App developer puzzled by 'disturbance' in rankings system

Rumour: Android charting game-time, not installs

Google is suspected to have changed the way it charts games on its App Market charts.

Rumours are growing that the Android app store charts now factor the daily cumulative play-time of all apps.

Google has declined to comment, though one company spokesperson told Gigaom that Google “makes modifications to Android on an ongoing basis”.

It said it couldn’t comment on changes to the app store ratings charts “because doing so might invite manipulation”.

The Market ranking system offers app developers unparalleled visibility on an open-platform flooded with content.

But how many times a game is installed may no longer be fully represented in the charts – perhaps offering hope to smaller games that hold audiences for longer times.

Rumours of a change in the ranking system began with Geoff Cook, the CEO of social networking site My Yearbook, who said his Android app has unexpectedly jumped up the Android Market charts.

Cook said that his app jumped from number 63 to eleventh in the Top Free Social category on Android Market, according to Android App Tracker.

Though he confessed he wasn’t certain, Cook believed that Google appears to be factoring in more signals including daily active users of an app.

My Yearbook has a high dally active user ratio, Cook said. Meanwhile, popular games like Tic Tac Toe which is said to have comparatively less active users per install, has fallen down the charts.

“It’s actually a strange way to rank apps based on new installs,” he added.

“It’s a fairly gameable system. The whole point of an ad spend is to drive you to No. 1 in the rankings. That may still happen but it’s nice if the rankings are not as gameable. I don’t know for certain if the algorithm changed to include daily active users with new installs but it’s pretty obvious that DAU is more of a factor in the algorithm.”

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