Did you notice ... the Windows Phone Marketplace Ranking is Broken
There is no need to say that your apps visibility is directly proportional to its Marketplace Ranking, if you have a favorable ranking you app / game is likely to be discovered by users and reviewers. And when the ranking system is broken there is no need to say developers will worry, especially when the situation is something like this
A game like lunar lander ( released 11th May ), which has 2.5 stars and didn’t fare very well is stuck at rank 68 in games ( stat ) while a new xbox live title Hydro Thunder GO gets published ( on 25th May ) has got a better rating 4 stars from users feedback is stuck at 1277 in games. This is the situation with xBox Live titles , I hate to think about the situation for Indie developers who are already struggling to get noticed in the Windows Phone Marketplace.
We reached out to a few developers ( who wished to stay anonymous ) and they send in the following about this situation
I’m sure you know how marketplace ranking works and affects applications visibility and success. The cycle of publishing of a new app has been described exactly on that forum post. You publish an app, which gets an initial boost in downloads appearing on the ‘new’ section, web reviews, a bit of publicity, word of mouth, etc. This initial boost props the app up in the marketplace ranking which makes it appear higher in the list. If the app is good, this has the beneficial and healthy snowballing result of keeping it floating more or less in view in the high places of the marketplace. If the app isn’t good it obviously falls down in ranking and pretty much loses all visibility
This mechanism has been broken for maybe two weeks now ( possibly from 18th of May ) , developers publishing their new apps in this period, or advertising them, are taking quite a hit from the situation.
I’ve been monitoring my game and apps rankings quite regularly for some time now. While some more or less remained fixed, as they were published a long time ago, [ the dev's Game ] kept climbing higher every day, pretty much regularly, 2-6 places a day. Starting around the 20th (can’t really remember now, but I really think it was earlier), I noticed it didn’t move anymore (it’s around postition 100). In a couple of days, this being suspicious, I checked all my other apps and saw that they were all at the exact place every single day. This lasted about 5 days before I checked with the app hub support. Not receiving an answer, I posted a thread in the forum. After getting a couple of confirmation replies from other developers (I already got confirmation from a couple I’m in contact with) the thread was deleted without notice or answer from MS.
Fast forward a few more days, things haven’t changed. All the top apps are staying there and the other don’t have a chance to climb up. My downloads report says they’re improving, probably because I’m doing a bit of publicity and for website reviews. But the marketplace ranking is still the same. In the meantime I got a reply from the app hub support which politely said they can’t do much about it and will escalate. There is also a new thread by Elbert Perez who suffered the posting of his Armored Drive game with this problem. I follow up on the thread and a few more devs report the same. Still no answer from Microsoft, I also contact app hub support asking for a contact to the marketplace team but they say they can’t find it.
As usual, with this new platform, one has to be patient if something doesn’t work, even if it directly affects one work or success. But not hearing anything from Microsoft, and actually the fact that it has been going on for so long, is starting to feel quite wrong.
Now Microsoft has been quite open about these sort of thing in regards to Windows Phone in the past and guys like Brandon Watson have done an incredible job in keeping the devs informed on the various things that affect the developers. Hopefully this issue gets noticed soon and hope to have an official response to the situation soon
Update : its seems devs can see that the marketplace ranking has started to update, send in via twitter by multiple devs