Exclusive: Flappy Bird Developer Denies Scam Allegations

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A few days ago, I interviewed Dong Nguyen, developer of the #1 app Flappy Bird. Dong is a one man team, who built this game in just 3 days using reused artwork. He said he didn’t use any promotion methods and he put his success down to his ‘luck’.

Since then, various people have suggested more sinister reasons for his success. This include scamming the store and using bots, to artificially drive the app up the charts. A main reason for this suspicion is the peculiar spikes you can see in the apps history. See pic below.


Since then I uncovered a viral twitter review competition for the Flappy Bird app which is fueling downloads and viral sharing, and @pewdiepie, the most subscribed person on youtube has also shared videos of the game to his followers.

I caught up with Dong to confirm the scam rumors are untrue. Email conversation follows:


“Hey Dong,

A few people have left comments on the blog, questioning whether bots, or similar, were used in these games to artificially drive up the downloads to reach the top charts.

Attached is a picture of the apps rankings. The history of the app would seem to indicate some form of paid traffic was used. Are you sure you didn’t use any bots, paid traffic or anything other than organic DLs?

It does seem strange that there is no reason at all you are aware of for the sudden rise to the top charts.

Thanks again,


Hi Elaine,

Thank you for sharing and the post.

I am sure I didn’t use any kind of promotion.


Flappy Bird really does seem to be a “1 in a million” app.

Its chart success defies logic, it has captivated the world with its gameplay, and Dong is becoming an inspiring legend to indie app developers around the world.

What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below.

HOT: Learn how you can make mobile apps & games with ZERO technical knowledge.

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Elaine Heney is the CEO of Chocolate Lab Apps, #1 Bestselling Author of "The App Escape Plan". Elaine has over 200 apps published with over 3 million downloads, 5 online App Development Courses, and mentors international mobile startups.

{ 2 comments… add one }

  1. 1 Mike February 5, 2014, 4:34 am

    Well I guess that settles that. I mean, if he was using bots, he obviously wouldn’t lie about it.

  2. 2 Richard Barry February 5, 2014, 5:36 am

    Haha this guy is hilarious! Don’t know if I’d be taking that “statement” as gospel though.

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