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Why Flappy Bird's success is probably legit

Lot's of attacks and theories float around the overnight hit. Let's have a closer look.

There is that idea out there that Flappy Bird is probably the result of app store scamming. Here are some observations that make me think those critics who are so quick to cry 'foul' might be, well, a little too quick.

Nothing new

We are at a peak of app store scamming. A lot of things have been tried and are being tried. Bot nets for dl’s and reviews are not new and in fact they are somewhat readily available BUT: only for a boatload of upfront money.

If you read way back through Dong’s Twitter stream, the guy seems pretty genuine. And definitely not of the rich kid type.

So you would have to go all the way and extend your theory to cover that one guy somehow has his hand on a massive botnet. And then uses that to catapult app up the charts that is not well monetized, of all things? It doesn’t add up.

Get Glue

There is more: Stickiness. You can catapult an app up the free charts. It’s a known number and right now probably somewhere between 15k and 25k. Legal, with advertisement. The illegal ways are not much cheaper. It happens every day. And all those apps, once up, sink like stones within hours. Flappy Bird climbed steadily and stuck like glue.

That again would require massive amounts of $ or his own private Mega-Botnet. Again, for a small game with non-optimized monetization?

It happened before

You know where we saw similar download cycles? With the original Temple Run. Took four months to get any type of traction but then the kids latched on, carried it to Nr. 1 and it was there for months. Imangi by that time did all their pushes already to not much effect, then it went truly viral.

Tuscan Milk!

Last, the reviews. It’s a known thing on amazon that reviews in itself can go viral. See Three-Wolves-Moon and Tuscan Milk. The argument that many Flappy Bird reviews revolve around the idea of "destroying the reviewers life" is probably just that. Looking at what the kids say on youtube and twitter it seems this is genuine fun for them.

tl;dr

fishy: yes. But if Dong did it in any fishy way he has more $ than any of the large, venture backed money reeking behemoths out there. Or has a larger private botnet than Anonymous. Or found a way nobody has found before. Future will hopefully tell. Until then there is nothing wrong with a little "not-guilty until convicted" attitude and congratulate a fellow Indie dev to his overnight success.

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