Assuming these companies are still small & privately held, which of the 3 would you invest In?

  1. WhatsApp
  2. King (CandyCrush)
  3. UpWorthy

They all make tons of money, but to me, i’d choose WhatApp over UpWorthy and King any day.

Do I feel like communication tool is of higher valude than entertainment?

Not necessarily – i (still) love going to arcades.

But it’s something about how some companies like King and UpWorthy operate that bugs me.


There is NO value add to people’s lives with their thin pages that have aggregated content from video sites.


If you’re not aware, King (maker of CandyCrush) first of all  is a straight up RIP from a previous game (hello Zynga #2).

Here’s the letter from the original letter to King.

Dear King,

Congratulations! You win! I created my game CandySwipe in memory of my late mother who passed away at an early age of 62 of leukaemia. I released CandySwipe in 2010 five months after she passed and I made it because she always liked these sorts of games.

In fact, if you beat the full version of the Android game, you will still get the message saying ‘…the game was made in memory of my mother, Layla…’ I created this game for warm-hearted people like her and to help support my family, wife and two boys 10 and four.


Two years after I released CandySwipe, you released Candy Crush Saga on mobile; the app icon, candy pieces, and even the rewarding, ‘Sweet!’ are nearly identical. So much so, that I have hundreds of instances of actual confusion from users who think CandySwipe is Candy Crush Saga, or that CandySwipe is a Candy Crush Saga knock-off.

So when you attempted to register your trademark in 2012, I opposed it for ‘likelihood of confusion’ (which is within my legal right) given I filed for my registered trademark back in 2010 (two years before Candy Crush Saga existed).

Now, after quietly battling this trademark opposition for a year, I have learned that you now want to cancel my CandySwipe trademark so that I don’t have the right to use my own game’s name. You are able to do this because only within the last month you purchased the rights to a game named Candy Crusher (which is nothing like CandySwipe or even Candy Crush Saga).

Good for you, you win. I hope you’re happy taking the food out of my family’s mouth when CandySwipe clearly existed well before Candy Crush Saga.

I have spent over three years working on this game as an independent app developer. I learned how to code on my own after my mother passed and CandySwipe was my first and most successful game; it’s my livelihood, and you are now attempting to take that away from me.

You have taken away the possibility of CandySwipe blossoming into what it has the potential of becoming. I have been quiet, not to exploit the situation, hoping that both sides could agree on a peaceful resolution. However, your move to buy a trademark for the sole purpose of getting away with infringing on the CandySwipe trademark and goodwill just sickens me.

This also contradicts your recent quote by Riccardo in ‘An open letter on intellectual property’ posted on your website which states, ‘We believe in a thriving game development community, and believe that good game developers – both small and large – have every right to protect the hard work they do and the games they create.’

I myself was only trying to protect my hard work.

I wanted to take this moment to write you this letter so that you know who I am. Because I now know exactly what you are. Congratulations on your success!

Albert Ransom
President (Founder), Runsome Apps Inc.


Ok… no idea’s original and seriously, this is the web. People copy stuff ALL the time.  Seriously Albert, man up.

BUT… the story gets darker.

King is suing the pants out of any games that has the word “Candy” in it.

In a filing with the US trademark office dated February 6, 2013, Limited registered claim to the word ‘candy’ as it pertains to video games and, strangely, clothing. On January 15, 2014 the filing was approved for publication. And now, a mere five days later, reports are coming in from developers that they’re being asked to remove their app (or prove that their game doesn’t infringe upon the trademark).


Ah yes… what would life be without these interesting, life sucking leech assholes and their nice lawyers behind them…

Only thing “sweet… delicious … divine” about their company is the money they’re raking in from bored suckers who have nothing better to do with their time & money, and the lawyers who are patent trolling all over their competitors.

Not that I like Whatsapp (wait, they got bought for how much? OH f*ck yeah, i like them now)… it’s that shady companies like these make me wonder what kind of people are in power.

Sure, i’ve done my fair of nasty blackhat shit, but i woke up one day and became buddhist and told myself that I would never do anything I would be ashamed of when I’m in my death bed.


I’m about to embark upon something, I guess, that could be considered shady.

I thought about using online petitions as lead generation tools.

Ever see an online petition on or…?

Do you know how these online petition sites make money?

Other than sponsored ads, they make money selling the leads to the people who started the petition. (anywhere between 50 cents to $2 per signup).

The service is free, and with a name like the company even sounds like a not-for-profit. But it’s not. It was founded in 2007 and spent the better part of two years flailing around for a profitable business model until Rattray hit upon a clever approach. charges groups for the privilege of sponsoring petitions that are matched to users who have similar interests.

For example, when a person signs a petition about education and clicks “submit,” a box pops up and shows five sponsored petitions on education to also sign. If a user leaves a box checked that says “Keep me updated on this campaign and others,” the sponsor can then send e-mails directly to that person.

It’s not clear from the check box that your e-mail address is being sold to a not-for-profit. Rattray says an imminent site redesign will make the company’s business model more transparent. has 300 paying clients, including Sierra Club, Credo Wireless and Amnesty International, and its revenue so far this year is $15 million.

(Source : Forbes)

Suppose, I were to start a petition on banning gas chambers as methods of pet euthanasia in the south (i’m not shitting you.. that’s how some states control their pet population – through gas chambers), make it go crazy viral.. then use the signups (who check the box that says they want to hear from me) as my email list base to promote pet products, is that grey?

I don’t know. What do you guys think? Is this borderline or definitely shady?

What other shady online marketing & business stuff have you seen?


By Taewoo Kim

TaeWoo is an accomplished online marketer with 10+ years of experience in affiliate marketing, lead generation, SEM, PPC, and media buying. You can follow him on his blog at or on Twitter @TaeWooKim.

10 thoughts on “Welcome to the Dark Side, Luke”
  1. Unbelievable how many shady ways there are to create income online! It makes you sad to read about them, but very grateful you are not one of them doing business online in such a shady endeavor.
    -Thanks for the article!

  2. So they stole his idea and then tried to block him from having his game on the market and YOU tell HIM to man up and take it?

    You, sir, are wrong!

    1. NOthing on the web is TRULY original

      Facebook, first social network ever? No
      Google, first search engine ever? No
      Apple, first mp3 player/phone ever? No

      True innovation is taking something existing and improving.

  3. Ive seen the concept of candy swipe and candy crush in games before 2010. These games were freeware. Theres probably a huge industry churnings out apps which are copies of freeware on the web. Repackaging free games and selling them with better graphics. So the idea is definately not original. That said, its obvious candy crush is a 99% copy of candyswipe. Weird how you cant prevent blatant ripoffs like these as an app developer.

    1. People forget.. some of the biggest innovations are copies. Windows from Apple. Apple from Xerox. Linux from Unix. so on and on and on…

    2. People forget.. some of the biggest innovations are copies. Windows from Apple. Apple from Xerox. Linux from Unix. so on and on and on…

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