Ranks, you're doing it wrong.
Note: I use the word "Rank" loosely here, in that it probably should be replaced with "position" or "title."
Once again, I target the fangames (because I haven't really seen any non-fangame have a standing rank system such as Squad Leaders and whatnot).
Because I love drama, I like to look at the feedback pages. And what I love most is when there is some noob complaining that their game didn't get listed like they wanted to. "Only 4 icons are the same as someone else's! It's totally original!" Or, "It's not a rip! It's just based on this other game that shares the same images, login system, and gameplay!" (I suppose I take pleasure in someone else's suffering. )
So anyway, yeah. If you look at just about any generic Naruto fangame submission, and you look at the overview, you'll notice that there are OVER NINE THOUSAND ranks, and none are filled (except for the obligatory 5 that are filled by the "staff." And I put that in quotation marks because I find a game with more than 5 staff to be suspect of ripping.) Why? What's the point of having so many ranks for a new game?
The reason I am against this sort of set-up is that it all but promotes a "everyone gets a castle and sits on it" deal. There are 50 ranks, there are 10 players. Everyone gets a rank! Since these ranks are all the same, just with a different name (and possibly different abilities) it boils down to "my rank is cooler than yours." It also creates stagnant play. So here's how you can fix your ranking biz.
Remove it. No, I don't mean not have ranks. I'm saying don't have OVER NINE THOUSAND at the start. This falls in line with my competition article. You don't need to release every rank to begin the game, you don't even need to release the entire game to begin with. (No, I don't mean release the login system and a test zone and call it a day.) If you have 5 cities, and each can have a mob boss, release 2 or 3 cities to begin with. That way, the game doesn't become diluted. It's best to keep players in one small area and have em fight it out than to split things up. Also, if you've already made the other cities, you can release them as an update and make your players think that you've been working on updates when what you've really been doing is studying for your Physics test on Thursday.
You don't need a ton of ranks to attract people to your game. You need a good game to attract people to your game.