Google is cracking down on fake app installs intended to cheat Play Store rankings


TS Evangelist

If you are an Android user you may have noticed how some apps are prominently featured in the Pay Store, even though some times they don’t seem to deserve it. They do this through fraudulent installs, fake reviews, and incentivized ratings. Well, Google is on to them. Today the company announced that it's rolling out improved detection and filtering systems to help rid the visibility of less-than-stellar applications in Android's app marketplace.

Writing on the Android Developers Blog, Google Search Quality Analyst Kazushi Nagayama and Product Manager Andrew Ahn, noted that this type of manipulation violates the Google Play developer policy and harms other developers by hindering their chances of being discovered or recommended. “Ultimately, they put the end users at risk of making wrong decisions based on inaccurate, unauthentic information,” the post reads.

Nagayama and Ahn said that if an install is conducted with the intention to manipulate an app's placement on Google Play, Google’s systems will detect and filter it. Developers who continue to exhibit such behaviors could have their apps taken down from Google Play.

Developers are still allowed to use marketing firms and third-party promoters, but Google cautions to ensure that any promotions for apps are "based on legitimate practices."

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TS Evangelist
Wow, more restrictions on making money from apps. No more possibilty of buying cars with this money. There's no sense to the algorithm they use on search anyway. If they change it, it has to be an improvement. I don't know if I'm guilty of falsely rating apps, but every time you turn around a different restriction is placed on them. There was one whose name sounded like something apple sold; taken down by the competition without any arbitration and not putting it back after arbitrating. They're doing the opposite of what's happening. What really happens is people, might be from the competition, rate the app a zero might be because they just can't understand how it works and it's even further down in the search order and no one buys it. Let's have no ratings. Walmart doesn't allow you to post derogatory remarks about their products on their store windows.

Uncle Al

TS Evangelist
I rather appreciate seeing the ratings of anything and everything, especially since a few traps to remove so much false self promotion were put into effect. What I find comical are those apps and products that respond to you begging you to remove any negative comments with all sorts of excuses. The best protection for the consumer are all the other consumers that tell it the way it is and put developers on notice that they will be rated!
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