Manual Penalty or Bad Search Algorithm?

This morning I searched on my iOS device for the phrase “Bird Flight” to see where my new Flappy Bird clone ranked. Yesterday it ranked #1 for the phrase “Bird Flight”. Today it is ranked #7 for the phrase “Bird Flight”. Ahead of it are:

– Blue Bird 2: A Flappy Resurrection
– Phoenix Bird
– Aero
– Air Penguin
– Early Bird and Friends
– Black Bird – Fun Free Flappy Flight Game

Looking at the ranking for “Bird Flight” in App Annie, there is a steep drop at around 12 a.m. Sunday morning:

Screen Shot 2014-03-02 at 7.42.24 PM

Either Apple removed all ranking from my app “Bird Flight” and/or applied a manual ranking penalty or their search algorithm is just really bad. I’m pretty sure the former is true, but if that’s the case how are all the Flappy Bird clones staying on the top charts? Is Apple selectively penalizing certain apps but not others?

App Store rankings aside, how these 6 apps can rank ahead when my title matches “Bird Flight” exactly is a mystery.

*UPDATE* I think part of the equation is that Apple probably gives new apps a 7 day boost in ranking. The loss of that boost is likely responsible for the drop in downloads, but does not explain the poor search results for an exact title search.

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