Apple resolves the issue that caused inaccurate podcast charts, likely due to manipulation
Apple’s issue with iTunes chart rankings for their Podcasts was a little more than biased and wrong and they seem to have fixed the issue, but took a lot of criticism for the ranking issue.
Business Insider brought the issue to the limelight, explaining that a lot of popular & famous podcasts had been pushed down the charts by unheard of, low-reviewed podcasts.
For instance, the ever-popular Serial Podcast, which is releasing weekly episodes as part of Season 3, was shifted to the 26th spot on the iTunes Podcast charts. The top spots were overtaken by real estate, fitness, and business podcasts. These rankings were first noticed over the weekend by users across countries.
it’s easier now than ever before. for ~$50 there are 20+ fiverr accounts willing to get you into the top 20
— Discover Pods (@Discover_Pods) October 7, 2018
For example, Serial, which just came out with a new season and is seen as one of the most popular podcasts, was several spots down the charts — going as low as No. 26 on Monday.
At the top were newer, lesser-reviewed podcasts — “Bulletproof Real Estate With Andy Dane Carter” was No. 1 for a while — including shows about working out and business, which is not the typical subject matter for top podcasts.
Unheard Genres of Podcasts stood the Top
Seemingly today, the iTunes Podcast charts were back to normal. Serial back in the top spot, followed by Joe Rogan’s Show. Apple has yet to comment on the biased chart rankings in Podcast, but many insiders are blaming the issue on widespread manipulation.
“We’ve been doing our own digging into the charts and have seen a highly unusual amount of manipulation in recent days,” said Dave Zohrob, founder of Chartable, a start-up collecting data on the podcast industry.
One common thought being suggested on Twitter is that “click farms” are running rampant when it comes to iTunes Podcast rankings. Discover Pods noted that with as little as $50, click farms will ensure them a spot in the top 20 on iTunes.
No comments by Apple Yet!
Ultimately, Apple has yet to talk on the weird shift in Podcast rankings, and it’s unclear if it ever will. As Business Insider notes, however, this only “underscores the ultimate power that Apple has in the industry given the fact that it owns the main platform.”