How OKFocus Went from Clowning Kanye West to Clowning iPhone Gaming

"OKFocus":http://okfoc.us/about/' game Where's the Pixel currently has "four stars":http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/wheres-the-pixel/id519896406?mt=8 in the iTunes app store. Its sole app store review complains that, "sometimes I will have to touch a...

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Aug 31 2012, 3:30pm
OKFocus’ game Where’s the Pixel currently has four stars in the iTunes app store. An app store review on the most recent version of the game sole app store review complains that, “sometimes I will have to touch a pixel 2, 3, 4 times or so to get it to register. With this kind of game, this can be a serious problem.” Though “this kind of game” is perhaps a bit too optimistic that there are other “games” like this out there — said game/activity/spoof simply consists of a blank iPhone screen and a pixel somewhere on it; your goal is to touch the pixel within a certain amount of time for a point. If you’re so inclined, you can purchase larger pixels for $.99 or $1.99, which it would seem that people have actually done, based on the app store’s top in-app purchases rankings for Where’s the Pixel. Suggested mottoes include: “Where’s the Pixel: It exists.”

Turns out that OKFocus, by day a trio of web/mobile developers that’ve done work for Google, MIA, and Smirnoff, are also responsible for the Kanye West whodat.biz hoax from earlier this year. If you’ll remember, Kanye West announced a Very Big Deal tech startup called Donda Media a while back that hasn’t actually done anything yet. So OKFocus took it upon itself to make whodat.biz under the Donda name. All whodat.biz really was was a very basic whois lookup site, the sort of thing that tells you who registered a website and when, of which there exist countless numbers of on the web already. The tech blogging community’s collective reaction was uhhhhhhhhh, while one Washington Post blogger seemed really impressed with whodat.biz, the “Facebook of Websites.”

Anyhow, you can read the cease and desist letters from West’s lawyers to OKFocus at whodat.biz now. I talked very briefly earlier this week with the OKFocus team about making really simple stuff look way cool and the business value of a good gag.

It looks like Where is the Pixel is rating four stars right now on iTunes. I think that’s out of five. What could push the game over the edge? What are users demanding? Have you considered making the pixels colored?

Judging from the reviews, the few users who are giving poor reviews are requesting that the app does more. We don’t really get that. Where’s the Pixel is so simple and honest that its name is a full sentence description of the game itself. We don’t foresee the app getting any more complicated although introducing new in-app purchases could happen.

Not answering the part about the colored pixels because its racist.

Do people actually give you money for bigger pixels?

Yes.

How does a game like this fit into the whole being a profitable business picture?

As a creative agency, OKFocus has always been about self-initiated projects as much as client work. Where’s the Pixel has allowed us to experiment with iOS and get the attention of lots of people in the agency world. Furthermore, a lot of client service work is a one time thing — you make something for a client, get paid and the project is over. On the other hand, Where’s The Pixel is an asset we’ve created, retain full ownership of and can iterate on at will.

How do you follow up on something like whodat, in which large numbers of people became amazed by a usual whois site because of a false association with a pop culture figure? How did that affect your business?

That created a lot of good press of for us and we were briefly the authorities on “internet hoaxes” or something. Surprisingly, we haven’t had any requests for WhoIs-based websites. It affected us personally because we’re super close with Yeezy now.

Reach this writer at michaelb@motherboard.tv.

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