Many iPhone developers are monitoring their app’s ranking and reviews. There are some tools to automatically retrieve the ranking (MajicRank) and the reviews (Erica Sadun’s perl script) for all country-specific App Stores using web scraping.
What is missing so far is a solution to retrieve information about feature entries on the App Store start page such as “New and noteworthy”, “What’s hot” and “Staff favorites”. Mentions on the start page have a considerable influence on sales. To avoid monitoring the different country-specific stores manually in iTunes, I wrote a Perl script that can be scheduled to run daily. The script is launched with the app’s iTunes ID (the numeric ID at the end of the iTunes URL you can copy in iTunes using right click on your app title) as a parameter and puts out the current date, country and the type of the mention:
./iTunesFeatured.pl 314785156 Navigation 09.08.2011 AE App Store: Home page, Staff Favourites Navigation: Home p… 09.08.2011 AR App Store: Home page, Staff Favourites Navigation: Home p… 09.08.2011 AT App Store: TOP STAGE, Home page Navigation: Home page
The script takes a while to complete because it needs to fetch
8 9 pages per country. The output is in tab-delimited format to facilitate post processing of the data. In our case, we’re importing the data into a FileMaker database that allows an easy graphic representation (colors to indicate trends) and the creation of all kinds of reports.
So, let’s get to the meat: The script is available on http://github.com/futuretap/iTunesFeaturedCheck.
Do you find this useful? I’d love to know your feedback in the comments or via Twitter!
Update 30.12.2009: Modified Japanese match term for New and Noteworthy
Update 29.07.2010: Implemented check for category level featuring, posted on GitHub
Update 01.09.2010: Added iPad support (thanks to @the_appmaker), adopted script to a small iTunes server change
Update 02.12.2010: Adopted script to a small iTunes server change (thanks to @triplef)
Update 15.04.2011: Adopted script to an iTunes server change; now fetches compressed data to save bandwidth; added Games subcategories
Update 09.08.2011: Now also fetches arbitrary featuring categories on the App Store homepage, including App Of The Week
Update 09.07.2012: Revised version with multi threading