Loser Rips Off Game That Brings Everyone Joy

Wordle doesn’t deserve this

Art: Jack Koloskus

There are a few very nice things about Wordle, the word game that everyone has been playing and sharing on social media lately: it is free, it takes just a few minutes to solve, it only offers one round per day, and, best of all, it is refreshingly bare bones, stripped of the flashy graphics, annoying notifications, and intrusive advertisements that color the user experience of so many webpages and mobile games nowadays. It was originally made for love, not money, which is just sweet enough to make me insert a “slightly smiling” emoji here: 🙂

Unfortunately, there are always assholes who have to ruin anything. In the past month or so since Wordle has really taken off, copycats have popped up on the app store, each under the same name that Wordle’s architect, Brooklyn-based software engineer Josh Wardle, created as a play on his own last name.

One of those assholes is developer Zach Shakked, who used Twitter to proudly document his journey to rip off Wordle and make a version that costs $30 a year to play. On Tuesday, Shakked giddily revealed that knock-off Wordle had already been downloaded thousands of times in the app store. Here is a screenshot of that tweet because Shakked went private earlier this afternoon after everyone started commenting about what an asshole move it was to make such a blatant cash grab using someone else’s name, work, and popularity:

Screenshot: Twitter/@zachshakked

Shakked most recently worked as the founder of something called Hashtag Expert, according to LinkedIn. Last June, he publically expressed displeeasure with copycats, tweeting: “Shameless copying is so dumb … Shameless copy/pasting ideas/features will get you nowhere.”

Screenshot: Twitter

Turns out it does actually get you somewhere: Getting ratioed on Twitter and identified as an asshole in publications like this one. I look forward to reading Shakked’s upcoming Notes App statement blaming mob mentality and cancel culture for bringing down a hustlepreneur for just trying to #grind.