Podcasts manipulate Apple top list by cheating with subscribers

Oct

18

2018

Podcasts have tried to influence the Apple list of most popular podcasts by cheating with subscribers last week, according to an analyst. A few weeks ago an unknown podcast suddenly arrived on spot 1 of the top list.

Because Apple is likely to base its top list on new subscribers, it seems that such podcasts get fake subscribers to push their place up the list, Chartable speculates on the basis of its own analysis. Apple has put back some podcasts a few weeks ago, but they are already climbing in the list. This includes a podcast about real estate, which briefly took over the first position of the well-known podcast series Serial.

Chartable derives the probable shodding from a few elements, due to the lack of transparent listening figures of podcasts. First, the new toppers have relatively few reviews and reviews in iTunes, while many popular podcasts have a lot of them. Moreover, the new toppers were not very popular in other podcast apps, which sometimes show the number of subscribers.

In addition, Chartable has looked at the recommendations that Apple itself makes among the top podcasts. These are based on what subscribers of that podcast listen to even more. This shows that some of the ‘shameful’ podcasts are recommended among themselves, indicating that many subscribers follow different of the podcasts concerned.

The fiddling with the list can have consequences for especially smaller podcast makers, who are therefore less likely to enter regions where users can discover them by chance, claims Hot Pod . The consequences would be small for large podcast makers.

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