How are Marketplace search results sorted?

Power Planner displayed third despite higher popularity rankings and higher review scores

I recently noticed that when searching for apps in the Marketplace, less popular apps will frequently show up before popular ones.

For example, try searching for “blackjack”. The first result is Blackjack Classic, and then Blackjack Metro, Blackjack 21, and finally Play! Blackjack. The apps rankings respectively are 549, 1133, 1311, and 76 (Category rankings from WP7AppList)

The first three are all in order, but then Play! Blackjack is randomly placed at fourth in the search results when it is insanely higher ranked!

Another example is my app, Power Planner. It’s a homework planner app with the keywords “homework”, “planner”, “student”, “school”, etc… Its ranking is 198 (category rankings from WP7AppList), and has a solid 5 star rating from 44 reviews in the US.

When I search for “homework” in the Marketplace, the first two results are Homework Planner and MySchool. Their rankings are 436 and 744 respectively, and they both only have a 4 star rating, with only 8 and 23 reviews respectively.

It is clear that Marketplace search results are not organized by their rankings in the app store. That means a popular app like Yelp could randomly show up below some non-popular random app with the keyword “yelp”!


What are search results sorted by?

From my research into this issue, I can tell you this:

  • They are NOT sorted by rankings (app’s popularity).
  • They are NOT sorted by ratings (from user reviews).
  • They are NOT sorted by the amount of reviews.
  • They are NOT sorted via title (search for “Stop Music” and Stop the Music! comes up two results before Stop Music)

What does that leave? Total downloads over all time. If I’m missing something, tell me in the comments!

However, it seems like this is how Microsoft sorts their search results. The three apps before Play! Blackjack were all released about a year ago. Play! Blackjack was released about a month and a half ago, not giving it as much time to climb in total downloads despite its extremely high popularity ranking. The same is true about Power Planner, which was released about a month and a half ago and is far newer (and far more popular) than the other two homework apps.

Do you think this is a good system, or should Microsoft use instantaneous downloads (a.k.a. the app’s rankings)? Tell us in the comments below!

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