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Wordle! and Wardle team up to donate proceeds from an unrelated app’s popularity spike

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The developer of a five-year-old app called Wordle! is donating his proceeds to charity

Photo by Stefani Reynolds / AFP via Getty Images

Wordle is a free browser game, and a browser game only — it has no accompanying apps, something that some people (myself included, regrettably) might not realize during a time when nearly everything has an app.

This leaves plenty of room for fake Wordle apps to crowd app stores in an attempt to leech off of the word puzzle game’s sudden rise in popularity. But there’s one app coincidentally called Wordle! that’s not a clone — it actually existed before the browser game itself. That’s why its developer is teaming up with the mind behind the browser-based Wordle, Josh Wardle, to use its accidental success as an opportunity to give back, according to a report from GameSpot.

The story unraveled in a thread on Twitter, with Wordle! app developer, Steven Cravotta, detailing how his coding project blew up five years after its creation, unknowingly riding on Wordle’s coattails. He developed an iOS app called Wordle! in 2017 to brush up on his coding skills, and while it got around 100,000 downloads, it wasn’t as successful as a previous game he built, called Grid, so Cravotta decided to stop updating and promoting the app.

Cravotta says that downloads for Wordle! slowed to around one to two per day, but when the browser-based Wordle started taking off, so did his app. The app racked up 200,000 downloads in a single week, albeit from confused users who mistook it for the browser-based Wordle. Cravotta reached out to Wordle app developer, Josh Wardle, and let him know about his plans to donate the proceeds from his app to charity — Wardle sent out a tweet of his own to acknowledge the gesture.

Cravotta later confirmed that he and Wardle decided to donate any money earned by Wordle! to BoostOakland, a charity geared towards tutoring and mentoring young people in Oakland, California. When The Verge reached out to Cravotta, he told us that he has collected a little more than $2,000 so far and that he’ll donate the total amount earned at the end of this month.