Maybe Studying Those SAT Words Wasn't Pointless After All

Are you bored online, feeling charitable, AND looking to improve your vocabulary all at once? I didn’t think I was either, until a friend of mine sent me a link to freerice.com.

Freerice.com is the creation of John Breen, a self-employed computer programmer. He’s also the creator of thehungersite.com and poverty.com. Freerice.com is a highly addictive time-killer, makes you feel good about what you’re doing (you can always do more), and in the end improves your vocabulary. If you know the definition of a word, then you’ve just donated 20 grains of rice, because of advertising support on the site!

With nearly 300,000-500,000 people playing daily, this is also an enormous viral marketing success. When it began in early October of 2007, 830 grains of rice were donated (at that time it was 10 grains per word). About a month later… over 100 million grains of rice were donated! This shows how effective the internet can be for spreading news about global causes, or basically anything else. There are plenty of websites and organizations that use the internet to spread awareness for a variety of causes, but it’s difficult to keep the WOM spreading. Freerice is effective because it’s a great cause AND it’s fun at the same time. Not only are people more likely to visit the website on their own time, it’s also just like any other fun, interesting thing you would share with a friend. The website is also an example of how anybody, not just marketing experts, can have viral marketing success.

"It's the best word of mouth possible because it doesn't just stop at country borders, it's really international," said Natalie Vaupel, private donations officer for WFP (World Food Programme). "There's so much more available out there now that it's easier for people around the world to spread the word, and not just spread the word in their own neighbourhood or community, but they can expose it to the world."

It’s absurdly simple, so go ahead and check it out…and instead of being caught by your boss at addictinggames.com, now you can say you were doing something charitable.