Update: VW figured out that there is a much simpler explanation – it’s been exactly one month since Neil Rajah was released, and games drop out of the ‘new’ lists after 30 days. See comments below.
Sometime on Saturday, I uploaded a new release of Neil Rajah to various app stores, including the Google Play store. I described most of the changes in an earlier post. I made one more change – renamed the game from ‘Neil Rajah (Free)’ to just ‘Neil Rajah’. This was because I’ve pretty much made up my mind that I’m not going to do separate free and paid versions of this game. I made the change in the APK, and without really thinking about it, I changed the Google Play store listing as well.
On Saturday, ‘Neil Rajah (Free)’ was ranked 136 in ‘top new free’ for ‘action / arcade’. On Sunday, it disappeared from the listings. It’s possible that I missed it, but I searched pretty carefully from 100 all the way down to 500, and didn’t see it. I thought it might take a day or so for the databases to synch themselves, but it’s not in the listings this morning either. It appears that changing the name might have wiped the ranking status, and now I might be back to square one. I can’t think of any reason for this other than the name change. I’ve uploaded new builds in the past, and it hasn’t caused the game to disappear from the charts.
It’s possible that there’s something else going on here. The Google Play store developer dashboard has been slow to update download counts lately. So it might still be a temporary glitch that will resolve itself, but I’m not really holding my breath. It’s too early to tell whether this made any difference to the downloads. Right now, Flurry is showing a big drop in new users from Saturday to Sunday, but I’ve noticed that their data for the previous day sometimes updates fairly late in the next day. Also, I’d expect Sunday to be lower than Saturday, because it’s already Monday in Asia (which is where most of my downloads are coming from). I’ll need to give it a few more days to see if the fallout of this change is bigger than I thought.
Anyway, the moral of the story is – put some thought into picking a name for your app, and don’t change it after you publish it.