If you suspect you are a Black Hat ASO victim, what can you do about it?
Usually where you’ll see very obvious black hat ASO is with copycat apps. It also takes place more in the Android world vs Apple because android is more popular in other developing countries where creating an Android developer account is easier than Apple.
Now if you assume an app is using black hat ASO because “They outrank us” though this is potentially valid, you need to check your own ranking first. Make sure that there are no other apps outranking you and that you are tracking your own ranking. It could just be that everyone dropped because there are new competitors in the App store.
You need to research, include what your competitors are doing on social media. What you might think is black hat could be something else, maybe they have been working hard to promote on other channels you might not be aware of like TikTok for example.
If you still believe it is black hat, make a fuss w your Apple and Google account managers. Use social media like Twitter and Facebook constantly to get their attention – invite them to take a look at it – ask “is this normal?” and tag everyone else in the company.
It is hard to prove that you are a Black Hat ASO victim.
But what if there really is someone doing black hat ASO? What should you do?
First, make sure that it is Black Hat first before accusing them on anything else.
Do some background checks on these companies. If they are based in China and South East Asia, have 5 to 15 apps in their account, then that’s a major red flag.
Track your competitors properly. If someone’s app ranking dramatically increases without doing an ASO update, that’s another red flag, even if it’s an app considered as an authority on the Apple app store.
You can make reach out to both Apple and Google and ask how it can be resolved via email and most importantly on social media like Twitter and Facebook. For sure you’ll get a quicker response vs. just sending them emails.