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Apple engineering a new App Store ranking system

Apple has just finished their conference call, regarding their financial performance in the quarter that's just gone by; as usual, they allow a Q&A session afterwards, and Arnold Kim over at MacRumors has the details about it.

The usual question popped up about netbooks (Apple says they'll only enter the market when they have a product to be proud of), but there was a new piece of information that was revealed during the session. According to the Cupertino-based company, they are currently working on a new ranking system for their App Store that will aim to remove the "race to the bottom" pricing found at the moment. The Top 100 lists that Apple currently have built in are, by far, the best sources of purchases for developers; you get to the top of that list, and you're doing pretty well... the issue is, it usually means that people get to the top by lowering their prices to a dollar. As it stands, applications are ranked up based on unit sales, and not by the amount of revenue they pull in, so of course, lower priced applications will be more successful at getting higher on the list. Apple wishes to remedy this by re-engineering their ranking system, so that software won't be bumped up just by the number of units sold, but rather the cash they pull in.

This is not only good news for developers, but for consumers too. Companies creating applications are currently a bit discouraged from putting in more effort to make higher quality titles, because they'll get quite easily beaten out and buried by arguably 'worse' software due to simple price drops. Again, this means that you'll hopefully see higher quality titles hitting the Top 100 list soon, and maybe higher quality titles in general.

To finish it off, Apple noted that they're also "looking for ways to categorize apps differently", saying that there's a definite room for improvement there, so we'll see what the future brings in that respect.

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