Download bots more common practice in App Store than initially reported

Just because Apple has officially stated that anyone using “bots” to inflate their download numbers in the App Store will be kicked out, does that mean Manipugate (as I shall now call the bot-download scandal) is over?

Not by a long shot, at least to the investigative reporters here at Gamezebo or at Inside Mobile Games.

Kim-Mai Cutler, who moderated the excellent panel at Inside Social Apps about mobile app distribution, has finally written her follow up piece to the scandal, and she raises good points.

One, download “bots” were the biggest well known secret in the mobile apps industry (hence, the title of her article, “Download bots were the “well known secret in the app ecosystem.”)

Two, Ms. Cutler suggests that “it’s absurd to think about how long Apple must have known about and tolerated this practice.”

I absolutely agree on both points.

In the same way that there is no way Apple does not know how iPhones really are made (in horrible working conditions at Foxconn factories in China), it is inconceivable to believe Apple did not realize that bots were being used to manipulate the store rankings, both from a technical side (if a game jumps from #500 to #5 in a hour, hmmmm . . .) and from the business logic end.

It’s challenging to get anyone on record to discuss Manipugate, but the ones that do either claim paying for download bot services was one of many marketing strategies they tried and tested or that they they never did it … after admitting they did (check out the Inside Mobile Apps article to see what I mean).

As I have said before, if you are a games company that has either used or did not use such services and want to go on record about this subject, please contact us and we’ll post your thoughts.

“Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants,” a very wise man said. Extra points if you contact us and tell me who said this wise quote as well.

For more of our coverage on the bot-download controversy, click over to our Manipugate tag.

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