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Wordle's app store namesake is donating its proceeds to charity

Older game called Wordle has benefitted from new viral hit

When I first heard about Wordle, I assumed it was an app, and went looking for it on various app stores. I didn't 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 unrelated game he released five years ago, also called Wordle, has had a major increase in downloads over the past few weeks. And now he's donating the money he's made to charity.

"I built an app called Wordle when I was 18 mostly for fun, to sharpen my coding skillz, and maybe make a quick buck," Cravotta wrote. "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."

Cravotta says that his Wordle, which is free to download with in-app purchases to remove adverts, has been downloaded 1-2 times a day for the past four years. That changed earlier this month and in the seven days before January 12th, the Wordle app has been downloaded 200,000 times "and its not even slowing down yet."

While other, scummy people have explicity attempted to clone and profit from Wordle's success on the app store, Cravotta fell into the borrowed success by accident. He could have kept any money he made, but instead he reached out to Josh Wardle, the creator of the new Wordle, to talk about donating it to a charity.

Wardle confirmed this via Twitter, writing that "@StevenCravotta reached out to me unprompted and asked about donating the proceeds. He's a class act and you should follow him."

The pair have decided to donate the money to Boost! West Oakland, a charity which offers a "no-cost tutoring and mentoring program" for young people in the West Oakland area of California.

I am delighted by this ordinary act of human decency and generosity, because this is the internet and I too rarely get to write about such things. Well done to Steve Cravotta.

If you, like me, are hooked on Wardle's Wordle, you might enjoy turning your results into a building in Townscaper.

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Graham Smith avatar

Graham Smith


Graham used to be to blame for all this.

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