The first that I had heard about Flappy Birds was in a discussion about someone selling their iPhone for $600+ dollars simply because they had downloaded the app.

Like any normal iPhone addict, I did my research on this elusive game, and found it to be, at first glance, an odd combination of Mario Brother’s and The Helicopter Game, which I used to play out of boredom in my high school typing class. The logic was simple; tap your phone screen to propel a little bird into the air at just the right speed in order to lead it safely through a series of green tubes on the top and bottom of its path. If the tubes are touched, the bird’s sudden death is inevitable. Familiar? Yes. Addicting? Yes. Profitable? Most CERTAINLY yes.

Dong Nguyen, the creator, managed to be raking in a whopping $50,000 a day from in app advertisements, or app monetization, a successful mobile sub category of advertising networks. Nguyen was reaping $50,000 a day simply from consumers clicking the advertisements featured in his app.

It seems unfathomable to most why someone who was so effortlessly gaining revenue would be so quick to remove the app altogether. However, popularity is sometimes followed by infamy and Nguyen claims he simply could not take “it” anymore. Most assume “it” refers to the backlash he has received from the difficulty and unoriginality of his game. He claims that the game has ruined his simple life, that he has no interest in selling it, and of course that he is indeed sorry to the Flappy Bird fans.

There are speculations to bigger issues, such as legal (Nintendo) and the use of bots (fake accounts) in order to manipulate download results for the app, increasing its rank, popularity, and revenue. Regardless of the speculation, the app’s popularity and its financial success, the game is no longer. What we are left with is iPhones selling at outstanding prices to Flappy Bird addicts, and the evidence that while popular apps may come and go, the key to developer success is approaching app monetization in the right way and at the right time.

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