These aren't the Facebook apps you're looking for...

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You may remember my own rants against the Windows Phone Store app naming laxness recently - the appalling deluge in Flappy Birds and my general diatribe against quality control? One by one, other voices in the blogosphere are chipping in to agree - in spades. Linked here is a look at what happens if you type the word 'Facebook' into the (in this case, Australian version of the) Store. Would you have guessed that the first 49 matches would all be clones/fakes and that you'd have to be incredibly persistent to stumble across the real application?

From the post over at I Started Something:

I don’t know what the hell is going over at the Windows Phone Store, but I believe the following screenshots can encapsulate everything that is wrong with Microsoft’s app strategy and approval process for the Store.

Blatant artwork theft, copyright/trademark infringements and deceptive conduct by “developers” who spam the Store with website-wrapper apps. (A problem Microsoft only itself has to blame for submitting many unauthorised website-wrapper apps themselves on behalf of popular brands.)

The following screenshots are taken on 15th of March 2014 10pm searching for “Facebook” on the Australian Windows Phone Store. The first result with 4-and-a-half stars and over a thousand ratings is not the official Facebook app. From the first to the 49th, they are not the official Facebook app (except the second Messenger app which is official but not the app we’re looking for).


The same ridiculous results are also displayed on the phone.

Thankfully the U.S. Windows Phone Store does not seem to exhibit the same ranking problem for the official app, not to say it’s not full of filth from result three onwards.

I can’t begin to imagine the experience of a customer who just walked out of an Australian mobile phone shop with a new Windows Phone device and goes to try download Facebook from the Store.

I suspect there’s some serious app review manipulations at play here, probably involving bots, that is artificially bumping malicious apps (and possibly demoting the official app).

With all the Microsoft management musical chairs that’s been happening over the past few months, I’m beginning to wonder if anyone is actually still in charge of the Windows Phone Store.

Worrying indeed and much the same thing plays out for all sorts of search strings in the Store. In the battle of ecosystems, the absolute number of applications in a store is seen as an indicator or health - this is something that is patently risible, as the only effect of prioritising numbers over quality is that there's more rubbish.

Far better to have a lower application count but much higher quality. The marketing issue could be solved with a catchy slogan "Just the quality apps you need" or similar....

For the record, the UK Store gets it right, just as the USA one, but again there's a mountain of confusing rubbish just behind, with no less than EIGHTEEN 'Facebook' apps also on the same front page of matches. Most of them wrappers around the Facebook mobile web site.

These issues keep getting brought up and Microsoft has been resolutely silent on the issue. Probably because surgically removing all the rubbish in the Store would be too labour intensive and would massively drop the 'numbers'. Personally, I think it would be a very good thing.

Source / Credit: I started something