I Am Rich
|Initial release||August 5, 2008|
|Operating system||iPhone OS|
I Am Rich is a 2008 mobile app for iPhones which had minimal function and was priced at US$999.99 (equivalent to $1,359 in 2022). The app was pulled from the App Store less than 24 hours after its launch. Receiving poor reviews from critics, only eight copies were sold. In the years since, several similar applications have been released at lower prices.
I Am Rich was developed as a joke by German software developer, Armin Heinrich, after he saw iPhone users complaining about software priced above $.99. The app only showed a glowing red gem and an icon that, when pressed, displayed the following mantra in large text:
I am rich
I deserv [sic] it
I am good,
healthy & successful
Heinrich told The New York Times that "I regard it as art. I did not expect many people to buy it and did not expect all the fuss about it."
The application is described as "a work of art with no hidden function at all", with its only purpose being to show other people that they were able to afford it. Vox writer Zachary Crockett called it "the ultimate Veblen good in app form".
Heinrich released and distributed I Am Rich through the App Store on August 5, 2008. The app was sold for US$999.99 (equivalent to $1,359 in 2022), €799.99 (equivalent to €944 in 2021), and £599.99 (equivalent to £851.78 in 2021)—the highest prices Apple allowed for App Store content. The application was removed from the App Store without explanation by Apple less than a day after its release.
I saw this app with a few friends and we jokingly clicked 'buy' thinking it was a joke, to see what would happen. ... THIS IS NO JOKE...DO NOT BUY THIS APP AND APPLE PLEASE REMOVE THIS FROM THE APP STORE
This is not a joke! I need someone from apple to help me with this scam. I saw this app with a few friends and we jokingly clicked ‘buy’ thinking it was a JOKE, to see what would happen….I called my visa card and they verified I was charged $999.99. THIS IS NO JOKE. DO NOT BUY THIS APP. BEWARE...
Customer complaints for I Am Rich
Eight people bought the application, at least one of whom claimed to have done so accidentally. Six US sales and two European sales netted $5,600 for Heinrich and $2,400 for Apple (respectively equivalent to $7,611 and $3,262 in 2022). In correspondence with the Los Angeles Times, Heinrich told the newspaper that Apple had refunded two purchasers of his app, and that he was happy to not have dissatisfied customers.
Discussing the app on the website Silicon Alley Insider, Dan Frommer described the program as a "scam", "worthless", and finally "a joke that smells like a scammy rip-off" on August 5, 6, and 8, respectively. Without purchasing the app, Fox News' Paul Wagenseil guessed that the secret mantra was "German for 'Sucker!'" (Heinrich is German). Wired's Brian X. Chen described I Am Rich as a waste of money to "prove you're a jerk", and contrasted the expenditure with donating to cancer foundations and Third World countries.
Heinrich told the Los Angeles Times' Mark Milian that he had received correspondence from satisfied customers, "I've got e-mails from customers telling me that they really love the app [... and that they had] no trouble spending the money". In an interview with The New York Times, though, he told of receiving many insulting emails and telephone messages.
The next year, Heinrich released I Am Rich LE. Priced at US$9.99 (equivalent to $13.63 in 2022), the new app has several new features (including a calculator, "help system", and the "famous mantra without the spelling mistakes") to meet Apple's requirement that apps have "definable content". Some customers were disappointed by the new functionality, poorly rating the app due to its ostensible improvements.
On February 23, 2009, CNET Asia reported on the "conceptually similar" app, I Am Richer, developed by Mike DG for Google's Android. The app was released on the Android Market for US$200 (equivalent to $272.81 in 2022), a limit imposed by Google, who had no objection to the application.
With the same name, the I Am Rich that was released on the Windows Phone Marketplace on December 22, 2010 was developed by DotNetNuzzi. Described by MobileCrunch as equally useless as the original, this app cost US$499.99 (equivalent to $670.98 in 2022), the price cap imposed by Microsoft.
- Send Me To Heaven – Android application known for encouraging risky behavior
- ^ a b c Taub, Eric A. (August 10, 2008). "Many Fail to See the Humor in 'I Am Rich' for the iPhone". The New York Times. Vol. 157, no. 54399. p. 3. ISSN 0362-4331. OCLC 1645522. Archived from the original on November 26, 2022. Retrieved April 14, 2023.
- ^ a b "Geheimnis von teuerster iPhone-Software" [Secret of the most expensive iPhone software]. PC Welt (in German). 2014. Archived from the original on June 25, 2015. Retrieved December 19, 2022.
- ^ a b c Wagenseil, Paul (August 6, 2008). "'I Am Rich' iPhone Application Retails for $1,000". Fox News. Archived from the original on December 20, 2016. Retrieved December 19, 2022.
- ^ a b c d e f Crockett, Zachary (July 23, 2015). "How to Charge $1,000 for Absolutely Nothing". Priceonomics. Archived from the original on August 7, 2016. Retrieved December 19, 2022.
- ^ a b c d e Milian, Mark (August 7, 2008). "Apple removes $1,000 featureless iPhone application". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 2165-1736. OCLC 3638237. Archived from the original on November 9, 2008. Retrieved December 23, 2022.
- ^ a b c Frommer, Dan (August 8, 2008). "'I Am Rich' Dude: I Made $6000 From My Dumb iPhone App (AAPL)". Silicon Alley Insider. Archived from the original on October 31, 2022. Retrieved December 23, 2022.
- ^ Frommer, Dan (August 5, 2008). "Apple's iPhone-App-Approval Mouse Falls Off Treadmill: Buy The $1000 App That Does Nothing (AAPL)". Silicon Alley Insider. Archived from the original on January 21, 2012. Retrieved December 23, 2022.
- ^ Frommer, Dan (August 6, 2008). "Worthless, $1000 "I Am Rich" iPhone App Disappears (AAPL)". Silicon Alley Insider. Archived from the original on November 28, 2022. Retrieved December 23, 2022.
- ^ Chen, Brian X. (August 5, 2008). "Pay $1,000 For an iPhone App; Prove You're a Jerk". Wired. ISSN 1059-1028. OCLC 24479723. Archived from the original on July 3, 2022. Retrieved December 23, 2022.
- ^ Shankland, Stephen (February 26, 2009). "Wealth-flaunting app arrives on Android phones". Crave. CNET Asia. Archived from the original on May 25, 2011. Retrieved July 11, 2010.
- ^ Kumparak, Greg (December 22, 2010). "'I Am Rich' App Shows Up For Windows Phone 7 At The Bargain Bin Price Of Just $499". TechCrunch. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved December 3, 2018.