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Google is cracking down on Play Store apps that try to illegally boost their rankings

Google is making some internal changes that it says will make it easier to locate and take down Play Store apps that try to illegally boost their rankings.

Published onOctober 31, 2016

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Android owners who have seen some poorly created, but still high ranking, apps in the Google Play Store might be seeing less of them in the near future. The company says it will be cracking down on Play Store apps that try to deliberately scam customers to download them through various means.

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In a blog post,  Google stated that while the company tries to maintain a high amount of quality on the Play Store in terms of app content discovery, they have noticed that a few publishers have tried to “game” the store. Such efforts include publishers trying to generate a large amount of installs of an app through fraudulent means, or posting five star reviews of an app in the Play Store that are either fake, or have been paid for (a lot of the time, it’s both). The blog post correctly states such moves are in violation of the company’s Developer Policy, but even if they were not, such actions not only affect consumers who might download fraudulent apps, but they also affect creators who might see their legitimate apps not get noticed in the Play Store.

Google says that it is currently rolling out new backend features in the Play Store that are designed to find apps that are promoted through false means. It says:

If an install is conducted with the intention to manipulate an app’s placement on Google Play, our systems will detect and filter it. Furthermore, developers who continue to exhibit such behaviors could have their apps taken down from Google Play.

The blog post also cautions developers to work within the Google Play Developer Policy, especially if they contract their marketing and promotion efforts to a third party. Do you think this new move will result in making it easier to find high-quality, and honestly reviewed, apps in the Google Play Store?