A picture has gone viral which shows a woman sitting in front of dozens of iPhone 5Cs in China. The details about the origin of the photo are scarce but the media has speculated that this picture is of a Chinese App Store ranking manipulation farm and her job is to download, install and uninstall specific apps over and over again to boost their app store rankings.
There are similar tables like the one she is working on and it is specifically designed for this purpose. There is also a screenshot of prices for the service and it costs around $11,200 to get the app into the top 10 free apps and a further $65,000 per week in order to keep it there.
The original photo was tweeted on Weibo with the caption, “Hard-working App Store ranking manipulation employee.” Apple makes efforts to counter bots made for this purpose and bans the apps that use them but they can not man actual people manipulating the app store rankings.
If you search app store ranking manipulation on Taobao, China’s popular e-commerce site, you will find a long list of people offering these services. The prices are listed as only one yuan, but the real price is settled in negotiations that take place through direct chat. Looks like there is a workaround for everything in China.