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App Store algorithms down and back up, probably tweaked

Regular users may not have noticed this, but I'm sure developers have -- the App Store's charts have been in a freeze for the past few days, leaving apps in exactly the same positions as they were last Thursday.

That might not seem like too big a deal, but for many developers, the App Store charts are where they make or break a profit -- not only do the charts provide a good inkling of how popular an app is compared to others, but the top 10 on the charts provides a huge amount of exposure -- just getting in the top 10 often boosts app sales just by virtue of the extra eyeballs.

For the past few days, though, the App Store charts haven't changed, and that usually means that Apple is messing with something, either tweaking the way the charts are calculated, or just plain changing the way that they work. Last year the company fixed an issue where developers could constantly update their apps to keep them on "Recently Released" charts, but this year we haven't quite figured out what changes have been made.

At any rate, it seems likely Apple was simply getting things ready for what's sure to be a busy holiday season for the App Store. Hopefully developers who released their apps on Halloween didn't fall too far through the cracks while things were down.

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