Developer of earlier 'Wordle' app sees thousands of mistaken downloads


Dead app hits 200,000 downloads

Indie developer Steven Cravotta was probably left somewhat confused when his long-abandoned mobile game suddenly started rocketing up the charts. It turns out that Cravotta has also released an app known as “Wordle,” which has led to confused users installing his program in droves, mistaking it for the recent viral puzzle title.

I built an app called Wordle when I was 18 mostly for fun, to sharpen my coding skillz, and maybe make a quick buck,” said Cravotta on Twitter. “It didn’t quite take off like my previous app, Grid, did. So after a few months and ~100k total downloads, I stopped updating and promoting the app.”

But, in recent weeks, over 200,000 people have installed Cravotta’s formative work, assuming it to be the smash hit puzzler by New York-based coder Josh Wardle. The modern Wordle does not have an app nor any monetization, and is instead played in a web browser, a fact that clearly was not realized by those players paying for and then installing Cravotta’s program.

wordle downloads steven cravotta

I figured we could turn this very strange, once in a lifetime scenario and make it something amazing!” continues Cravotta, who then reached out to Wardle to explain the confusion. The duo then decided that all of the proceeds earned by Cravotta in the confusion are to be donated to a charity of the pair’s choosing. And thus, the strange windfall will be given to Boost! West Oakland — an organization that offers free after-school tutoring for children living in the West Oakland area.

In a week dominated by headlines of capitalism, here is yet another story that, in its own small way, shows the grace of good, talented people choosing to share the wealth rather than race to own it all.

Wordle, the “real” Wordle, is available to play over at the official website. There is no app.