Despite numerous headlines flying around this week about smartphones with the now-grounded Flappy Bird app installed selling for as much as $100,000 on eBay, it's unlikely any of those sales have actually gone through.
I've been in touch with multiple eBay sellers who have had their auctions pulled from the online marketplace for violating eBay's listing policies. Basically, selling copyrightable material (like an app) without permission from the creator (Dong Nguyen in this case) is a no-go.
You can find the relevant eBay policy here, and below is part of an e-mail from eBay to one of the sellers in question, which I obtained:
Smartphones and tablets must be restored to factory settings before they are allowed to be sold on eBay. Please remove all content from your device, including the game Flappy Bird, before you attempt to list your item again. Please be sure your current and future listings follow these guidelines, keeping in mind that additional violations of this policy could result in the suspension of your account.
So there it is. That seems to eliminate any possibility that folks are making six figures off their old phones with a really simplistic but addictive game installed. At least not on eBay. There does seem to be several Flappy Bird phones for sale by Amazon sellers, though -- at least for now.
By the way, Android users should have no trouble finding places online to download the Flappy Bird APK file and side-load it on their device. I wonder if anyone would be willing to pay $100,000 on eBay for me to make a house call to perform that service? Let me know in the comments and we'll talk.