John August makes a strong case for getting rid of the best-sellers lists in the App Store.
I like his thinking. I’ve never understood why anybody besides app developers really care about which apps make the most money. The correlation between great apps and apps that make a lot of money is tenuous at best.
But I would like to take John’s ideas in a different direction: Apple should create multiple new charts based on different criteria.
One could be “Engaging” apps. Measured engagement could be the number of times an app is launched, the amount of time customers spend in the app, the number of Tweets and Facebook messages sent from the app, etc. This is all information that iOS has, or could easily collect, and then send it to Apple’s data centers for number crunching. (For privacy, data would only be sent if the customer has agreed to send diagnostics and usage data to Apple, per the existing option in Settings.)
Another one could be “Gamer Favorites” based on app activity in Game Center or active usage of Game Kit.
Or how about “Longterm Relationships” that highlights apps that customers downloaded a long time ago and still actively use.
The exact algorithms are not important (and they should remain secret to make gaming the lists more difficult). What’s important is that there should be many more lists so that I can find the ones that best match my app preferences. And if it turns out that I really like all the freemium games that all the teenagers like, then I’m sure Apple can come up with a more creative name for that list than “Top Free Apps”.