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article imageImage shows woman paid to manipulate App Store rankings

By James Walker     Feb 12, 2015 in Technology
An image posted to Chinese social media site Weibo allegedly shows a "ranking farm" of racks of iPhones that are used to manipulate ratings and reviews of apps in the App Store.
The image shows a woman sat in front of a rack of over 50 iPhone 5Cs linked together in a tangled mess of cabling. There appear to be more iPhones surrounding her, with the App Store running on their screens.
Although the photos cannot be verified, The Verge reports that it is easy to find adverts for such services on Chinese e-commerce sites, leading to an indication that this is genuine.
It appears as though people are paid to download apps onto actual iPhones and then rate and review them, manipulating the natural state of the store with false "customer" experiences of products. The image is described on Weibo as a shot of a "hardworking App Store ranking manipulation employee."
The services are offered as an option to developers who are desperate to get an app into Apple's top 10 lists instead of succumbing to the fate of many apps. Such practices are allegedly common among Chinese developers.
Apple has been implementing systems that prevent automated bots from changing the rating of apps by pretending to download them but combating those who use physical devices to continue the practice may prove trickier.
Although it is hard to say how many may be employed in the business, the number of iPhones illustrated shows at least that it isn't a small operation.
Another image being paired with the shot of a worker actively manipulating the store shows a "price list" for some of the services on offer. Getting into the top ten free apps list is listed at $11,200, plus $65,000 per additional week.
More about iPhone, App, Store, Pay, Paid
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