Over the last few weeks, Wordle has become massively popular on social media, and the game's popularity has already inspired copycats. Named after creator Josh Wardle, the game is completely free and features no advertising. It's also playable through your browser, requiring no app download. Some decided to take advantage of that fact, most notably Zach Shakked. On January 10th, Shakked released Wordle- The App on the App Store, using the exact same name, as Wardle hadn't trademarked it. Shakked received a lot of hate on Twitter over the move, and the App Store has now removed the game. The Verge reports the same has happened to other Wordle wannabes, as well.
While Wordle- The App is currently unavailable, Shakked took to Twitter today to argue his case. Shakked says that he has spoken to Wardle about licensing the name or sending him a percentage of the profits, but apparently Wardle is not interested in doing so. Shakked has appealed to Apple over his game's removal, and is considering a name change. Clearly, Shakked did not learn his lesson however, as he went on to say that he could "simply buy the Apple Search Ads slot for 'wordle' keyword and get cheap downloads." That particular comment has once again drawn the ire of Wordle fans, who chastised Shakked for once again trying to profit off the name.
I don't think people realize, I don't need the app to be called Wordle for it to be successful. I can simply buy the Apple Search Ads slot for 'wordle' keyword and get cheap downloads and eventually the app, even with a diff name, would rank for Wordle since there is no app.— Zach (@zachshakked) January 12, 2022
The concept of Wordle is a simple one: every day, a new five-letter word is selected, and players must guess the word. There are six chances to do so, and correct letters and letter placement are revealed with each guess, helping to narrow things down. The simplicity is a big part of the game's charm, and so is the fact that it's free. Shakked's version slightly changed the formula, adding words with four, six, or seven letters, and a paid version that unlocked multiple tries. While there have been concepts similar to Wordle over the years, Shakked's reliance on the name is the reason so many have taken issue with his game; clearly, there's an intent to profit off Wordle's popularity! Hopefully, Apple will stick to its guns on this one.
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