Apple App Store Spamming Might Get Harder

This could be one for the books, Apple has admitted that the App Store has a spam problem and they’re going to tackle it.

Watch this video on YouTube.

English Version
Spanish Version

EN Transcription:

ASO: Did Windows Copy Apple App Store Algorithm | MTX15

Hi, I’m Nick Duddy from miratrix, and welcome to this week’s video.

This week I’m asking a question. Is the Apple App Store going to tackle spam?

And it’s kind of a loaded question, ’cause it looks like they actually are going
to be tackling spam.

And they’ve kind of already started. They’ve got a new boss over there called Peter Schiller, I think his name is. And he’s first started by refreshing the Best New Apps category more often, so people can’t kind of like, jam themselves in there for a while and get loads of installs.

And after a lot of Twitter pressure, Twitter is good for one thing, if not advertising, they’re going to deal
with the Highlighted Apps section in the App Store.

Which, people have essentially, been creating multiple publisher accounts with names that favor them.

In the alphabetical rankings. That would be numbers. And releasing slight variations of them and dominating the best new apps. Section of the App Store.

So he’s officially said, “This shouldn’t be happening, we’re going to look into it.”

Which is probably news for everybody who’s doing legit stuff, and probably not terrible news for spammers, because by their nature they’re pretty good at this stuff and they’ll find another way to get installs, but at least it’ll take away one problem from the genuine Apps that are there.

So, that’s this week’s video, and I’ll see you next week. Don’t forget to subscribe, you’ll get the button after this.

ES Transcription:

Hola, soy Nick Duddy de miratrix, y bienvenidos al vídeo de esta semana. Esta semana voy a hacer una pregunta.

¿La App Store de Apple va a abordar el spam? Y es más bien una pregunta con segundas, porque parece que van a abordar el spam de verdad. Y ya han empezado un poco. Tienen allí a un nuevo jefe llamado Peter Schiller, así creo que se llama.

Y ha empezado actualizando la categoría de Mejores Apps Nuevas más a menudo, así que la gente no puede, quedarse ahí durante un tiempo y conseguir muchísimas instalaciones.

Y tras mucha presión de Twitter, Twitter es bueno para una cosa, que no es publicitar, van a ocuparse de la
sección de Apps Destacadas de la App Store.

En la cual, la gente básicamente, ha estado creando varias cuentas de editores con nombres que les favorecen.

En las clasificaciones alfabéticas. Eso serían números. Y sacar ligeras variaciones de ellos y controlar la sección de mejores nuevas apps de la App Store.

Así que ha dicho oficialmente, “Esto no debería ocurrir, vamos a revisarlo.” Lo que probablemente sean buenas noticias para aquellos que hagan cosas legítimas, y probablemente no sean noticias malas para los spammers, porque son muy buenos con estas cosas por naturalezay encontrarán alguna otra forma de conseguir instalaciones, pero al menos solucionará un problema para las Apps originales que hay ahí fuera.

Y este es el vídeo de esta semana, nos vemos la semana que viene.

No olvidéis subscribiros, veréis el botón tras esto.

iOS 9 Spotlight: A Deeper Dive.

Last week Apple released iOS 9 promising a whole load of bells and whistles that the layman doesn’t really use or care about…sorry it’s early morning, I’ve not had coffee and my cynical side is showing. :p

For app marketers the biggest change is with spotlight Apple’s iOS Search Engine which is partially powered by Bing, so you know it’s AWESOME! …again, sorry. kettle is boiling…

I really wanted to cover Spotlight’s features in greater detail than I could in that post and try get some discussion around what its benefits can be now and in the future. Let’s get into it.

iOS 9.0 Spotlight’s Most Significant Feature

Spotlight’s biggest feature is app indexing. For those not familiar with the term app indexing it essentially allows the App Store to index content within your site. In this case it also extends to your website. So if your app and website share content you can index it through web search and your app. This isn’t a new technology – Google Play Store on Android has been indexing apps for a while now. Apple’s finally catching up.

In one sentence, it will allow you to float keyword relevant content to the top of the Spotlight search results.

How Do We Affect (Spam :p) Spotlight

You’ll be happy to know that Apple have given us some ‘guidelines’ on what will affect the search results. The areas you should be working on, according to Apple are:

  • Thumbnail
  • Title
  • Unique description

Simples. Fill in the image box, title and descriptions and done, right? Right. So we can move on? No. No. We can’t.

What Ranking Factors Could be in the Algorithm?

All in all Apple are very vague as to how this whole thing is going to work. Not in the sense that they are trying to hide the algo, more that they aren’t sure how it’s going to work. That’s the vibe I get from the Spotlight API documentation. Here are some points and my thoughts/assumptions on how this will pan out.

CTR (Quality over Quantity)

Obvious but interesting one. CTR usually determines if a bit of content is desirable. Interesting because those who get their foot in the door first will win big time. They’ll be little competition for keywords allowing you to grab all those lovely and algorithm swaying clicks.

Relative Keywords

They were very specific with this. I think because they don’t have a proper training data set to train the algorithm with so they want apps to optimise for a wide range of keywords.

  • Target Keyword
  • Abbreviation
  • Synonyms

This approach would suggest that they want you to target content in a very specific way. Who remembers door way pages in web search? This approach might work well for some apps in the early days.

Load times could be a factor

Apple want you to get the the user to relevant content as quickly as possible. In my mind that would require two things. The forever hot topic Deep linking and ensuring that your content is niche and very, VERY relevant to the key phrase, abbreviation or synonym. The other area, which I’m not to familiar with, is optimising the speed of your app…I’ll let someone else run with that.

My Opinion of iOS 9 Spotlight

Three questions keep running through my head when it comes to Spotlight.

  1. Does spotlight get used as Google does for discovery?
  2. Can it be used as growth engine for apps?
  3. More likely benefits lie in reactivation/retention.

And my thoughts about it are:

Does spotlight get used as Google does for discovery?: My gut says no, people don’t use Spotlight as a discovery tool. I’ve got an iPhone and an iPad and it’s safe to say I’ve never used Spotlight unless I’ve lost an app in a sea of random downloads.

Can it be used as growth engine for apps?: I think there are many other methods that start-ups should focus on before this. I don’t think the volume of searches are there to make the numbers work. However that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t tick all the boxes for ensuring that your app is fully index the content.

More likely benefits lie in reactivation/retention.: If you’ve got an app with lots of content but low retention index content might be able to help retain or reactivate users by resurfacing past and new content.

As iOS 9 has just come out a lot of this post is based on experience and bit of guess work. Any one else got some thoughts chip in below 🙂

Weekly Round Up


yoWe’re not just being informal and/or boisterous because it’s Friday… Yo is the name of the app that has had tongues wagging over the past week.

It pretty much has one function – to let the user send a simple “Yo” to one of their contacts. As reported it has been the subject of much derision, with US talk show host Stephen Colbert mocking it, talk of security issues and even its founder Or Arbel admitting that one commentator had described it as “the stupidest app he’d ever seen.”

But here’s where it gets really interesting – for all the criticisms and sneering, Yo reached the fifth place spot in the US Apple App Store rankings last week, beating Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. On one Thursday alone around 4 million Yos were sent. It might not be the most critically popular app out there, but the commercial story is very different.

A Good Sign

google_gesture_0We move on from a seemingly pointless method of communication to a concept that could be a seriously important game changer in communication for millions of people.

Mashable reported how a group of marketing students at Berghs School of Communication in Stockholm have come up with an idea for an app that makes sign language easy to understand in real time. The signer would wear a forearm band that analyses muscle movements to recognise the words being signed and transmit these to the app, which would in turn translate the sign language into audible words.

As we say its only a concept, but their mock up branding of the app as “Google Gesture” looks really good and one could easily imagine this becoming a reality at some point. It would be a godsend to those not familiar with sign language and would dramatically reduce the frustrations that deaf people can experience when the former are unable to interpret what they are trying to say.

On Yer Bike

cyclemapBefore we know it the World Cup will sadly be over, but fear not – it’s summer and there’s always another sporting event around the corner. One of the next big ones will be the Tour de France and therefore we thought we’d pick up on a cycling related app that’s been in the news this week.

MarketWatch brought us news of CycleMap – a new app available on the Apple App Store that has been created by Canadians David Boudreault and Olivier Carbonneau. The free app allows cyclists to find the best route possible anywhere in the world – indexing over a whopping 1.3 million km of the planet’s most popular bike paths.

Sounds like one we’ll be trying out soon…

The App Store Times: Amazon, Google and More Amazon!

App Store Times: App Store News

The App Store Times, Issue 5

Well. Well. Well. It was been an active old week past. Let see some of the more interesting things in the app world.

Amazon’s Hard Sell!

Amazon has been cold calling top developers from Google Play to try poach them over to the Amazon Appstore. Whoa. Well that’s what I thought. Then I remember that this is Amazon and it’s run by Jeff Bezos then the ‘whoa’ shrunk away.

Amazon are winners. They will do what ever they need to survive and to beat the competition. You can see this in how they operate their business. pretty much every penny of profit is reinvested into infrastructure so that they can be the best and beat everyone else.

Having the best appstore depends on the quality of the apps so cold calling top developers really shouldn’t come at a surprise.

Batten Down The Hatches; There Could Be A Flood of apps…

…from Chrome. Google has released a tool that allows Chrome app developers to release their apps into Google Play.

Looks like Google Play is going to get busier! Like Amazon’s move this is aimed at increasing the number of quality app developers for the Google Play app store, the more high quality the content, the happier the user and the happier the Googles.

More Amazon Tricks

That’s a bit harsh. It’s not really a trick, more of another attempt to get developers to mosey on over to Amazons Appstore.

If you’ve got an HTML5 site you can now submit it to the Amazon Appstore. This may not get you instant sales but it should get you more users. Then it’s up to you to use your marketing savy to turn your new users into ‘£10’ers’.

Where’s The Money? …Not In Portable Gaming Anyway

Apps Store Vs Console

Apps Store Vs Console

App Annie has released data showing that App Store and Google Play have gaming spend out stripped dedicated portable game console spend. To some of use this might be new news but if you saw Nintendo’s profit warnings last week it comes as no surprise.

Unknown FACT: Intel had An App Store.


Sometimes you don’t know something exists until it’s gone! Apparently Intel are closing the app store, probably because nobody used it, to focus on the innovations of the future…PC. Yes. You just heard my jaw drop. I think we will leave here. If you are interested in reading more about Intel’s App Store Google ‘App Up’.

Schoolz IN!

Samsung is out for our kids. I don’t mean that in a creepy way. They’ve created a tablet specifically for schools. The tablet integrates into the Google Play for Education system which makes setup for teachers easier…apparently.

This comes some months after Samsung did it’s deal with Fingerprint, a kids app network. Samsung are doing a huge push into education. Get’em while they are young!

Amazon has been crowned king of the app news this week. Tune in next week for some more of the useful news. Oh. And if anyone figures out what ‘easier for teachers means’ chip in below.

The App Store Times, Issue 4

App Store Times: App Store News

The App Store Times, Issue 4

Boom! We are back. A little later than usual, and I’m sorry for that. Last week’s news was a mixed bag but mostly with an Apple focus.

Apple’s 30th Birthday. You Look So Young!

Apple   Thirty Years of Mac
That’s right it was Apple Macintosh’s birthday last week. And like they revolutionised the the PC world they’ve revolutionised the way we purchase music and software on our phones…and possibly payments in the future, but that’s a story for further down the page.

If you want to see a bunch of artists and designers talking nonsense check out Apple’s 30th video.

Give Us Your Money: Apple.

Would you allow Apple to manage your payments for items not from an Apple store? The bosses at Apple are rumoured to have been in talks with industry executives (whoever that is) to discuss growing their payment services for everyday purchases through your mobile device.

This could be absolutely huge for Apple and for the everyday consumer. It could increase competition in the payments sector but once again limiting it to the big tech giants. I’m eager to get more information on this latest development and when I do I’ll share it with y’all.

Got Game On Android And It’s Not In Japanese…

I recently read an article stating that combined with the US, Japan and South Korea make up 75% of global Google Play revenue. What this means is if you’ve got a game or app in the Google Play store and it’s only in English you are missing out in a huge chunk of revenue from the Japanese and South Korean markets.

You need to be thinking Asia for your next marketing tactic.

Well it’s been short and sweet. Tune in next week for more of interesting stuff from the app world.

The App Store Times: Unethical Kids Apps & Apple Pays Back!

App Store Times: App Store News

The App Store Times, Issue 3

Welcome back to The App Store Times. Thankfully this week there is a little more variation in the news around apps. Some of the news makes you think really?? Others makes you ‘Ha!’. I’ll let you decide and hopefully my commentary won’t guide you too much.

GooglePlay Update Preserves Battery

This is not so much an app update. It’s worth note though. Android GooglePlay Services recently released and update to 4.1 that’s main point was battery conservation. However in addition the update to Google Play Services lets developers institute turn-based multi-players. So if your an app games developer on Android that’s pretty good news…possible business model; charge per user?

If you’ve got a good game that could work!

Plastic Surgery Game…Aimed At Children

Frankly. I didn’t see this one coming. A game designed to teach kids about plastic surgery and how to perform it…on Barbie. I’d like to think this that was to promote budding surgeons but can’t see this being the case. It’s no Operation board game!

Understandably the game has struck a nerve with the parenting community and the mass media. Check some of the reactions on twitter.

Looks like Apple pulled the app from the app store after the barrage of complaints. Will be interesting to see if rears it’s head in another category.

Apple Pays Backs Big Time

Apple pays back 32.5million

This is pretty big! Apple had to pay back $32.5 million dollars to parents after their cart didn’t ask for a password for every purchase. It was working on a one-click basket method, link when you buy books on your Kindle. 32.5 Million isn’t a lot of money at Apple but it’s the embarrassment of the error. Also it brings into question how ethical are the conversion rate optimisation tactics of the past. Not having to sign in was clearly removing a barrier to sales and thus increasing sales. Changing this could have long term implications on their bottom line.

In saying that Apple are a smart bunch. I’m sure they’ll figure a way around it. I know what I’d do…

MobileDevHQ Goes Free

Yup! For a basic account you get a lot more free and most importantly we get our grubby hands on their API! I’m not going to doubly explain what they’re giving away and their new features. Check out their blog post on the big news.

Another week done and dusted
If you think you should get a shout in our app news let us know. Whether it’s a cool app or new app marketing tool ping me a message on twitter @nickduddy.

The App Store Times: All To Be Acquired.

App Store Times: App Store News

App Store Times, Issue 2

It’s not been much of an exciting week in the app world this is probably because CES has been gobbling up all the press! In saying that there were a couple of interesting things and here they are in short, sweet fashion!

Google ‘Acquires At Will’

Creating an app for the sole purpose of being acquired by Google has become a popular business model. Last week we talked about Flock this week we have a new acquisition. This week Google has adsorbed Bitspin, the company behind Timely App.

Watch this video on YouTube.

Apple Picks Up SnappyApp

It looks as if Apple want to add to their already superior camera function by acquiring SnappyApp (I think I should rename these articles to The App Acquisition Times). The app is has been removed from the store and their site had been taken down. You’ve got to say Apple moves fast.

A Hat-trick of Acquisitions. Yahoo Buy Aviate

aviate app acquired by  yahoo
Three in a row this week for app acquisitions for the big boys. Aviate is a pretty cool app (in concept because I couldn’t get a beta pass until I tried it this very minute). It arranges your screen based on behaviour and usage. It’s for the person who can’t be bother creating screens and screens of apps. Those that don’t live and breath through their phones.

TV Apps Could Be The Future

Philips Smart TV GooglePlay
We couldn’t have got through this weeks issue without mentioning CES Vegas 2014. Panasonic, you need to give it to them they do their best to innovate and try new things. A lot of companies can’t legitimately make that claim.

Philips are integrating Google Play into all of their Smart TV’s. As an app marketer you in to consider how this will affect you app usage and how you are going to cater to that change. Obviously this won’t affect all apps but if your if you are a multi-media app e.g. music player/streamer, video or gaming app you need to start thinking about how the in-app interaction will change and cater to this.

With CES and all the acquisitions the news hasn’t left us much room for innovation but it’s early days in 2014. Hopefully the coming weeks will bring some cool apps and useful innovation.

The App Store Times: Flock YAHOO Fail & Google Bump!

App Store Times: App Store News

App Store Times, Issue 1

Hi all! Welcome to a New Year!
I’ve decide that in 2014 I’m going to talk more in blogs, video’s, twitter and also in a couple of other places. This change will either make you cry or smile…not sure you will jump for joy though; some of you might.

The first thing I’m going to do on a weekly basis is write a round up of what’s been happening in the app world. As you’ll have no doubt have guessed it’s called The App Store Times, very original I thoughr. It will contain anything from security breaches to acquisitions, to app store updates which have hammered your downloads! Anything that is interesting in the world.

Yahoo End Year With No Top 100 Apps

Yahoo Not In Top 100 Apps in Apple App Store

Yahoo’s New Branding Didn’t Help This Time.

I’m going to say it. I like Yahoo. But I don’t have one of their apps on my phone. I also like what Marissa Mayer is doing over at Yahoo and I hope that they manage to pull it back.
In saying that for a company who’s entire focus is mobile, it doesn’t look as if the future is bright.

Yahoo have failed to get any of their 10 App’s into the Top 100 of the Apple App Store. Not even the much loved Flickr app managed to get in there. If Yahoo want to become synonymous with mobile they are really going to need to pull something out of the bag in 2014.

Based on their apps at the moment they are trying to compete in super competitive places, weather, sports, news, chat etc. Maybe it’s time that Yahoo developed something useful and niche. Come on Mayer! Put the R&D team to work, maybe try an early days of Apple approach…

FOR FLOCK SAKE! Google Buy And Shut Down Flock App Company

Google Shuts Down Flock App

Google Kicks Another To the curb!

Another one of those stories you hear when a big giant buys a company just to shuts it down, leaving us thinking whhhyyyy?

If you don’t know what Flock does. Flock makes Bump which, you may have guessed, allows you to bump your phone’s together and share files, contacts etc. Google acquired Flock back in September at the time it was all fine and nothing was to change, until now.

I’m not sure if Google are planning on implementing this directly into Android or if they just wanted the brains behind it. We do know that they are working on Android Beam and this would work nicely with it. The team at Flock are now being assimilated (sorry, had to use that word) into Google and are focusing on other projects which leave no time to maintain the Flock and Bump apps. Kind of makes sense.

The next few months will be interesting from a hardware perspective. You’ll all know from posts that I think that Apple and PayPal are trying to kill NFC. If Google release beam and it’s entirely Bluetooth LE then I think it’s fair to say that NFC is about to take a long walk off a short peer.

…in full disclosure. I’m in the Bluetooth LE. BT4 LETS GOOOO!

Meizu’s Giving It Away

Meizu Free App Store

Meizu Just Giving It Away!

This one’s for publishers and developers. Meizu desperately wants developers to publish on their store. They’ve decided to take ZERO percent of app sales. This is a pretty aggressive move. I’m struggling to think of reasons other than time, which can be manage, why people wouldn’t do this. I’m all for competition in app market place. It can only benefit the developers and consumer.

Good luck to Meizu. I’ll be keeping an eye on this.

Well. That’s it for this issue. Hopefully you’ve found it useful. If you’ve got more info on the topics or have your own opinion please chime-in in the comments.

Ciao for Now!