When the news broke today that many game companies with apps in Apple’s Top 25 App Store Charts have paid for marketing services guaranteeing top placement either by allegedly using bots or some mysteriously unknownlegitimate strategy (that we’d love to discover thesecret of), we knew that it would hit Apple’s radar screen.

And tonight, it has. Apple just posted on its Developer Blog and News Feed a message re-iterating its policy in regards third-party marketing services and paying to manipulate the top rankings of its chart is, don’t do it . . . or else.

Apple’s post specifically says:

“Once you build a great app, you want everyone to know about it. However, when you promote your app, you should avoid using services that advertise or guarantee top placement in App Store charts. Even if you are not personally engaged in manipulating App Store chart rankings or user reviews, employing services that do so on your behalf may result in the loss of your Apple Developer Program membership.”

The key points to Apple’s post are:

  • Game companies should not use services that guarantee top placement in the App Store.
  • Paying for a third party service that guarantees placement is the same manipulating the chart rankings yourself.
  • Doing so may result in being kicked off from the App Store.

The key word is “may.” This means that if you have engaged in such services in the past, you are most likely to get a free pass.

If you do so in the future, however, the party’s over. No longer you be able to pay someone overseas $5000 – $20,000 for guaranteed placement in the App Store, no questions asked about what magic (or computer program) is magically making your free app grow from number 300 to number 10 overnight.

Given how high this controversy is on Apple’s radar screen, any company caught as of tomorrow using such services will most likely will kicked off the App Store, no matter how big they or their venture capital partners are. So, if you are one of the unlucky few who signed on to such a service that will start up tomorrow, my advice is to read this blog post and cut the cord immediately.

Gamezebo will continue in its coverage of this news story and further investigate how these companies work. If you are a company that wants to talk to us about this topic on or off-the record, tip us.

To read more about this story:
Are the top free games the result of bot farming?
The Things People do to be Number One