Google is rolling out changes to the system it uses to detect instances where developers have tried to game the Play Store. The search engine giant says that this activity breaches the terms of the Google Play Developer Policy, and is used by some developers to artificially manipulate the placement of their app.
As a result of the changes, Google says it will be able to better detect times when developers have not played by the rules.
What Google is targeting is the Play Store equivalent of the blackhat search engine optimisation techniques that are used to inflate a website’s position on results pages.
When it comes to the rogue methods being used within the Play Store, Google has been open about the kind of techniques that it is targeting. The blog post announcing the changes refers specifically to: “Fraudulent installs, fake reviews and incentivised ratings.”
Google is essentially referring to a collection of methods that can be used to make an app appear more popular than it actually is, which in turn can have the effect of improving placement within the Play Store.
[via Android Developers Blog]