Considering ASO sandbox – a probability

[fusion_text]If you don’t know what sandbox is … it means you are a lucky person.sandbox
You don’t come from the horrible world of SEO, where sandbox became a term related to that mysterious factor that can delay your website from ranking .
The sandbox has been discussed for years in the SEO industry as a potential reality. Hundreds and thousands of SEO experts have spend a gazillion hours trying to define if the “sandbox” is real or not.

  • Is big foot real?
  • Are UFO real?
  • Is the Loch Ness monster real
  • It’s Canada a real country?

Regardless what we believe that may be real or not, not considering that Google could have design a system to prevent marketers to abuse . (Marketers like me and you my friend…)
So to understand this theory let me introduce a cute story that I have decided to title:
How I used to make money from Google pre-Sandbox (or how I made thousands while sleeping)
The strategy was simple, at the time Ebay had an affiliate system called Ebay Partner Affiliate (or something similar) , the idea was simple, you build a site, if someone bids in one product from your site driving traffic to Ebay.. you make money.
How much money? Cents.
Worth it?
No really.
But… there was a but…. A huge but with 6 figures at the end
If the person bidding for the product didn’t have an Ebay account, Ebay, in the most stupid affiliate move in history will pay you between $40 to $70 per signup.
This small point made the whole difference.
At that stage Google didn’t have any sand box in place. This meant if you put a site out there, the site will rank in a matter of hours, until Google will rank it 5 to 6 days later.
This meant: Any new site will rank before being ranked officially.
Scary right?
Especially considering that there were marketers like moi, that started to launch 5 to 40 sites per day!
Fast, crappy sites build just to get some signups.
Although this didn’t work for very long, Ebay quickly realized that the signup commission was a huge mistake, while Google saw a huge increase of so-called spammy sites (How do you there calling my Dora the Explorer Lunch box ebay site, spam mr Google???? 😉
After a few months, Google changed the rules and those type of sites started to be de-index after a few hours… so instead of “ranking in a few days” , the sites where gone from Google in a matter of hours.
That was the end of my eBay fortune (I bought a car thanks to Ebay affiliate….) but with the end of the quick rank system scheme, Google introduced measures to prevent the quick rank of mass created sites.
They called it spammy sites. I used to call it mini sites pro-Harvard education of my kids.
So if this used to happen 6 years ago with Google… is it crazy to consider the same thing happening with Apple?
For us to analyze this it is important to understand that Google history it’s is open, is like the Bible.. you can read everything about all their updates, all their comments, or the official blog posts.
In the other case, Apple knows Google is the leader in the search industry, and in many cases Apple have tried to steal Google engineers to work for them…
So is it insane to think that Apple haven’t learn one or two things about Google official mistakes and algorithm history.
Apple is like that teen that can’t wait to learn to drive. Driving is search… and the car is the messy app store.
They are still trying to learn how to use search in their own app store… and while doing so they have made crucial mistakes.

Their lack of congruency in their own rules.

– I can get one app approved in X account, but in Y account the app will never be approved. It all depends on the mood of the reviewers.
The flappy bird effect
– Having the app store flooded by Flappy Bird apps and having TechCrunch and some main Apple investors calling Apple App store a joke, is not something shareholders like. When the big app publishers get pushed by reskinners down the ranking…. They don’t complain in forums, they call directly Apple. And those calls matter. When King calls, when EA calls, when Rovio calls… Apple listens. In silence but listens.
So how to prevent this?
How to prevent 10.000 reskinners to launch the same bloody app and flood the top rankings based on 1 simple trend.
How to prevent reskinners to make the app store look like a joke that is easy to predict and manipulate?
Well: A Sandbox could be a solution.
Before you bash me on Twitter on Facebook, let me point that I’m trying to analyze this as if I was paid by Apple to improve the app store and now as the South American hussler trying to make some bucks from the app store.
If you are looking at the app store , and try to find a long time solution to prevent a flood of $50 build apps, a sandbox could really filter what
How a sandbox could work?
Easy: A pre-defined delayed to rank after the initial launch  bump
We all know in Apple your app will enjoy a certain bump during launch. It make sense…. And then we have the famous and apocalyptic drop….
So what if the drop is a way to cool down those apps, make the bump less of a bump and “make them wait”.
If we consider my strategy of the Ebay sites, we can define that my whole plan was to make money fast. Many of those sites will never exist after 72 hours…. So making money fast was a must.
The same could apply to apps. Make the bump smaller, make them wait until any ranking increase.
This not only can make sense, but it’s extremely easy to program if you are planning to modify the algorithm.
Make reviews the threshold required to leave Sandbox
This theory is a bit more advanced, and it can be taken from the way SEO works now a days. If a brand new app gets X amount of reviews in the X amount of initial days… the sandbox would be removed.
100% logical and perfect to prevent the big publishers pushing downloads to be affected by the Sandbox.
If the small publisher struggles to get reviews, then having reviews as a factor to lift the sandbox could be a smart strategy and at the same time self-validates who are the big players vs not.
Now, in the other side of the coin, if the game, app really has a quality component that inspires users to post reviews, the app itself will prevent the sandbox.
This is obviously very difficult to test and even more complex to prove, but during the last year I have noticed how big publishers get “hit less” by algorithm updates, and although downloads may seem to be the clear denominator, achieving downloads it’s easy: you can always buy them, drive traffic, etc…
But reviews, real reviews, from existing users, with a clear history… that, it’s a completely different story.


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