MDHQ_Logo4cMobile app developers live and die by how easily their apps are discovered in the various app stores from Apple, Google, Microsoft and Amazon. And any small tweak in the app stores can have a dramatic impact.

But now a new service from Seattle startup MobileDevHQ is trying to help those developers make sense of why their apps may have risen or fallen.

It’s called Sonar, and the new service is launching today. Basically, it is an algorithm that analyzes the algorithm of app stores, giving developers insights into what may be impacting their apps. The company said that it has reverse engineered the app stores to better understand how they work.

“While a change in results for just one search query wouldn’t indicate a change in the app store’s algorithm, looking for trends across 400,000 search results can,” said MobileDevHQ CEO Ian Sefferman. “Because this requires huge amounts of data and great algorithms, Sonar is something that is incredibly difficult for an individual app marketer — or anyone else — to replicate.” 

He continued:

App marketers can use this in a couple main ways: first, they can now proactively learn about changes in the app stores’ algorithms, ensuring they can react quickly to continue to rank highly in app store search. Second, they can use it to explain changes in their own rank. For instance, if a marketer notices a large drop (or increase) in their search rankings, they can check Sonar to see if that was due to a change on their end, or part of a wider algorithm change.

At this point, the service is available for the Apple store, with plans to expand into Google Play later this month. A TechStars Seattle grad, MobileDevHQ raised $650,000 from Founder’s Co-op and others last December. It employs seven people.

Previously on GeekWireTechStars Spotlight: MobileDevHQ looks to help propel apps up the charts

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  • Ian Sefferman

    We’re incredibly excited to be launching Sonar today and can’t wait to hear the reaction from users and readers. If anyone has any feedback or questions, feel free to ping me directly anytime. Thanks, John, for the coverage.

    • davidgeller

      Why is the page that asks for credit card information not using SSL? It seems like the submission form is going through SSL (which, clearly, is good), but new users might be wary not seeing SSL be default and not know to look at the page’s source to be comforted.

      • Ian Sefferman

        Definitely a bug, that should be SSL. You’re right that we always submit to SSL (and, in fact, we use Stripe, so we don’t get any of that sensitive data anyways), but we’ll change that page to have SSL for comfort sake. Thanks for letting us know!

        • Vroo (Bruce Leban)

          It’s more than a “comfort” issue. By not using SSL on the form page itself, you’re at risk of a man-in-the-middle attack where the attacker rewrites the form to submit to their site. The user will frequently never know the submission was redirected as the smart attacker will redirect back to your site.

  • davidgeller

    Just signed up and added one of my iOS apps! Nice UI. Simple to use. I’m looking forward to learning more about how to optimizing for better coverage. Thanks for developing such a useful tool.

  • Jeff MacDuff

    Congrats guys, awesome to see the progress!

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