Microsoft cracks down on Windows Phone app “spam”, limits devs to 10 apps per day

By Tom Warren, on 29th Sep 11 8:39 pm with 27 Comments

Windows Phone Marketplace

Microsoft revealed on Thursday that it plans to take a tougher stance on bulk publishing of Windows Phone apps.

The Windows Phone Marketplace is growing week by week and recently passed 30,000 applications. The software giant’s Marketplace of mobile apps is on fire as it approaches a year on the market. Unfortunately with success comes troubles. Microsot has witnessed spikes in what it calls bulk app publishing. The practice is used by Windows Phone developers to fill up the “new” tab of the Marketplace with a large number of similar apps in a single day.

Microsoft originally took action in June after it discovered the practice. The company limited the amount of apps to 20 per day per developer that could be certified through its development process. The change in process helped but Microsoft admitted that they’re still seeing reports of bulk publishing. “We are again observing a small number of developers publishing apps in bulk,” said Microsoft’s Todd Brix in a blog post on Thursday. Microsoft’s answer is to limit the number of apps that can be published in a single day to 10. “This means that no more than 10 apps by the same developer will be certified per day (down from 20),” explained Brix.

Microsoft is also planning to monitor the number of apps that are published, not just certified, in a given day to correct instances where the 10 app limit is exceeded. “This may include the unpublishing of apps, and in extreme cases, temporary or permanent suspension of an offending developer’s Marketplace credentials,” said Brix. Microsoft hopes that the new policy will result in a fair, transparent and responsive certification process. “We will regularly assess our own policies and practices to help ensure that our certification and merchandising efforts deliver the best experience in the industry so that your apps can thrive in a safe, reliable and convenient marketplace,” added Brix.

The Marketplace 10 apps per day limit will start from Friday September 30.

  • Daniel Paulino

    instead of spamming the marketplace, i really hope developers take a lot of time to polish their apps. that’s the only way this ecosystem can challenge the ios ecosystem, having high quality apps, not a lot of junk like the android marketplace. developers, developers, developers!

    • Frylockns86

      Unfortunately, a bulk of the apps in the WP7 marketplace seem to be sh*tty port of sh*tty Android apps.

    • Frylockns86

      *Really dilutes the WP7 UX, IMO.

  • MVIM

    That’s good. What legitimate developers actually needs to publish more than 20 apps in the same day? I mean, updating a few apps at once is understandable. But honestly, more than 5 or 10 per day shouldn’t be necessary.

    • Tom W

      Indeed. I think MSFT should go further. Limit it to 5 per day and have a request form for developers to request exception to the general rule.

    • Jinge

      Does the limit include international publishing? If you have to publish 5 time an app to make it available in 5 different countries, it may be one of the reasons it is up to 10?

    • Inkog

      I have over 10 apps in the marketplace and would be happy to see a 1 new app per WEEK restriction for newly published apps per developer (except for updates). I fail to see any reason what-so-ever for needing to publish even 1 app per day, much less 5, or even 10.

  • Anonymous

    If you goto the news and weather section marketplace  there is an app called  Straitstimes by  BrandonTJS..  on the last count I could find 11 copies of the same app which makes me wonder who is policing the appstore.

  • Anonymous

    How can you be uploading 20 apps a day? It can take weeks to work out just 1 app.

    • Guest

      Did you even read the article before commenting?

  • Anonymous

    How about just yanking spammers ability to publish apps all together?

    • Anonymous

      Not sure how they could do this while being fair.. but i agree.. all of those single site rss reader apps showing up are a ugly and dillute the goods stuff.

    • Anonymous

      Why can’t they? One publisher BrandonTJS have 11 copies is the same app.. Shouldn’t they be blocking him.

    • Anonymous

      All they have to do is warn them once to stop or be banned, then ban them the second time.

  • Kr0nyxx

    What they need to do is have a program, if possible, to cross check and flag any app that seems closely related or like it can be merged together. A lot of these spam apps could be ONE really decent app but it becomes frustrating when its 20 of them-usually one  for each State, etc.  This is what’s making the “New” section in the Marketplace so bad. Because really….a developer who creates spam apps will just do 10 Monday…..10 Tuesday…10 Wednesday and so on… Its not about limiting the apps per day. Its more about seeing which apps are the same and either removing them or forcing the developer to merge them together. 

  • Guest

    It is pretty clear which apps are SPAM and which developers are spammers. I was thinking already how MS can’t find them. If they have problems finding them I volunteer to do that for them.

  • Seika

    Human intervention on the moderation process would be great albeit not a perfect solution (subjectivity and those devs crying foul in the internet afterward about favouritism afterward).
    There should be a guideline for the Marketplace staff that check the apps submission to refuse certain kind of apps (such as Applications that only act as RSS reader to certain number of sources without giving any added value).

    But on case of international publishing, just realized it yesterday that Yalla Apps (one of the large bulk publisher) is an apps submission service. They act as middle man for developers who came from Middle East and Africa countries Microsoft hasn’t serve yet; but not a developer themself.
    Most of the apps are single-site rss reader though :P

    • Guest

      Yes. I would block all those RSS reader applications. And those real estate apps that are published once for each US city or state. 

    • phil jay

      They should really have much stricter rules in terms of design/usability, testing trough each app, so that the should just reject 60% of all apps ….

  • Anonymous

    This stuff kills the bump you get when your app is in the “new” list because the people publishing 20+ per day shove the legit apps out of the new list too quickly… I think they should limit it to < 5 apps per day… if they need to multiple apps for multiple marketplace locales thats fine… just <5 per marketplace per day…

  • Keith Connolly

    This is the exact reason I cut my apps from the WP7 platform and my company has no future plans to bring our games to WP7 in the near future.  The marketplace is just immature and it needs some TLC to truly contend with iOS’s app store.  

    • Anonymous

      They have already end-of-lifed all of this for Windows 8.

    • Fur Dworetzky

      iOS also has plenty of app spam…

    • Keith Connolly

      This is true, no doubt. But there are far less.

  • Alex

    Even 10 apps a day is extreme. Honestly we should be looking at a 1 a day policy. If the app is of any legitimate value it is going to take over 24 hours to produce.

    Really, microsoft should be looking at some sort of high level app approval process. Maybe not to the extreme of Apple but just so that someone is looking over the apps briefly before they are blindly published.

    • Peter Brülls

      I’d go with seven per week. This allows for scheduling your uploads to a single day instead of breaking up your work pattern.  

  • Zippo

    Sweet, 10 a day? Let’s all publish 3,650 apps in a year!