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Social firms launch ‘Points for Pakistan’ charitable effort

Social media monetization firm Peanut Labs has launched a charitable social gaming initiative, “Points for Pakistan,” with other social and new media companies.

The effort, launched September 1, includes data collection, a Facebook page and e-mail elements.

Peanut Labs partnered with 10 companies, including Blue Frog Gaming, photo sharing firm Rock You and IMVU, to raise money for victims of the recent Pakistani flooding and to collect research about “how the users of social games, social networks and virtual worlds learn about disasters and how to give,” said Ali Moiz, CEO of Peanut Labs. 

Peanut Labs sent out an e-mail blast within the social media industry, including to direct competitors, encouraging recipients to give through the company’s Facebook page. The company timed the e-mail effort for the program’s launch.

Participating social gaming websites are running banner ads inviting them to take a survey about the recent Pakistan flooding to earn credits or points. The floods are believed to have affected more than 14 million people and killed more than 1,600.

The survey asks consumers how much they know about the disaster, through what channel they learned about it, whether they have already donated and why. The survey also asks participants about their age, gender and time spent on the sites.

Peanut Labs will publish survey data at the initiative’s close as part of a case study on how companies can use social media to spread news and solicit funds, said Moiz.

Gaming sites have donated virtual goods inventory in exchange for survey completions. Additionally, some of the sites have pledged matching donations or a fixed amount of money.

“First and foremost, this is about humanity,” said Cary Rosenzweig, CEO of IMVU, an online community.

Rosenzweig said social media companies can engage large numbers of people, and also pointed to the community aspect of social gaming.

“All of the virtual goods people buy are made by users of the site. About 20% of goods purchased are as gifts for other people,” he said. “People are building respect [for the community] through gift giving. [These] people are likely to participate in donating.”

Rosenzweig noted that the average age of gamers on IMVU is 22 and 70% are female. He added that users can donate to the American Red Cross, Oxfam America and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

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