Four Unknown VPN Apps Have Taken Over the US App Store

Ariel Ariel
May. 31

This is a single insight from This Week in Apps - Gotta Google. Check out the full article for more insights.


I noticed a few VPNs on the Most Downloaded Apps list on the App Store today. It's not abnormal to see one somewhere in the top 50 but there are currently four in the top 20!

And what's even more interesting is that none are names I recognize or that advertise heavily.

The four include Turbo VPN Private Broswer, _Thunder VPN - Secure & VPN Pro, VPN - Super Unlimited Proxy, and VPN - Free VPN Super. Do you see what I see?

All of these names are basically a bunch of keywords used for discovery. And guess what, three of those show up in the top 5 results when searching for "VPN" in the US App Store.

Our App Intelligence shows downloads for the four have gone up 450% on Thursday from a daily average of just about 37K to 208K in the US App Store alone. The increase was also felt globally, but the US is by far the main driver of downloads, so I'm focusing on that.

The biggest winner was Thunder VPN. It's downloads rose more than 4,000% to 65K on Thursday. Not the most. That title goes to Super Unlimited, which saw downloads reach 96K on Thursday, according to our estimates. It's daily average before was already high though, so the growth is just 114%.

And here's the thing - I don't know why these apps are on the rise.

I looked at Apple Search Ads and it's not it. Three of the four don't even advertise. It's also rare to see such a spike for an already popular keyword with ASO. The last option is some sort of manipulation for ASO. I've seen manipulation campaigns in the past but none at this scale so I'm not sure that's it either.

Regardless of why, the real test is whether these will stick. So far, downloads of all but the one that uses Apple Search Ads are on the decline but still tending higher than where they started. Let's see how long that'll last.

What's your guess about this?

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