I Am Rich
|Initial release||August 5, 2008|
1.0 / August 5, 2008
|Operating system||iPhone OS|
I Am Rich is an iOS application developed by Armin Heinrich and which was distributed using the App Store. When launched, the screen only contains a glowing red gem and an icon that, when pressed, displays the following mantra in large text:
I am rich
I deserv [sic] it
I am good,
healthy & successful
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; I Am Rich was sold on the App Store for US$999.99 (equivalent to $1,187 in 2019), €799.99, and GB£599.99 (equivalent to £806.54 in 2019), the highest price Apple allowed for App Store content. The application was removed from the App Store without explanation by Apple Inc. the day after its release, August 6, 2008 .
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 at $999.99 and two European ones for €799.99 netted $5,600 for developer Armin Heinrich and $2,400 for Apple. 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 not to have dissatisfied customers.
Discussing the app on the Silicon Alley Insider website, 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, FOXNews.com's Paul Wagenseil guessed that the secret mantra was "German for 'Sucker!'" (as 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".
The next year, Heinrich released I Am Rich LE. Priced at US$9.99 (equivalent to $11.91 in 2019), 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 smartphone operating system. The app was released on the Android Market for the cost of US$200 (equivalent to $238.34 in 2019), 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 $586.21 in 2019), the price cap imposed by Microsoft.
- "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 August 15, 2016.
- Wagenseil, Paul (August 6, 2008). "'I Am Rich' iPhone Application Retails for $1,000". FOX News. Retrieved June 14, 2010.
- Milian, Mark (August 7, 2008). "Apple removes $1,000 featureless iPhone application". Los Angeles Times. Tribune Company. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved July 11, 2010.
- Crockett, Zachary (July 23, 2015). "How to Charge $1,000 for Absolutely Nothing". Priceonomics. San Francisco. Archived from the original on August 7, 2016. Retrieved March 16, 2017.
But having the ruby on your screen meant that you were rich — clearly, you had to be, to afford to pay $1,000 for something so utterly useless. Heinrich's intention was to create the ultimate Veblen good in app form: something desirable merely due to its price and exclusivity.
- Frommer, Dan (August 8, 2008). "'I Am Rich' Dude: I Made $6000 From My Dumb iPhone App (AAPL)". Silicon Alley Insider. Business Insider. Retrieved June 14, 2010.
- 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. Business Insider. Retrieved June 14, 2010.
- Frommer, Dan (August 6, 2008). "Worthless, $1000 "I Am Rich" iPhone App Disappears (AAPL)". Silicon Alley Insider. Business Insider. Retrieved June 14, 2010.
- Chen, Brian X. (August 5, 2008). "Pay $1,000 For an iPhone App; Prove You're a Jerk". Wired. Condé Nast Publications. ISSN 1059-1028. Retrieved July 11, 2010.
- 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". MobileCrunch. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved December 3, 2018.