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Apple changes App Store search without warning, costs developers sales

Zach Epstein
June 27th, 2012 at 7:50 PM

Apple recently made some changes to the search algorithm used by its iOS App Store, and the move may end up having a serious impact on app sales for some developers. 30 South developer Derek Clark wrote a post on his personal blog this past Sunday after Apple quietly made a series of changes to App Store search mechanism. The developer noted that sales of his apps had dropped by more than 30% as a result of the changes, which have caused some of Clark’s apps to disappear completely from listed results for key searches that used to surface his apps.

A number of developers noted similar experiences in a discussion surrounding Clark’s report on Hacker News, and Clark’s business partner TJ Seabrooks chimed in there as well.

“Building on top of someone elses (Apple’s) platform is getting scarier and scarier,” Seabrooks wrote. “They are constantly making sweeping changes that effect our bottom line and provide no transparency, or analytics of almost any kinds, for devs. If I didn’t know better I’d say apple hates devs and thinks of us only as a necessary evil… Just throwing us enough of a bone to not jump ship. Obviously, we plan to spread onto other platforms in the meantime we serve at the pleasure of the king, it seems. We are the new generation of ‘Serf Devs.’ “

In a followup post, Clark elaborates that the biggest impact on sales appears to stem from the fact that the App Store no longer searches combinations of an app’s title and keywords the developer inputs when listing an app.

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Zach Epstein

Zach Epstein has worked in and around ICT for more than 15 years, first in marketing and business development with two private telcos, then as a writer and editor covering business news, consumer electronics and telecommunications. Zach’s work has been quoted by countless top news publications in the US and around the world. He was also recently named one of the world's top-10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes, as well as one of Inc. Magazine's top-30 Internet of Things experts.

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