We all know that Blackhat ASO is an issue for both the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store.
Each of the stores has taken steps to eliminate spam and blackhat tactics, but there are definitely still people/companies out there that can game the system.
Google has been taking steps to identify and eliminate these apps that try to take advantage of the Play Store algorithm. Recently Google announced changes to their Developer Program Policies on incentivized ratings, reviews and installs. The blog post is written by Kazushi Nagayama on the Android Developer Blog.
Nagayama wrote that incentivized installs have always been against their policy, and now
“installs with the intent to manipulate the placement of an app in Google Play will be detected and filtered.”
As most of us know, we can burst the ranking of an app by sending a large volume of incentivized installs in a short period of time. Nagayama explains that Google will now monitor for that specific tactic and will take action against apps that try to game the system. Google also understand that incentivized installs “can be a legitimate user acquisition channel for some developers” so it’s not completely out of the question, there just cannot be the intention of “hacking” your rankings.
At the end of the day, less blackhat manipulation maintains a better app ecosystem for both developers and users alike. Developers that create high quality apps deserve to rank higher, and users looking for apps deserve to see the best of the best. By forcing developers to focus on the quality of their app and engaging their users, we’re able to raise the bar and provide a better experience for everyone.