Windows Phone Marketplace app ranking system ‘broken'

As any Windows Phone user or developer will know, finding stuff in the Marketplace isn’t always easy. 

The clumsy Marketplace search system, which bundles apps, artists, songs and albums into one long random list for any search term; the skewed presentation of games, which is heavily biased towards Xbox Live titles; the inability to sort search results by price, age or name – these are all flaws that exist today in the Marketplace, and which make it that bit more difficult for users to find apps, and for developers to sell them.

The prominence of an app in the Marketplace is determined by its Marketplace ranking (based upon the app's performance on Marketplace), and if reports from 1800PocketPC.com are correct, it looks like that ranking system is currently broken, and may have been for as long as two weeks now.

Developers have reported problems to 1800PocketPC.com, indicating that their apps have not changed in ranking for days on end, and even high profile Xbox Live titles, such as Hydro Thunder GO, appear to be affected.

What’s worse is that developers who have reached out to Microsoft for assistance or information have so far had no help from the company – emails to Microsoft have allegedly been ignored, while a thread on a Microsoft forum on the issue was deleted without explanation, after other developers confirmed they’d noticed the problem too.

While the ranking system remains out of action, the ranking of each app will continue to remain unchanged.  That’s bad news, especially for developers – those submitting new apps will see their apps struggle to gain visibility, and those developers with increasingly successful apps won’t see their performance improvements reflected in their Marketplace ranking.

Given all the noise that Microsoft makes about the importance of developers to the success of the Windows Phone platform – and let’s not forget: according to Nielsen, Windows Phone 7 has a grand total of 1% of the US smartphone market, so it’s not exactly mission accomplished yet – it’s disappointing to see the company remain tight-lipped for so long on an issue that’s clearly of great importance to its developer base.

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15 Comments

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people need to give microsoft a break.... remember all the problems we had with the first versions of android and ios? it takes time to get things right just relax and see what the phone evolves into.

Search results are only mixed if you don't choose the app section first. Not that bad really, and it is annoying to not be able to see the rating in the list. What I find annoying most is there is no option to pin an app to the start menu first thing so as to avoid forgetting I downloaded the app, whist I continue downloading more apps.

jimmyfal said,
Search results are only mixed if you don't choose the app section first. Not that bad really, and it is annoying to not be able to see the rating in the list. What I find annoying most is there is no option to pin an app to the start menu first thing so as to avoid forgetting I downloaded the app, whist I continue downloading more apps.

Thats right, pre-Nodo the seach system was broken but they fixed it. But search for apps is really diffecult if you don't know what to search for. Even on Zune its hard to look for some great apps. In zune for expample, when you scroll down the list, select an app, and return, you get back to the marketplace homepage or to the top of that list, requiring you to scroll down again.

But other then that it works great, and a download history screen would make it work perfect

Interesting. I only received NoDo yesterday (Omnia 7, T-Mobile/Deutsche Telekom Europe), and didn't realise that they'd fixed that in Marketplace. I stand corrected on that - thanks for pointing that out - and I'm certainly glad that it's finally been resolved. Like the silly 'feature' whereby the camera app fails to save settings when it's closed, that's one element of the OS that really should have been sorted out sooner.

There is a download history screen in the Zune desktop client, by the way; you'll need to launch Zune, go to Settings (near the top-right), then Account, and finally Purchase History, where you can view all of the songs, movies, videos and apps that you've purchased, downloaded or installed a trial of. You can also view histories for your rentals and subscriptions under the Account settings area.

and let's not forget: according to Nielsen, Windows Phone 7 has a grand total of 1% of the US smartphone market

I thought PC World said WP7 market share was up to 7 Percent in the US ?

TechJunkie81 said,
and let's not forget: according to Nielsen, Windows Phone 7 has a grand total of 1% of the US smartphone market

I thought PC World said WP7 market share was up to 7 Percent in the US ?


Installed base =/ market share; probably it's 1% installed base and 7% market share!

cralias said,
Android Market App is no better. I can't seem to find sh*t there. And top spots are always taken by the same stuff.

Similar to google search, You pay to sit at the top.

Tom W said,
This has been fixed by Microsoft today.

I can see why you left Neowin now Tom, the anti Microsoft police have wormed there way in, as with Engadget...