A week ago my suspicion grew upon awkward events in the Samsung Appstore, as I have noticed inconsistent movement within the store’s so called “TOP Paid 15” chart listing the apparently most sold applications. Everything started with the 2D game Assault, which was initially free at its release.
It can be said that for a free game, it offered simple but reasonable 2D graphic sprites, but also suffered from obvious bugs, such as unlocking all of about 20 levels of the game after the first game launch. The gameplay doesn’t provide much variation either and is rather monotone. I was able to download this game for free from the Appstore but uninstalled it soon after. Several days later it was again listed under the “New Apps” section, but now with a price tag of €1.99, and if that’s not enough, surprise! it was then ranked #1 in the Top Paid 15 chart. And this seemed just the beginning, I also observed the same methodology with the CandleLight app, nextMinesweeper and currently FurryLegends, which was initially free and now tries to sell for a tragic amount of €4.99.
Jump-start to Rank #1
It now seems ever more evident that the best-selling chart is prone to easy manipulation and that the system to determine the top applications is badly flawed. The simplest of all theories would be, that free applications can accumulate a massive amount of downloads, as many Users will just download anything for free and later on sort out the useless, and when changing the app’s distribution plan to paid application it seems the download counter is simply not reset but adds the free downloads towards the paid purchases. Now some wicked minds apparently found out about this exploit and start to firstly release their applications for free to just turn them into paid apps, jump-starting into the best-selling chart. And it seems that just a few days of free download are enough to outnumber the downloads of quality paid apps such as Gameloft titles like the very popular shooter Nova , which has been around in the Appstore from the very launch of bada itself. I don’t have insight into the the back-end mechanics running within the Appstore, thus it leaves much room for assumptions, of course, but the existence of this problem seems quite obvious.
The aim of those people distributing these “false best-selling apps” is obviously to further promote their relatively low quality applications with an allegedly very high demand for it, leading customers into false assumptions of paying for a high quality app but in fact are paying for a possibly over-prized application.
I wrote the Samsung Team an inquiry concerning this matter, and will update as soon as I receive an answer. Meanwhile I advice you not to consult the Top Paid 15 chart for your next app purchase.