When I first heard about Wordle, I assumed it was an app, and looked for it in various app stores. I did not find it – Wordle is instead a website, and completely free.
It turns out I’m not alone. App developer Steven Cravotta explained on Twitter that a completely independent game he released five years ago, also called Wordle, has had a huge increase in downloads over the past few weeks. And now he is donating the money he has earned to charity.
“I built an app called Wordle when I was 18, mostly for fun, to sharpen my coding skills and maybe make some quick money,” Cravotta wrote. “It didn’t quite pick up speed like my previous app, Grid, did. So after a few months and ~ 100,000 total downloads, I stopped updating and promoting the app.”
Cravotta says his Wordle, which is free to download with in-app purchases to remove ads, has been downloaded 1-2 times a day for the past four years. That changed earlier in the month and in the seven days before January 12, the Wordle app has been downloaded 200,000 times “and it’s not even slower yet.”
While other, sinister people have explicitly tried to clone and take advantage of Wordle’s success in the app store, Cravotta accidentally fell into the borrowed success. He could have kept all the money he earned, but instead he contacted Josh Wardle, the creator of the new Wordle, to talk about donating them to a charity.
The couple has decided to donate the money to Boost! West Oakland, a charity that offers a “free mentoring and mentoring program” for young people in the West Oakland area of California.
I’m delighted with this common act of human decency and generosity because this is the internet, and I’re all too rarely writing about such things. Well done to Steve Cravotta.
If you, like me, are hooked on Wardle’s Wordle, you can enjoy turning your results into a building in Townscaper.
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