App Store Technology

Bug elevates App Store minnows to the top of the charts

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By John Glenday, Reporter

February 21, 2017 | 2 min read

Apple’s App Store has been shaken up with the unlikely elevation of several, small, paid-for applications onto its top grossing chart this weekend, sparking fears that a software bug may causing its ranking algorithm to go haywire.

Over the weekend chart watchers were given cause to scratch their heads when ‘The Official DVSA Theory Test Kit for Car Drivers’ surged to number two spot, challenging even the all-conquering Pokémon Go app for top spot.

Further down the list a $15 text translation app came from nowhere to rank eleventh, threatening to unseat Candy Crush Saga one rung above.

Such discrepancies continued throughout the weekend with one-time chart toppers dropping to be replaced by relative minnows, ushering in a rash of speculation as to the cause. These ranged from a simple bug to an experimental new algorithm which deliberately prioritized paid-for apps above those reliant on subscription revenue.

The sudden bout of leapfrogging, free falling and rising apps has nevertheless shaken up the staid charts which have long been dominated by the aforementioned Candy Crush and Pokemon Go, as well as mainstream apps such as Netflix and Spotify.

As of Monday however the charts appear to have settled back into their regular pattern, suggesting that Apple will maintain the status quo for a little while longer.

It wouldn't be the first time Apple has shaken up its App Store having previously purged 'zombie apps' which hadn't been updated for compatibility by their owners.

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