Wordle is reportedly now filled with secret ad trackers

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Following its recent acquisition of Wordle, The New York Times has apparently added ad trackers to the hit web-based word game.

The news outlet acquired Wordle for a 'low' seven figure sum and the game has now joined The New York Times Crossword and the rest of its online games. However, unlike Vertex, Spelling Bee, Tiles and its Crossword, Wordle can still be played for free without a subscription.

When Jason Worlde first launched his online word game back in October of last year, it was completely free and ran on its own website. After being purchased though, The New York Times changed its web address. The news outlet has also since added ad trackers according to software engineer and architect Ben Adida who examined how the game is being deployed by its new owner and shared his findings on Twitter.

Third-party ad trackers

The addition of ad trackers to Wordle that send user data to third party companies including Google and Oracle isn't that surprising.

These days almost all major websites (even this one) use ad trackers for personalization and to serve targeted ads to users but part of the initial appeal of Wordle is that it was completely non-profit without any paid extras.

The ad trackers added to Wordle may be part of The New York Times' plan to recoup some of the money it spent acquiring the game in the first place. However, it could eventually end up being part of the news outlet's online game collection and locked behind a subscription. 

Still though, there is no warning that ad trackers are present on the new Wordle site but companies rarely warn users that they're being tracked online. The New York Times' main site also contains plenty of ad trackers, so their addition could just be the result of Wordle now being hosted on the company's domain.

In a statement to TechRadar Pro a spokesperson for The New York Times pointed out that this is indeed the case, saying:

"Wordle, which is now hosted on The Times's domain, has the same privacy rules as other Times properties, including our other games. While The Times tracks less than what is standard for the industry, we are constantly looking to improve privacy across our digital properties. We're also working on an array of solutions to better industry practices."

Via Metro

Anthony Spadafora

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.