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Free rice?

September 4, 2008

Rare Bird Finds included a non-shopping site today.  Free Rice is a website where you can answer trivia questions and rice is donated for each correct answer.  Sounds simple, no?

I encountered this site last year on Shelfari.  It was being promoted as an easy way to help feed the hungry but I was immediately suspicious.  The site seems to be affiliated with the UN World Food Program and it appears legit.  Sponsors (aka advertisers) pay the site owner for each “click” and millions of grains of rice have been donated.

However … do the math and you’ll see that your little bit of game playing doesn’t generate much rice.

400 g of rice per person per day = 19200 grains of rice = 960 questions answered correctly

Their numbers are huge!  Could that many people really be answering questions every day?  How much do the sponsors pay and what percent is actually used to buy and distribute rice?  Lance Wiggs has already done the math for us.  As of November 2007, the site owner had spent about $30,000 on rice and had made approximately $320,000 profit.  Brilliant.

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