A bit of history: Flappy Bird was an annoyingly difficult and incredibly addictive game for iOS and Android. I played it once on a friend’s phone, and after ten frustrating minutes I handed the phone back and swore not to download it lest I spend my days and nights trying to beat it, and yet here I am Googling how I can download the game on my Droid.
The developer of the game was Dong Nguyen, a developer out of Vietnam. After a year or so of sitting on the app store largely unnoticed, the game blew up almost overnight. Rumor was that Nguyen was pulling in about $50,000 in revenues a day from the game.
He abruptly pulled it from both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Supposedly he had felt guilty about creating an addicting game, or perhaps it was the hate mail over how difficult the game was. Nobody knows 100% for sure.
We know very little about why Nguyen pulled the app from the store. Is this really the story of someone that made millions and truly, altruistically, turned down the opportunity to make more? Or was there something else? And is this story over? Is Nguyen planning on bringing back Flappy Bird?
Enter Crowdtilt. Crowdtilt CEO James Bashara reached out to TechCrunch reporter Kim-Mai Cutler and asked if she wanted to experiment with crowdfunding for journalism using Crowdtilt. She agreed.
Beshara said he was inspired by a recent quote from Crowdtilt investor Marc Andreessen about crowdfunding and the future of journalism…
(6) Crowdfunding. GIGANTIC opportunity esp for investigative journalism. Match people with interest in topic to reporting. Click = vote = $.
— Marc Andreessen (@pmarca) February 6, 2014
Cutler ended up launching a Crowdtilt campaign to fund a trip to Vietnam, where she formerly resided. The campaign has now tilted. The trip – and the hunt for Dong Nguyen – is on.
This could be an extremely high-profile test case for general interest journalism crowdfunding, and it was smart of Beshara to insert his company into that discussion. This will be one to watch over the next couple of months.
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