June 15th, 2009
New York venture capitalist Fred Wilson is one of the most prolific and renown bloggers on the web. And if you go his blog, avc.com, you’ll notice that (like most blogs) he runs advertising to generate revenues. But what many of you may not know is that all the proceeds Fred generates through his blog goes to charity. What a concept!! You blog for a few minutes each day, and presto! You’re supporting your favorite charity! Now, imagine if millions of people did this… imagine the impact we could have on the world.
Starting today, if you’re a blogger who uses WordPress, (both hosted .com as well as .org) you can do precisely that. Through a newly-launched partnership, WordPress and SocialVibe (disclosure: I am on the board) are introducing a widget that will enable millions of bloggers that use WordPress to support their charities of choice.
With the SocialVibe widget, bloggers can donate real money to their charities without the need to dip into their own pockets. Instead, the money is generated from brand advertisers that the bloggers self-select as the sponsor (e.g. Showtime, Sprint, Colgate, Kraft Foods, etc.). To be more specific, once bloggers install the SocialVibe sidebar widget on their WordPress blog, money will be earned for charities every time readers engage with the widget (e.g. rating a Showtime video clip). Bloggers can switch their cause and sponsor as often as they like, and receive regular updates from their charity about goal progress and impact.
Thus far, SocialVibe has enabled people to raise close to half a million dollars for charities in just over a year’s time. Everyday, members are sharing their brand sponsors with millions of friends on social platforms such as MySpace, Facebook, and now WordPress to benefit one of more than 30 non-profit organizations, such as World Food Program, Children’s Miracle Network and charity: water.
What makes this partnership especially interesting is that WordPress has, up to this point, restricted any advertising on hosted accounts (with the exception of VIP accounts). In the past they have expressed concern over advertising’s impact on spam and motivation for expression. While these concerns no doubt still exist, there are a few facets of the SocialVibe platform that may make the advertising program more palatable:
• The blogger can choose to engage with a brand partner or not.
• The benefit to the blogger comes not in $ dollars (or a check), but rather in the form of a donation to a charity.
• The ad unit, with charity graphics and links to relevant information, adds to the content of the site, rather than detracting from the experience as most advertising programs do.
So it is possible that the SocialVibe widget will motivate bloggers to create even better content and engage a larger audience, knowing that they now have a way to pool their individual influences to create positive change in the world. And it’s important to realize that the WordPress-SocialVibe partnership is designed to align such altruistic desires with the many corporations and brands that increasingly value social responsibility. For the brands involved, this platform provides a golden opportunity to get unique endorsements in a highly engaging manner within social media. It’s a win for all parties involved.
For more information about the SocialVibe-WordPress widget, check out the WordPress blog post.