The App Store is a vast storefront with more stuff available than one could ever try to download. The Apps are ranked, showing you some of the top apps in every category. This is nice for seeing what’s popular, but Apple is said to be changing how they do this.
According to Gigaom.com, Apple is going to begin basing the rankings on the amount of monthly use they get, rather than solely on the downloads or however else they rank their apps. They may also be factoring in the star ratings that the Apps get. In a nutshell, they are ranking the apps based on how much those who download them actually seem to like or need the app. If lots of people download something but never use it, that will affect the ranking as well.
Of course, as Gigaom says, companies like Apple don’t reveal how the apps are ranked. This is for a good reason as they don’t want App makes to “game the system” as they call it, meaning to figure out a way to exploit one of those weaknesses and use it to their advantage.
It’s believed that these changes occurred last week based on the sudden jump in popularity for some of the apps. For instance, they point out that Facebook jumped to first place in the free apps after being at 13. Pandora was kicked up from spot number 22 to 10. A nice jump for sure. This all happened around April 13 or 14, reports say, which leads them to believe that this is when Apple implemented the new algorithms.