099621_largerWhile Dong Nguyen's original intentions behind removing Flappy Bird may have been to make its popularity go away, it seems that the new scarcity he's created in limiting who does and doesn't have the game now has only served to make Flappy Bird mania even hotter. Time's Harry McCracken points out that the top ten search terms on Time.com's tech section are all Flappy Bird related which "almost never happens with anything." The Guardian's saw similar things over the weekend. These are two incredibly mainstream news outlets that are being absolutely flooded by Flappy Bird search queries.

Outside of specific sites' own search engines, the best thermometer for how "hot" anything is on the internet is Google Trends, a service of Google that analyzes Google traffic to determine how many searches have been done on a specific keyword inside of whatever date range you specify. You can use Google Trends for all sorts of silly things like if hummus is more popular than tufu, what areas of the world are the most interested in Harry Potter, where people are most concerned about swine flu and so much more. So, let's look at how Flappy Bird compares to other historically incredibly popular iOS games:


Represented by the blue line on the right, here's Flappy Bird's popularity versus Angry Birds [Free] in red, Temple Run [Free] in yellow, Candy Crush [Free] in green, and finally, Clash of Clans [Free] in purple. Four other iOS games that every iOS gamer knows of, absolutely trounced by the shocking popularity of Flappy Bird.

An easy rebuttal to this is, "Well, yeah, but those are all mobile games. How does Flappy Bird compare against other internet viral sensations?" Well, try this on for size:


The above graph displays Google trend data between Flappy Bird which again is blue, Psy's smash hit Gangnam Style in red, the confusingly popular video meme Harlem Shake in yellow, pop star Justin Bieber in green, and finally, Lady Gaga in purple. What's supremely interesting to me about this chart in particular, is that more people are searching for Flappy Bird than there were people looking up Justin Bieber following his arrest, which was so popularized that MSNBC interrupted a Congresswoman to report on it.

I know it's incredibly easy to roll your eyes at Flappy Bird, as many commenters across the internet have made it very clear how little they care about the game. The fact remains, however, that a simple, silly, free, 2.5MB mobile game hit so big it's giving Gangnam Style a run for its money. Regardless of how you feel about the game itself, that fact alone is simply incredible.

  • lr1919

    Marketing genius.

  • jgainsbrugh

    Opum Flappy Style!! Flap! Flap! Flap! [autotune )

  • vicsark

    This is totally nuts.
    I'm pretty sure a movie's coming on Dong's life.
    And an animated tv series of 200 episodes of a yellow lippy bird flying through green pipes (this is gonna be monotonous)

    • B30

      And perhaps an adult movie: Dong's fappy bird

      • PFoure1964

        мʏ вυɖɖʏ'ѕ ­­­­­­e­­­­­­х-աιғ­­­­­­e­­­­­­ мαĸ­­­­­­e­­­­­­ѕ $7з αɴ нօυʀ օɴ тн­­­­­­e­­­­­­ ιɴт­­­­­­e­­­­­­ʀɴ­­­­­­e­­­­­­т. ѕн­­­­­­e­­­­­­ нαѕ в­­­­­­e­­­­­­­­­­­­e­­­­­­ɴ օυт օғ աօʀĸ ғօʀ 9 мօɴтнѕ вυт ʟαѕт мօɴтн н­­­­­­e­­­­­­ʀ ƈн­­­­­­e­­­­­­ƈĸ աαѕ $17891 ʝυѕт աօʀĸιɴɢ օɴ тн­­­­­­e­­­­­­ ιɴт­­­­­­e­­­­­­ʀɴ­­­­­­e­­­­­­т ғօʀ α ғ­­­­­­e­­­­­­ա нօυʀѕ. тнɛ օʀιɢιɴαʟ ѕօυʀƈ­­­­­­e­­­­­­ SaveJury&#46­com

    • JPhilipp

      Not monotonous, imagine the drama! Will the bird make it through this pipe? It did! Oh no, another pipe... will it pass again? It did, again! But there's a new pipe... will it fly through? Cliffhanger, more in next episode!

  • Salt Abdullah

    As Leo Laporte said on last night's TWIT - "Hatching Flappy Bird" (a pun on the Twitter book) needs to be written. Dong's suddenly a curious celebrity. Who is he? How'd he do it? Dumb luck? Bots? We'll not know for some time.

    • JPhilipp

      Someone here in the comments said the app was catapulted to success with the help of a mention in a very well-subscribed Facebook group (millions of followers, anyone got the link I'm talking about?).

      • Salt Abdullah

        Let's see the source. It's about time too

  • http://www.appfreakblog.com appfreak

    What is surprising is seeing the interest in the game spike like this in a matter of weeks. If kids in playgrounds already knew about Flappy Bird, what was the element that ignited this?

    • gora

      I'm also curious as what ignited Flappy mania. Was it bots or 4Chan? What made it viral after laying dead in the App Store for 6 months?

      • Himmat Singh

        Illuminate perhaps?

  • Ramaz1234


    • gora

      He needs more publicity than being #1? Really? He was already at the top and earning $50,000 a day in ad revenue. We were played as fools since it went viral

      • Zaraf

        Where did you get that number? Also, does the top grossing chart show ad revenue? Since I don't remember seeing any flappy bird on it.

    • sivad

      This is a mobile gaming forum, Flappy Bird was the number 1 free app, it's making huge headlines across all media platforms, so if TA wasn't covering this, people would be complaining about lack of coverage. My advice is if you are tired of hearing about it, simple don't read the article... No all caps flaming needed

      • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

        What's interesting is that these Flappy Bird stories are generating substantially more interest on TouchArcade both in traffic and comments than stories about "real" games or whatever it is that people want us to be posting.

      • sivad

        I figured out the conspiracy.... Eli is the actual dev of this game, how did we not see this, it's so obvious...

        Making a game under the alias of Dong... Sneaky little devil


      • Kane

        Hodapp / Flappy - Close enough

      • vicsark

        Flodapp !

      • rewind

        Why do I partially believe you might be onto something?

      • NinjaKitteh

        Good way to admit you're more about hype than substance. Kudos. But I jest. I'm sure if there were any other mobile game related news you'd be reporting on it.

      • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

        We're about covering iOS news. Can you make a compelling argument that Flappy Bird trending nearly as high on Google as Gangnam Style isn't newsworthy?

      • Holcman

        Haha true

  • Kane

    My new game: Flappy-Temple Gangnam Clash - Justin Gaga Candy Harlem Rush.... SAGA

    • Jean-Claude Cottier

      Too late, I already TM that name.

  • falco

    Just lol.

  • thecool111

    Now Ea/ Gameloft will make one with the movie Free Birds. They will put an energy bar and make power ups.

  • Fraz@TA

    iOS gaming is dead R.I.P

    • nini

      Yes, one game killed the entire ecosystem... hope you're happy, common person, you ruined it for a relatively small array of people!

  • CecilMcW00t

    This is a textbook example of the Streisand effect in action.

  • JohnnyJ301

    Leave the man alone, he's a genius, kinda like Lennon, Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Dong the creator of Flappy bird, leave him alone with all his genius !

  • Diaboliq

    Just shows how stupid people really are...

  • mindseyes

    I thought for sure he was just saying this to get the game even more popular. I mean how smart is that to have a popular game and the. Say your gonna delete it. Do you know how many people that would make download your app. Ten he could of just said it was a mistake or something else .

    • JohnnyJ301

      I'm not so sure. It was a "Dong" move imo. He could have just kept it at number one on the free app charts.

    • DannyTheElite

      While this does work (the Simpsons tapped out did this and returned to the store) I don't think that is why he did it.

  • dmn001

    when dong peaked he removed it, maybe it was just bad timing but maybe he could have removed it earlier if he didnt want as many people to play it, or he could have left it on to ride the wave. anyway it his decision and not many indie gamers make the top of the charts, so i respect him for that. definitely an ea or big name company would not pull a game like that.

  • benadvanced

    Removed from my iOS devices the moment he removed it from the App Store. If he doesn't want people playing it I won't. Gonna have to be satisfied with my 27 score.

  • TimTim92


  • AlpacaLips

    Well done, toucharcade. Way to put it in perspective.

  • Alexythimia23

    I understand how you love the phenomenon of flappy bird, but you need to calm down on the articles guys lol i know its fresh and you want to report on it, but surely all you loyal ta readers don't want to keep reading about this do you? We get it, small time dev creates a sensation bigger then beiber dropping the soap in a cell but how much more do you want to churn from this?? Oh well i better come back in a month when maybe its dies down lol 🙂

    • rewind

      If you don't like the news, just ignore it.

      And as Eli said earlier, these Flappy bird articles are generating more traffic than the other articles, so why shouldn't he cover this news?

    • nini

      It's a huge phenomenon, you might not like it but covering it is logical for a mobile gaming site (and I'm very sure Eli and the others at TA appreciate your pageviews and the increased ad impressions, hate all you want guys!)

    • 61050

      i totally agree. ill see you in a month when you return.

  • rich_952000

    It kind of sucks that this will be seen as the defining game/creepy craze of iOS as a platform.

    Go away Flappy...someone hand me a gun with some birdshot #16, I'll get rid of this annoying critter.

  • http://JimEJr.com/ Jim Washok

    Since pull threat, have not for a second believed intention was anything but more PR. Certainly working & once PR starts to die, bring it back, prob w/an update. Want to make an audience go away? Make the app suck...after a couple weeks of complaining, gamers would be on to something else.

    • RelientKSoCal

      I totally agree with you. I made a similar comment earlier but it seems to have not posted for some reason :-/

  • Zenfar

    There is no stopping the Bird!

  • KevinLlama

    It's Cartman Land all over again!

  • gmattergames

    Conspiracy Theory: Anybody else notice a few of the titles charted consistently increasing straight line trends right before their explosive take off? As if, day over day, total sales increased at a static and consistent rate. Flappy Birds and Temple Run both share this unnatural early sales pattern. Sales Bots? Ad Sponsor Meddling? Corruption within the AppStore itself?

    • gmattergames

      Duh, those are headlines not sales. Never mind, no conspiracy. I'll shut up now.

  • Hot Plate

    This was totally his strategy. He could have just pulled it from the App Store without saying anything. Instead he made an announcement that he would be pulling it in 24 hours. Kind of like the Stones marketing a farewell tour, I'm sure we haven't seen the last of Flappy Bird

  • Dueler

    Pretty much everyone of my friends had it installed and hadn't played it yet which was odd. But we all started competing once one person played it and said their high score after a few hours was only 7. I can do better everyone thought.