Just as Nokia does some perplexing housecleaning by shuttering Flagship stores (more on that later perhaps), Apple engages in a bit of store flushing of its own.
Turns out a Chinese software publisher was gaming the iTunes App Store with a little insider trading of sorts. “Give me 5 stars for my app, I give you promotional codes”.
The payoff of course was a meteoric rise in rankings for what turned out to be crudely-constructed code fluffed up by equally low-grade user reviews.
The cool part of the story for me is how they were tripped up. Metrics that didn’t make sense tipped off writers who reported the suspicious behavior to Apple’s Phil Schiller. The end result: 1000 apps (around 1% of the store’s total) purged and the developer locked out of iPhone paradise.
This couldn’t come at a more fortuitous time for Maemo developers, some of whom have expressed concern over similar scenarios– which gets even more complicated in that Linux ecosystem’s slowly-growing mix of open source and commercial software. What’s to stop some unscrupulous thug, one asked, from taking community-developed freeware, repackaging it for the Ovi Store and pulling similar stunts as the troublemakers here?
I think the answer again lies in metrics, combined with some robust information management and sincere policing on Ovi’s part. The fact that Apple responded as quickly and strongly as they did sets the tone for others in this space. Surely Nokia is paying attention.
Just in case, I’ll email and tweet this story to the appropriate Maemo people.