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$100K? Used Flappy Bird phones not really flying so high on eBay

One auction with a high bid of $100,000 for an iPhone with Flappy Bird installed has been pulled from eBay, but phones with the recently disappeared game do appear to be fetching real bids.

Eric Mack Contributing Editor
Contributing editor Eric Mack covers space, science, climate change and all things futuristic. His encrypted email for tips is ericcmack@protonmail.com.
Eric Mack
2 min read
This auction appears to have fallen victim to serious shill bidding. Screenshot by Eric Mack/CNET

The Flappy Bird flap may have peaked over the weekend when the developer of the super-addictive smartphone game yanked the top free app from both Google Play and Apple's App Store. But it seems some people may be willing to pay to keep that silly little bird soaring -- although not nearly as much as you may have read elsewhere.

Just hours after it disappeared from the major online stores, used phones with Flappy Bird installed on them hit eBay, and you may have read that some of them appear to be fetching serious cash, as high as $100,000 in one auction.

I took a look at this particular unbelievable auction when it was still live and noticed that the price seemed to be driven up by numerous bids from bots or shill bidders. The majority of the bids appeared to come from just a handful of usernames, with users appearing to be outbidding themselves just to drive the price up.

The auction and the user account that created it have since disappeared from eBay. I've reached out to the auction site for comment and will update this post when I hear back.

For an example of what I'm talking about, there's another eBay auction for a Flappy Bird iPhone here, where the same pattern of shill bidding seems to be happening (for the moment).

While people might not really be so addicted to Flappy Bird that they're willing to plunk down six figures just to keep soaring through those Mario Bros. pipes, there do appear to be real bids on Flappy-enabled smartphones that reach at least into the very low four-figures.

Oh, and by the way, it is still possible to download Flappy Bird from other sources. If you've downloaded the game for iOS, it may still be possible to download it again from the "Purchased" section of your App Store account. When that option goes away, it's also possible to download the game file from other sources and install it on a jailbroken device (at your own risk, of course).

The process is a little easier for Android users, who should be able to find the APK file for the game and side-load it by simply changing their settings to allow their device to install apps from outside the Google Play store.

Notice I'm not providing any specific sources for downloading the game file. That's because malware lurks around all corners of the Internet, so proceed carefully. For the more paranoid, it might be worth forking over several hundred for a used phone with Flappy Bird still installed.