking is being manipulated, then they will simply filter out those changes. If a developer is caught manipulating the system for an extended period of time, then Google will remove all of their apps from the Play Store entirely.
Google still encourages that developers use 3rd-party marketing companies to promote their application, but asks that you follow the rules outlined in the Developer Support Resources.Source: Android Developers Blog
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