Gaming the “New” Android Market

mstar_android_marketOne of the more well-known features of Android 1.6 (Donut) is the improved Android Market.  One of the enhancements to the content portal is the ability to sort apps by titles consideredt be “Just In”.  This is designed to bring up only the most recent apps available to users.  Unfortunately, it’s entirely too easy to game the system.

All that is needed to qualify for the new filter is an update to your app.  Most companies tend to update their applications with new features or added content.  Others, will put out out minor, almost unnoticeable changes to the app in order to reap the benefits.  An example of this would be language additions.  Add German today and get listed as “just in”.  Add Dutch tomorrow and you’re right back in the mix.  Repeat as desired.


One such company who may or may not be deliberately working the system is M STAR LLC.  With a large percentage of their apps being paid, a move like this would not surprise us.  Looking through their list, one gets the sense that all these calculators could be merged together as one and sold.  We also noticed that many of the apps all have the same, or very similar, release number.  Are they going down the list and updating each app with the minor stuff just to keep the paid apps on the fresh list?  We’ll let you decide that.

How does Google slow this down or discourage it this ?  Do they need to?