I still don't fully know what the popularity test is (after reading some threads), but I understand that it is a way to sort maps according to how popular they are, which is a stupid idea. It pretty much means that if you want people to play your new map you must either A: have made a unique, complete, bug free map that is instantly more popular than 99% of the other maps, or B: you must publish it when the popularity resets to catch those few hours when the list isn't filtered too heavily. It pretty much destroys casual map making/testing, maps that are different, etc.
Also note that it is based on popularity, not rating, so even if the map sucks it might be played a lot because people find the name interesting and want to try it out.
Take Wc3 as an example and you see nothing of that. Instead it is actually almost easier to find players if you host something crappy, half-done or different.