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Is twitter the fuel behind the success of the #1 app, Flappy Bird? Updated

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Earlier I posted an interview with Dong Nguyen, the developer behind the #1 app in the store, Flappy bird.

In the interview, Dong said he didn’t use any other methods to get downloads besides organic traffic. He wasn’t exactly sure how his app ended up at #1.

If you look on twitter right now, you might be able to see at least one reason for this. Check out this picture of what’s going on in realtime:


There seems to be a viral competition on twitter to see who can write the “best” app review on Flappy Bird.

This is the realtime feed… literally it’s updating every few seconds on twitter.

And here are some of the weird and wonderful reviews, as photographed and shared on twitter. A warning, the language isn’t quite suited for kids.




And it’s got bigger than just twitter. In fact it seems to have engaged the whole world at this stage.

So have we entered a new era in the app store?

Can viral social media campaigns can sky rocket humble games to the top of the charts?

Once a game makes it to the top charts, there is very little that can keep it at #1, aside from paying $$$$$ for advertising installs daily, or having a hugely engaged player community.

And Flappy Bird is still right up at the top of the charts for 14 days now.


What do you think?

  • Does twitter rule the app store rankings now?
  • Will social media become the new ASO / app marketing?
  • Is Flappy Bird the new Gangnam Style craze?
  • Has Dong caught lightning in a bottle?
  • Will I ever get past level 5? (seriously)
  • Or is it something else entirely?
  • Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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    Elaine Heney is an online entrepreneur, triple #1 best selling author and international keynote speaker. Elaine is an Amazon FBA ecommerce advisor, investor, Hollywood movie producer, online business consultant and CEO of Chocolate Lab Cashflow. Elaine has also published over 300 mobile apps across Amazon, Apple & Google, and enjoyed over 20 million app downloads and over 50 #1 apps worldwide.

    { 10 comments… add one }

    • Dustin February 1, 2014, 5:43 am

      It makes me think 4chan just found the worst game they could, and thought it would be funny to make it totally go nuts on the charts…. In either case, I hope they find one of my dumb games and do the same.

    • Samuel February 1, 2014, 5:47 am

      If social media is fueling this app, it can make for a great case study! If Dong did no promotion then what sparked or triggered this viral frenzy 6 months after his initial release date? Also who initiated a contest to write the “best” app review on Flappy Bird? Was there a monetary amount awarded for the best review? Questions I hope can be answered by Dong if possible.

    • RedYetiDave February 1, 2014, 11:39 am

      So, I guess you’ve not talked to Carter Thomas who is pretty convinced it’s a clever scam then? :)


    • Dustin McKay February 1, 2014, 5:24 pm

      At first I thought it might be a scam, and while I still think it is market manipulation, I don’t think it is being carried out by Dong, There are too many individual players on too many platforms, Facebook, Twitter, Etc…. What ever it is, and who ever is behind it, I think it is funny. Makes me smile just thinking about it.

    • Elaine Heney February 1, 2014, 11:12 pm

      It was shown a while back by the guy with the largest following on twitter. Also seems like a likely cause to get things started back in Nov ’13. If anyone can find that video let me know.

    • Alex February 2, 2014, 10:25 am

      @pewdiepie just made a video that went up on youtube on the 27th Jan 2014… that video got 5million downloads… that’s your reason right there

      @pewdiepie is the most subscribed person on youtube… what he says goes for a lot of the kids out there

    • Gerhard Fasol February 3, 2014, 3:25 pm

      In Japan, Flappy Bird is on rank #18 in the free games section of the iPhone AppStore, compared to rank #97 for Angry Birds Go! (LINE Disney tsumutsumu is on rank #1). See: http://www.eurotechnology.com/2014/02/03/flappy-bird-angry-birds-japan/

    • Gorkem February 7, 2014, 11:15 am

      Are not reviews a bit suspicious? All seems like written with perfect English from computer, no markup errors, only some capital letter problems…

    • DavidW February 7, 2014, 3:48 pm

      Twitter bots are keeping it active right now. Of the last 15 tweets, 8 of those were from bots. The accounts have almost identical advertising tweets in them, going constantly. Here’s two subjects if anyone wants to confirm:
      “Download this new craze game Flappy Bird”
      “‘Ironpants’ Is The New ‘Flappy Bird’ (REVIEW)”

    • Thomas Currey February 10, 2014, 5:34 pm

      I think what happened is that he just nailed a new gaming formula. The game was simple enough to easily understand, but there was no learning curve to the game. Most games have a simpler intro level to teach you the game mechanic and then get harder later. This was super frustrating from the first moment, leaving people with a “just one more playthrough” type of feeling. It’s easy to go out there and do things like buy likes or Tweets for instance (see the types of companies on http://www.facebooklikesreviews.com for example) but I don’t think you can replicate a major viral effect like Flappy Bird without there being something truly special or captivating about the content. To me, it’s likely that the lack of the difficulty curve was the spin on the game. That’s an interesting approach to take that goes against the coddled nature of gamers today.

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