Day 22: Friendly Cats and Drama Bombs

by Eli Hodapp

I’ve mentioned before just how great it is working the American business day working in Spain. My whole work schedule shifts forward six hours, which basically means the free time I’d normally have in the evening moves to the morning. It’s crazy how much more motivated I am to go out and do things on this schedule, even if that’s just wandering around.

Whatever time it is that I wake up, my body kicks into “alright let’s do something” mode. On Chicago time, this usually just amounts to seeing if my email inbox is clear enough to run to the gym real quick, but in Barcelona I actually have time to enjoy the day. It makes you want to get up early and get moving, as the more time you spend in bed the less time you have for things. Comparatively, on “normal” time I’d just check my email in bed.

This works out great most days, except days like today where I felt particularly motivated to do some things for work when I wake up. I’m not sure if it’s because I enjoy my job so much, or it’s just the kind of person I am, but sometimes I just wake up with ideas for TouchArcade junk that I need to execute on, right away.

On American time, this works out as you’d expect. Working when it’s time to work. In Barcelona, taking advantage of this motivation involves working through the morning and afternoon, then realizing, “Oh hey it’s about 9:00 AM in the States, time to start working I guess.” I worked a really long day today because of that, but, that’s alright.

There’s been a considerable amount of drama brewing lately in the iOS world, largely centralized these chart boosting services. The best visibility on the App Store seems to come from being high up in either the top paid or top free games listing. This has resulted in all sorts of people trying to game the system of the App Store charts. Currently, there’s more than a few companies offering “guaranteed chart boosts” to fling your app up to the top of these lists.

How do they offer these guarantees? Well, if recent news and the interest in this story is any indication, no one ever thought to even ask that question. The obvious answer is the companies offering these services have massive networks of iTunes accounts to download whatever the target app is a ton of times. This results in it shooting up the charts, appearing in front of the eyes of millions of iOS device owners, and if all goes as planned, making money from the people who then download them.

This is a gross over-simplification of how it all works, but a shocking number of people have found themselves publicly outraged that these services exist. We didn’t cover it on TouchArcade because it’s such old news. These services have been around for a year now, maybe even two. I’m not sure why it’s suddenly a big deal now. Hell, in the grand scheme of the App Store bot net chart boosting is one of the least shady things of all the get rich quick iOS hijinks I’ve seen pulled.

The fact of the matter is as long as there is a profit to be had on the App Store, people are going to try to figure out how to game the system to make as much money as possible. It’s a fact of life, a part of being in business, and everyone has a different moral compass for how they’re going to conduct themselves.

It seems really easy to take the high road and finger wag both the bot net services, as well as anyone who would use them, but can you really blame them? The App Store is a brutal place, with more and more competition every day. If someone walked up to you and was like, “For $5,000 we can make your game a success,” and you can budget that $5,000, do you even ask questions? Or do you just say, “OK!” I’m not really sure if I can even fault the person who simply says “OK!”.

There’s not much to be gained by taking the moral high ground, especially when you consider the massive financial rewards await anyone willing to game the system. Isn’t that the case with everything though?

Anyway, in Barcelona news, the couple I’m living with have these two awesome cats. In the three weeks I’ve been here, the understanding the cats and I have had basically amounts to they don’t seem too interested in me, so I return the favor and don’t pester them. I’m not sure what changed today, but while I was working earlier today they both really wanted to hang out with me. I’d like to think they came around to the fact that I’m an awesome cat person, but they were probably just hungry.

We’ll see how tomorrow goes. That will be the ultimate test.