Apple Tweaks the Appstore Part II

In my post yesterday I showed how Apple can tweak the top 100 lists to manipulate outcomes keep it fresh .

Today I would like to point out a problem that we as developers have with the store.

Visibility and search – basically it is broken.

Back in the days on AltaVista and Excite search engines it used to be possible to publish and submit a page to them that contained the same word 500 times, bingo it gets listed up near the top until somebody comes along and makes a page with 501 of the same word… Apples’ iTunes search is at the same stage of evoloution that these search engines were before Google existed – back in 1996! And that is why Google grew so quickly!

Let’s do some searches:

Let’s suppose that I’m a user that owns iGirl – so I do a search to see what else I can buy that is similar… In the results, I’d expect an entertainment app for a start, maybe one that other people that owned iGirl had purchased, and I’d probably want them listed in order of total sales ever (rather than current popularity which is meaningless). I might even want star ratings to be taken into consideration.

Here’s the results of an iTunes search for iGirl in order:

iGirl, iGirl (lite), iGirlfriend, iGirl Blackjack,, iGirl Blackjack Lite. That is ALL the apps that are listed – just 5!

Hmmm, that can’t be right – there are NO popular Apps there at all – even ones that people who bought iGirl also bought, and certainly none that don’t have the word iGirl in the actual name of the App:

buyers of igirl also bought 

Let’s see, people that bought iGirl also bought Bikini Blast, Wobble, iStrip, a couple of games and iSoda.

I wonder why those Apps don’t show up – I mean the top two have sold almost 200,000 copies so there must be some reasonable correlation possible to produce the search data???

So let’s reverse that – do a search for Wobble: there are 30 results!! (that’s the maximum) The first 6 in order are:

Wobble, Wobble Free, iGirl, iLava, iGirl Lite, iStrip – then a bunch of Apps that all list the word Wobble in their descriptions – I might add they also all list iGirl in their descriptions

hmmm, that can’t be right, Apple are favouring iGirl – why is that? Lets take a look at what people also bought who also installed Wobble:

buyers of wobble also bought

Well that is strange – they bought Bikini Blast and iGirl – so iGirl and Wobble sounds like a match – well go figure, search results only correlate one way?!

Why is Apple blocking all the results competing against iGirl and not the other way around?

Just to show it is not just the name (or Wobble)– do a search for: iBeer – iGirl comes up 3rd and iGirl Lite comes up 7th
iFart – iGirl comes up 10th
iJiggle – iGirl comes up 2nd
iSteam – iGirl comes up 2nd
You get the idea

Time to dig a bit more deeply. Why is Apple favouring iGirl – at the expense of other Apps?

Why is search so poor on iTunes – Apple have sold the 30,000 Apps almost 1 Billion times – surely there is some search data available!

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