Apple offers official warning to App Store 'manipulators'
Via a short post on Apple's developer channel, the Cupertino giant has fired an official shot across the bows of studios making use of such services, threatening to remove them from the App Store entirely if found guilty.
Out of the club
"Once you build a great app, you want everyone to know about it," opens the entry.
"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."
No exact reference is made to the supposed bot farming technique, though the timing of the post is unlikely to be a coincidence.
Battle of the bots
Attention was first drawn to the issue after an anonymous developer revealed an unnamed company had been offering studios a spot in the App Store's top 25 rankings for $5,000.
The process utilises bots that download a developer's apps several times until it secures a top spot in the platform's charts.
The original company behind the outed technique remains anonymous, though Pocket Gamer has since learned from several sources that more than one firm may be offering these services and that several leading developers are taking advantage of them.
Suffice to say, most parties are likely to cut back on these practises relatively sharply for fear of incurring Apple's wrath, so the App Store rankings should make interesting viewing in the week ahead.