February 22, 2016 3:22 pm

Improvements to Windows Store apps and games visibility

Windows Store has received feedback from some developers who were not able to find their apps in the Store and we’ve been working hard to improve app visibility. In addition to improving app visibility, later this month the Store will also optimize the algorithms that determine which app reviews are shown in Dev Center and Windows Store.

In this blog post I will share with you what has changed, and what you can expect going forward.

App visibility improvements

When Windows 10 launched last year, the Store was rebuilt from the ground up and optimized to support all Windows digital content types in one location. Changes were made to Store listings and search algorithms at that time, and in the last months the Store has made additional improvements in these areas:

  • More accurate rankings: The algorithm used to rank search results has been adjusted to give more weight to app quality signals such as the number of downloads and ratings. When searching for apps or games, customers now see apps with more downloads and higher ratings earlier in search results.
  • Search enhancements: The algorithm to index apps has been updated to make apps easier to be discovered, specifically when searching by app name and related keywords. The Store will continue to limit search visibility for apps that don’t meet quality requirements, such as those that abuse keywords or are considered spam, as described in the Give Your Apps More Visibility blog .
  • Support process adjustments: Developer support is reviewing tickets opened for app search and visibility issues, to confirm they are solved by the two updates mentioned above or to identify any remaining gaps before a ticket is closed.

App review improvements

In parallel with the changes listed above, the Store will be adjusting the way it manages app reviews.

The Store runs a process to validate the reviews and identify the ones that will not be shown to customers and will not be taken into consideration in calculating the app rating. As a result, all reviews appear in Dev Center and the Store after customers submit them, and a few days later those reviews that do not meet the requirements are hidden, following these principles:

  • The Store protects customers by removing reviews that for example are fraudulent or spam
  • Currently, the Store does not post reviews created by customers running any Windows 10 Insider Preview build, as their experience may be different than customers running final versions of Windows.

However, now that Windows 10 is available to the general public, the average rating from customers running Windows 10 Insider Preview builds are not statistically different from ratings given by customers running final released versions of Windows 10. Therefore, starting in March, reviews created by customers running Windows 10 Insider Preview ‘Slow ring’ will be shown in both Dev Center and the Store. Reviews created by customers using the Windows 10 Insider Preview ‘Fast ring’ will continue to be hidden to protect developers from negative reviews that may be due to preview builds of Windows 10 rather than app quality.

With this change, more reviews will be visible in the Store, while keeping some protections in place for any issues seen by fast ring customers that could impact app ratings. Both the app visibility updates and app review changes will help increase app visibility in the Store, while aiding customers in finding high value and relevant apps.

Additional Information

If you still aren’t able to locate your apps, please read the Give Your Apps More Visibility blog post and ensure you’ve followed our guidelines. If the issue seems unrelated to those discussed in the blog post, then open a support ticket, and include the App ID, confirmation, direct link provided and the search terms you tried.

Updated February 22, 2016 7:42 pm

Join the conversation

  1. Our apps are now searchable again. Great! However six months to fix an issue is, well atrocious. The Store will only be a success if you listen to developers. And if you didn’t hear, then please add some feedback mechanism in the Store on the left so we can get through to the right people quicker next time. Thank you.

  2. It seems implied, but I wanted to check – will those running Release Preview ring of Windows Insider have their Store reviews published? Given this is a “yes” with Slow Ring, I’m assuming it has been factored in for RP ring. Ta! ☺

    • @Stanley, reports from customers running the Windows 10 Insider Preview Slow ring will be showing up starting in March. Reports from customers running Windows 10 Insider Preview Fast ring (or other previews) will not show up.
      Bernardo Zamora
      Windows Store

      • Thanks for the reply! Although it does seem strange to not include the Release Preview ring, as those releases are even closer to public release than even the Slow Ring builds! As I understand it, RP releases are based on the Current Build, so any app being reviewed would be running on an OS build that’s as close to the Current Build as possible!

        Hopefully the new reviews/rating policy will take this into account in the future… Ta! 🙂

        • @Stanley, I have not found any reference to the ‘Release Preview’ ring. The key rings that are managed by Windows are the Fast and Slow rings, so almost certainly the ‘Release Preview’ ring you see is one of these two managed rings, and if it is the Slow ring, the reviews are already being included in this new process.
          Bernardo Zamora
          Microsoft

  3. We want to see the date of the last Update of an App. This information was available in the WP 8 Marketplace, so why not on W10?

  4. Ok, but and what about the ‘last updated’ date?
    It’s really a pain that we can’t know when an app was last updated in 2013 or this year.

  5. Great news, Bernardo! The search results look much better, and this is no longer an issue for my app. Thank you very much for listening!!!

  6. the visibility for desktop apps is still missing. what happend with the bridge centennial? is the Project dead? at the Moment the store is only useful for Windows phone.

  7. Microsoft confiscation of the proceeds from the applications, including money from advertising, if the account or application violates any policy without prior notice. This is true or false?
    That money go? while the majority of their customers are very satisfied about the use of applications. It can be returned to the customer or not? microsoft trying to hijack it from developer

  8. Hello.
    More than 2 month ago I’ve published one new app for WP8 platform (“Virtual Padlock” into category “Social”).
    The app is available inside the marketplace but only if you search it by keywords. It is missing in the “Social + new & rising”.
    And if one app insn’t visible very few people can download it.
    I’ve opened a ticket to the MS support but, until now, they wasn’t able to fix it.
    I’m very very very very very very disappointed.

    Diego.

  9. I have about 15 completely different apps in the app store that are totally invisible, all thanks to this wonderful idea from Microsoft.

    Like seriously, what kind of weed is Microsoft smoking?

    You can’t search for these apps, neither are they listed as apps made by me.

    I have similar apps on the Android and BlackBerry store and I have never had this problem.

    All efforts to contact Microsoft returns with some generic response of App Rankings and all what not.

    After spending hours creating apps on the Windows platform, this is totally dissapointing.

    If the Windows Store is meant to display only facebook and Twitter apps, then they should make it known to developers.

    This is pure bias of the highest order!

    I don’t see the point of an app store, if it won’t display certified apps. At this rate, I don’t see the point of developing apps on the Windows platform.

  10. Two months after my original comment, and some of my apps are now visible, but they are not listed as apps published by me in the app store.

    It’s stuff like this that makes people hate the Microsoft platform!

    I now have over 20 apps in the app store, but if you search for my developer name, or click on my developer name, you’ll only see 7 of those apps listed there. Where are the remaining 13?

    A store is supposed to be a showcase medium, not a platform for punishing people you don’t like.

    Imagine, I published an app to the store, and then 3 days later it was hidden by Microsoft in the store! Now I’m wondering

    1. How exactly Microsoft expects people to rate an app that they can’t see? An app that only had 3 days visibility in the store, and now it’s like it doesn’t exists there.

    2. How can the same app have high ratings if Microsoft is equally hiding ratings and claiming high ratings will ensure visibilty.

    Honestly, whoever is in charge of the Microsoft App Store should be fired! I’m highly disappointed.
    If Microsoft wants to succeed, they have to rethink how they do things.