Earlier this year, Google announced a rather significant revision to its search algorithm that determines which results appear at the very top of a user’s online search inquiry. Just as Google aimed to reduce the prime rankings of often factually-challenged material from content mills across the Internet, Apple is said to be similarly looking to adjust its app store rankings to more accurately reflect genuine user preferences.
Although Apple hasn’t confirmed the update, the Cupertino, California-based tech giant is widely believed to have altered the algorithm used to determine app ranking in the App Store.
This week, no shortage of developers – and even the analysts at Flurry – have commented that big changes are, indeed, apparent, particularly with regard to criteria used to elevate or diminish app rankings.
Based on the supposed revisions, the number of downloads an app boasts exerts less influence than before on its ranking in the App Store. Instead, Apple looks to be giving more weight to applications that are “actively used.”
“We’ve been noticing changes in the Top Free rankings for at least three days now,” says Peter Farago, vice president of marketing at Flurry. “From our point of view, Apple is absolutely considering more than just downloads, which we believe is the right direction to go in to measure the true popularity of an app.”
Several developers, however, have been quick to criticize the algorithm tweak, which arguably makes it more cumbersome for a new developer to gain traction with their creations and ascend to the top of the App Store’s ranking.
The new algorithm favors large and already well-established applications like Facebook and Netflix – both of which are enjoy top rankings in their respective categories since the rumored algorithm changes took hold earlier this week.