Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Really, its for a good cause. Sucker!

Free Rice purports to be a vocabulary test masking as a fundraiser for the UN. Sad thing is, its actually a vocabulary test masking as an ad server, while the rice you donate does seem to go to the UN World Food Program. The real money is in the ad clicks - companies support the site, you click on their ads, they pay the website for the click. That fee is no doubt more than the cost of the 420 grains of rice you'll earn before you realize you've wasted another 10 minutes of your day.

Beware - embedded giving is not always what it seems. Particularly in the case of iGive - a site that lets you designate "your favorite cause" as the recipient of funds donated by merchants when you make purchases. Most of the causes run along the line of "my trip to Hawaii," or "Mama needs a new pair of shoes." The site explicitly states "Any cause in the U.S. or Canada qualifies - and 501(c)3 nonprofit status is not required." So go ahead, shop on. Just don't consider it charity. And don't try to write it off.

1 comment:

Katie said...

The Free Rice website’s own FAQ clearly states “The rice is paid for by the advertisers whose names you see on the bottom of your vocabulary screen.” All commercial websites make money from ads these days…so what? The rice aspect may just be a gimmick to get people to visit their page and generate ad revenue but I'd say we at least give them the benefit of the doubt that maybe it was set up with at least *some* altruistic intent. And even if it wasn't, money is still going to the UN food program, and people's awareness of world hunger is raised just a little bit. People will waste their time on the internet no matter what--better on this than on some other distraction which also generates ad revenue.