Wordle viral internet game copied by developer as Wordle-The App, taken down by Apple after complaints

Wordle is a free, word-puzzle game that has taken the internet by storm. It has gone viral within weeks. So, an app developer decided to cash in on its success and developed a similar game but with a paid subscription and used the same name while putting it in the Apple App Store. Though Zack Shakked was trying to make a quick buck, by copying the trending name and game, many flagged the app on the App Store and it was removed by Apple.

Brooklyn software engineer Josh Wardle created Wordle as a word puzzle. The free game’s popularity exploded on the net and in the beginning of the year, there were about 30,000 players. The Guardian reported that the number of players rose exponentially to 2 million players, this past weekend.

So, Zack Shakked decided to create a similar game, with the same name, on the Apple App Store in the U.S. On Monday, an app called Wordle—The App by Shakked went live on the Apple App Store. The tech entrepreneur made a few changes by offering five, six and seven letter words as well as a “pro” mode with unlimited play for a subscription fee of $30 per year.

The original Wordle game is free as mentioned plus it only offered five letter words and did not allow unlimited play. Shakked was attacked on social media for blatantly copying the game as well as monetizing a free game.

Late Tuesday, Shakked apologized for his mistake and said that he knew that he had crossed a line and that he would surely never do anything similar again. Earlier on Tuesday, he boasted about how his app had 5.4k downloads in an hour and more.

As the negative publicity surrounding his ripoff of the free game Wordle grew, Apple removed Shakked’s game and others from its App store, on Tuesday.

Although he apologized, Shakked went on a rant about losing money on the app, on the originality of Wordle and on the Apple Store for removing his app. However, players of Wordle on the internet appreciate Josh Wardle’s free Wordle and saw to it that a copycat who charged subscription for an app would not survive on the Apple App Store.

On January 3, in an interview with the New York Times, Josh Wardle said that he had created the puzzle game for his partner who loved puzzles. He also said that people appreciated the game as it was fun to play online and that it did not try “to do anything shady with your data or your eyeballs.” He described it as “a game that’s fun.”


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