It’s well known that some shady developers use less-than-tasteful tactics to get their apps to the top of the charts on the App Store. Turns out, Apple is finally taking a stand, and warning developers to knock it off or face severe penalties.
From Apple’s Adhering to Guidelines on Third-Party Marketing Services document:
Once you build a great app, you want everyone to know about it. However, when you promote your app, you should avoid using services that advertise or guarantee top placement in App Store charts. Even if you are not personally engaged in manipulating App Store chart rankings or user reviews, employing services that do so on your behalf may result in the loss of your Apple Developer Program membership. Get helpful tips and resources on marketing your apps the right way from the App Store Resource Center.
That’s right. If you are caught using third party services to attempt to manipulate your way to the top of the charts, Apple is willing to bring down the axe. Not only will your app be removed, but you’ll no longer be able to sell apps on the App Store at all. If these instructions from Apple aren’t clear enough to these shifty devs, we don’t know what is.
If you’re employing a company to do anything you would be hesitant to talk about in the presence of an Apple executive, you should probably cease and desist. Apple holds all of the power here, and the App Store is a place with a lot of potential for revenue. Don’t risk your business by trying to game the charts. Just focus on making great apps, engaging with the community, and listening to your users. If you have what it takes, you’ll be successful without any tomfoolery needed.