Do In-App Purchases Count Towards "Top Grossing" App Store Rankings?

iphone 30 in app purchase

One of the many, many "great unknowns" of Apple's iPhone App Store is how the top-grossing list is calculated, specifically whether or not it factors in revenue from in-app purchases. While we could theoretically wait and see if, now that they too can use in-app purchase, a free app makes its way up the list, the folks at Freeverse wanted an answer now. And they think they've found it:

Top Grossing Freeverse Apps are Skee-Ball (#17), Flick Fishing (#97), and Top Gun. Now, interestingly, the Top Paid Apps Chart lists Top Gun as #60 and Flick Fishing as #72. How does this happen? The games are priced the same...but Flick Fishing features DLC. This leads us to conclude that the Top Grossing Apps list seems to include In-App Purchases in its calculations.

What if anything does this mean for developers? Will they be able to land on the Top Free and Top Grossing lists at the same time now? Heh. The App Store doesn't give away too many secrets at any one time..


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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Do In-App Purchases Count Towards "Top Grossing" App Store Rankings?


@ Gregz0r:
Apple tried to maintain this, but it started to become untenable. I like the change, hopefully it will reduce the number of 'Lite Version' apps, and companies that try to abuse this system will be judged by their content and policies.

One of the many, many “great unknowns” of Apple’s iPhone App Store is how the top-grossing list is calculated...

... or that it even exists.

Of course then one has to ask why someone buying an app even cares if it is top grossing.
I can't think of a single other purchase I routinely make where this statistic is even available or part of my purchase decision.

My hunch is that is for the iTablet, as a 21st century version of unskippable previews on DVDs, for both media viewing and other functions.
In totally unrelated speculation, any iTablet will be the equivalent of jailbroken within 5 days of launch. :)

I don't think an app with in-app purchases, should be in any "Free" app list. It's not "Free", if it costs money in the long run...

That is already not always true, and the lines will only get fuzzier.
Take Boxcar, for example. If you only use a single push service (e.g. just Twitter notifications) it is free forever. I use it that way, and have no plans ever to make an in-app purchase. For me, it was and always will be free. For somebody who wants both Twitter and Facebook notifications, it is a free app with a $1.99 in-app purchase. It could easily belong in both lists, or just as easily be excluded, depending on what the eventual rules will be...

how come there is no top rated list? seems kinda obvious no? sometimes I just don't get apple. that rate on delete seems pretty dumb too. sadness. I really hope they bust out with some way to really make the good stuff float to the top. genius sucks. sorry.... rant over.