The Wordle App: Twitter Storms Over Wordle Knock-off

Photo by Sara Kurfeß on Unsplash

The first week back in work and there’s one thing every call will mention at some stage; “Did you do today’s Wordle”. Wordle is a simple viral word game taking the internet by storm. It’s a love note as the creator made it for his other half before releasing it into the wild. The beauty of the game is that you can only play once, but that one puzzle is enjoyed by the world at the same time. But despite the creator keeping Wordle pure, a knock-off version of the game appeared in the iOS store and caused quite a stir.

Is There A Wordle App?

The easiest way to remember which app you should be using for Wordle is to know there is no app. The creator developed Wordle as a web app. That means you have to navigate to the website to play it. You’re progress and everything is saved here. There’s no need for an app which is why there isn’t one.

But an app did appear in the iOS store. Another developer saw the opportunity to flip the concept into an app and strip out some of the features likely making Wordle enjoyable to many such as the limitation of Wordle to a puzzle a day, the fact it’s clean and free with no ads. But when opportunity strikes…

The Wordle Ripoff

There have been a few clones of Wordle to appear since the app grew in popularity. Katherine Peterson created a version of the app because her brother was enjoying the original so much he just couldn’t live with one puzzle a day.

This flipped version of the app didn’t cause any stir at all beyond a few people, myself included, highlighting how the scarcity of Wordle puzzles is part of the attraction. Twitter reacted very differently to Zach Shakked’s story.

Shakked launched “Wordle – The App” into Apple’s App Store on Monday. His version of the game let players play more than one puzzle per day and even let them choose between four, five, six, and seven-letter words. Going a step further, and perhaps breaking the camel’s back, Shakked monetised the game too, adding a €30 annual subscription for unlimited play.

Twitter, where the original Wordle has really grown quite the following with shares upon shares being sent daily, wasn’t happy with Shakked’s efforts.

Apple has since removed the app.

Tech And Sharing Inspiration

The story raises loads of questions about tech in general. On the surface, it’s hard not to feel like Shakked ripped off the Wardle Wordle. But Wordle itself isn’t a unique name nor is it, more importantly, a new concept. If you tune into ITV you’ll find a very familiar-looking game called Lingo, based on the same idea that’s been running since 1988.

It also highlights how vicious Twitter can be. I do somewhat feel for Shakked here. He got an idea, had the skills to do something with it, and went for it.

Shakked had previously founded an app generating $5 million per year. Once you’re the kind of person who sees money-making ventures, it’s easy to get stuck in the idea before really considering right or wrong. Also, right or wrong simply wasn’t as black and white here as Twitter’s outrage would have you believe.

The biggest mistake Shakked made was trying to make a buck off something wholesome that many people are enjoying on a daily basis. But going by the short-lived success of his launch, people were more than happy to part with their money for more Wordle. That’s hardly his fault, is it?

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Founding Editor of Goosed, Marty is a massive fan of tech making life easier. You'll often find him testing something new, brewing beer or finding some new foodie spots in Dublin, Ireland. - Find me on Threads