The Windows Phone app store has such a large variety of apps that it is hard to find many apps without already having a direct link. To tackle this function, there is a search feature that allows you to search for apps either by name or by keyword. When this works, it works largely well and you can find apps to populate your device easily. Now, if some scumbag developer decided to take advantage of this and make their apps show up in every popular search term, it would make a mockery out of the Windows Phone store. But that’s exactly what this dev is doing.
Witness as “Candy Solitaire Game, Funny Video Apps”(a name which is more or less an attention grabber) plays with the app store by showing up in the majority of popular app searches, even beating out legitimate apps in some cases. As always, here are some screenshots:
As you can see from the attached images, nowhere have I searched for anything that should bring up any apps by this developer, yet here he is. It is plainly obvious that they system is being gamed-no, actively mocked here and that’s purely pathetic from all sides. The Windows Phone store has a pretty bad reputation already, it doesn’t need crappy apps or developers crowding out legitimately useful apps. To make matters worse, the app store reporting process is incredibly tedious. Microsoft had worked to fix this by removing spam apps from the store, but they haven’t addressed devs using fraudulent means of app promotion- no matter how legitimate the app is.
I’m not sure what solution can be found here beyond banning the offending developers and removing their apps. As of now, only a few devs abuse this so the number of affected apps should be only a few. Perhaps a prohibition should be added to apps restricting them from abusing the store search mechanism, perhaps more thorough screening is in order. A job posting at Microsoft reveals that the company may be thinking something along the same lines, and that’s a good thing. It shows they are at least aware of issues with their search engine.
We are tasked with building the best recommendation system in the world for all Microsoft stores including Xbox, Windows and Windows Phone.
However, as I said before, I’m not sure what the best solution here is, what is clear here is that the ball is firmly in Microsoft’s court and they will ultimately do as they please.