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How did Apple get rid of Wordle clones?

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Over the past few days, the online game Wordle has taken social media by storm. However, the success of the game, designed to be a web app, has brought a clone on mobile.

A deceptively simple online word puzzle, Wordle has had a meteoric rise since its launch last autumn, from 90 daily players in November to 300,000 at the beginning of January, to 2 million last weekend. But, for its creator, the game’s rapid success has resulted in as much anxiety as excitement.

The game has become an unexpected grassroots hit for Josh Wardle, who developed it for his puzzle-loving partner. The pair played it for fun on their sofa, and other users slowly began to join them. The game is as simple and easy to play as the slots on best online slots.

Every day, there is a new word to guess, and players get just six chances to identify it. Wordle’s popularity is thought to be partly because, in an era of apps aggressively competing for your attention and time, the game was deliberately built to be played once a day, and without features designed to promote its growth such as push notifications and email sign ups.

As its popularity has snowballed on social media, Wardle, a software engineer based in Brooklyn who is originally from Wales, has begun to feel overwhelmed by the response. “It going viral doesn’t feel great to be honest. I feel a sense of responsibility for the players. I feel I really owe it to them to keep things running and make sure everything’s working correctly.”

The game really took off when one user in New Zealand (where the game is especially popular) displayed her results in a sequence of emojis on Twitter, prompting Wardle to build a function that would allow users to share theirs more easily, in a visually appealing Rubik’s Cube-style grid configuration.

But the developers are not the only ones trying to cash in on the popularity of the game. The success of the online game provoked a host of unlicenced versions appearing for iOS, iPadOS and Android – many copying both the idea and look of his non-profit creation. Some of them started to climb the App Store, with at least one developer boasting about the success before Apple took note and removed them.

The most blatant Wordle clone on Android is named simply named “Wordle – Daily Word Challenge” and was clearly rushed to release, but has already amassed over 1,000 downloads in the past few days. Some innocent apps also got caught in the crossfire, too. “Wordle 2″ and Wordle” both existed before the new game arrived, but they’ve been getting negative reviews in recent days as a result of the confusion.

Apple has not issued a statement yet on whether they have initiated action against these clone apps, but it is unlikely that developers would take these down on their own. The developer guidelines are very clear though. Section 4.1 of these guidelines specifically tackles the issue listed as “copycats”. It is likely that a takedown process was initiated. There are quite a few Wordle clones on the Google Play Store for Android phones as well.

Cloning popular apps and games isn’t unusual. But Apple potentially cracking down on them certainly is. PUBG Mobile, Angry Birds, Flappy Birds and Among Us are some of the popular cloned games. Some online slots at online casino Australia have also been affected previously especially the popular ones.

One developer, whose app has since been taken down, wrote in a tweet earlier this week, “I love Wordle so much I decided to make my own Wordle app but with a twist! There’s not just 5-letter words, but also 4, 6, and 7 letter words too! You can also play unlimited times if you’re on the Pro version”. He later bragged about the download numbers and how his app was climbing the charts on the App Store.

Incidentally, a lot of these cloned apps turned up as paid apps, quite literally attempting to cash in on the craze.

Apple’s developer guidelines make it very clear that apps or ideas that are copied are in line for a strike. The guideline reads, “Don’t simply copy the latest popular app on the App Store, or make some minor changes to another app’s name or UI and pass it off as your own. In addition to risking an intellectual property infringement claim, it makes the App Store harder to navigate and just isn’t fair to your fellow developers”

The author is an expert on occupational training and a prolific writer who writes extensively on Business, technology, and education. He can be contacted for professional advice in matters related with occupation and training on his blog Communal Business and Your Business Magazine.

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