Wordle is taking the world by storm. The simple and free wordplay game that was developed in the fall has already taken over social media feeds across the country. You’ve almost certainly seen it in yours. Of course, when something goes viral this quickly, there are sure to be scammers and counterfeiters trying to trick people out of their money.
If you haven’t played or don’t know the story, Wordle was developed more or less on a lark by a software engineer from Brooklyn in October. Josh Wardle (see the play on words for the wordplay game?) created the game as something fun to do with his partner. He never had any intention of his simple guessing game to be anything more than that. Oh, how it has become so much more.
The premise is simple: Players are given six chances to guess a five-letter word. Color-coded boxes tell the player if a letter they’ve guessed is in the word — grey if it’s not the word, yellow if it’s in the word but in the wrong space, and green if the letter is in the correct spot. That’s it. While it’s simple, it’s obviously very addictive. A new word appears on the site each morning and players have made it part of their early routine, just like a cup of coffee and brushing their teeth.
A Viral Sensation And The Scammers That Followed
According to Wardle, who spoke to the New York Times earlier this month, he initially shared the game with some friends and family members. By November, 90 users, mostly people he knew, were playing. By the first of this year, 300,000 people were playing. There hasn’t been an official update from Wardle lately, but it’s safe to say that number has grown exponentially in the last 10 days and it’s almost certainly safe to assume that there are millions playing now. The game is completely free and the original is only available on its website, found here.
Since Wardle isn’t monetizing the game, it was almost a certainty that someone would try. In fact, many are trying. A quick scan of the search for “wordle” on the Apple App store brings up dozens of similar games, with some in the games and others in the education category, but none are the original game Josh Wardle developed. Some even cost money to purchase, while others have those ubiquitous “in app purchases,” but nearly all of them are monetized in some way.
Don’t Fall For It!
If you’re wondering how to avoid getting duped or want to explain to others how to avoid it, there’s one simple thing to look out for as the apps can be deceiving. Just know there is no app — at least not yet — so if you’re not playing on the website, you’re not playing the right game. It should be noted there are a couple of apps with a similar name that are a different game, developed well before this craze took hold. Those are not scams, but they are also not the same game. If the developer is someone other than Josh Wardle, you know it’s not what your friends are playing.
It’s rare when something like this, something not out there looking to make money and just meant to bring people joy for the sake of joy, so don’t let the vultures win by falling for their underhanded tactics to play their cheap, knock-off versions.