Guy Brags About Ripping Wordle and Getting Paid, Gets Fired From Twitter
Wordle is a phenomenon. Even if you’re not playing it, you’ve almost certainly seen it if you use Twitter: those little grids of green, yellow, and gray blocks, accompanied by a short, weird sequence of numbers. They look like this:
You can read a detailed description of what it’s all about here, but the short version is it’s simple, challenging, and fun: a brilliant little puzzle all around, really. It’s also completely unmonetized which is refreshing. There are no ads or optional purchases in the game, and in fact, you can only play it once per day. Developer Josh Wardle (really) made it for his partner, a pun fan, and then opened it to the public in October.
“It’s something that encourages you to spend three minutes a day,” Wardle told the New York Times. “And that’s it. Like, he doesn’t want more of your time than that.”
It’s a great story – a guy makes a smart and simple game as a token of his love, then shares the magic with the world – which makes a clone recently appeared on the App Store seem even more shabby . Scams and clones are a reality in mobile games (and PC games), but this case is particularly egregious as the “creator” of the mobile app Wordle, Zachary shaken, lifted everything directly, including the title, and added a “Wordle Pro” upgrade option (for $ 30!)
As if that wasn’t enough, Shakked also took the opportunity to brag on social media about the app’s performance. This resulted in strong reluctance from Wordle fans, and while Shakked initially responded with snark about the mechanics of the game and Wardle’s failure to score the title, he quickly gave up and protected his Twitter account. . Fortunately, you can see an image of his tweets and the like. interactions below.
This guy shamelessly cloned Wordle (name and all) as an iOS F2P game with in-app purchases and brags about how well it performs and how it will fare because Josh Wardle didn’t brand it. . So disgusting. pic.twitter.com/kIs8BypuRAJanuary 11, 2022
It’s not a defense of Shakked (or anyone else who snatches other people’s work), but his is far from Wordle’s only scam on the App Store. A few games using the title predate Wardle’s web hit, but most are outright scams – like I said, this is an unfortunately common practice:
But the makers of most of these clones have at least had the good sense to keep quiet about it. Shakked’s triumphalism on Twitter is what made him a target: it’s literally the “I did this“meme brought to real life.
Apple said last year that in addition to an automated review process, it employs nearly 500 people to provide a “robust manual review” of software for sale on its App Store. This results in the rejection of around 40% of the applications submitted, but many of them are still successful. Which is perhaps not surprising: there are around five million apps submitted for review each year.
I contacted Wardle for feedback on the Wordle clone and will update if I get a response.