Is there anyway to get a map popular short of being one of the first few maps to populate the list at release? Right now it seems like the custom map listing is completely useless. Let me know if I am missing some hidden feature that lets me see more games.
You can find other maps by searching for them by name. So if a map gets featured on a review site or something and people specifically search for it, it'll get more popular, and eventually it might end up on the Popular list.
I don't think the popular list is a problem, it's good for what it is, as long as there are resources (like review sites or people who feature good new maps on youtube, etc.) people will find and play new maps.
A digg/reddit style system for maps would be pretty neat though instead of straight up ranking by popularity.