OK, we have all been there before. We've heading over to Google Play and looked for an app by typing in the keywords and seeing what's on offer. We are suddenly presented with a whole host of apps to choose from, with no real way to know how to choose. So what do we do? Check the number of downloads, of course. Makes it easy right. This app has been downloaded between 5 and 10 million times. This other one has been downloaded between 50 and a 100 times. Simple right! How can almost ten million people be wrong? So you hit install, download the app and hit Open. Suddenly, you are like… what the…
Yep, you downloaded an app which you were sure would be good. The keywords were right and the number of downloads confirmed it. That said, number of downloads might not be a valid indicator of quality anymore. Not because the majority of the masses lack good taste, but instead, because those downloads might not be different people. They probably are 'downloads' as the various App Stores seem to have decent enough tech nowadays to know when apps are being 'clocked', so they have been physically downloaded. But there is nothing to say they were downloaded by different people.
In fact, if the image above is anything to go by then you can be sure that they are not different people. This image has been leaked in China as an expos© and as you can image has gone viral. According to the reports, the image allegedly shows a Chinese worker manning what can only be described as an iPhone downloading master station. Each station apparently consists of up to 100 iPhone (5C's if you really want to know) and are used to mass-download apps pushing them into the top 10 category. In effect, each worker operates as 100 unique downloaders. Once the download and install is complete, delete re-install and repeat.
What is probably even more alarming is that the image came with another image (shown below) which seems to detail the cost of hiring one of these app promoters. To get your app into the 'top 10 free apps' will set you back a cool $11,200. If that was not high enough, then it reportedly will cost you another $65,000 per week to maintain your place in the top 10. Now, of course, there can be no way to verify the legitimacy of the images, although the logic is there. This would be a good physical way of ensuring an app is downloaded manually but unnaturally. While the likes of Apple and Google focus on trying to combat software abuse and number-fixing, it would be a little hard to physically stop someone downloading your app to order, on 100 iPhones simultaneously. In reality, they are not actually doing anything wrong. Of course, in terms of app ethics, they are.
So what do you reckon? Is the image real? Is this seriously how mastermind criminals in China are ensuring apps notch up massive download numbers? Or is this just the average iPhone user? They have in the past been accused of always buying the same phone (beit an iPhone 4, 5, 5S) over again. Let us know your thoughts…and if you need your app download number boosted