How to game the App Store

Fascinating piece by David Barnard that, in part, lays out ways that bad actors game the iOS App Store, making life harder for indie developers to make a living.

Here’s a taste:

Find a keyword that drives a decent amount of organic search traffic. Obvious ones are keywords like “weather”, “calculator”, “solitaire”, etc, but those keywords are so competitive, and the rest of the tactics so powerful, you could get away with 2nd tier keyword targets. Now go to App Store Connect and name your app that exact keyword. “Weather” is already taken, and Apple doesn’t allow duplicate app names, so you’ll need to add a symbol. Let’s go with “Weather ◌”.


The App Store search algorithm gives a massive boost for an exact match to what the user searched, and the algorithm ignores symbols, so “Weather ◌” will get a huge search advantage, which will help to drive organic instals of the app.

That one example, the “Weather ◌” app, has more than 9,000 ratings. And the “Calculator'” app has more than 86,000 ratings.

Read the article. There’s just so much more.