The 99-Cent Social-Change Game

The 99-Cent Social-Change Game

Armchair Revolutionary seeks to build global support for science and technology projects through 99-cent donations. Can it work?

Daniel Edmundson
  • 14 april 2010

When Ariel Hauter and her team launched Armchair Revolutionary, they took into account the many payment platforms, gaming apps and crowdsourcing movements ruling the marketplace–and decided to use a bit of them all.

ArmRev is a web-based game that sources donations and ideas for science and technology projects, with a 99-cent contribution limit. Financiers, game designers and idealists can compete against each other, earning points, rewards and accessing new levels of the game as support grows for their projects. Budgeting and timelines are then crowdsourced to supporters, to help determine a reliable scale for progress.

Hauter, who brings to ArmRev a background in both social activism and gaming, believes that the trends in micro-donation and real-time apps like foursquare, can ignite quick growth and new engagement for the project.

“The web is finally reaching a level of donation and payment scalability that micro-transactions can really add up. We’ve all witnessed the crowdsourcing fundraising successes of and the recent Haiti effort. Armchair Revolutionary takes this model to extremes, by limiting gifts to 99¢ per project (or project phase) for each user, thus reducing the risk-per-donor to a near-zero level per project. At this level, we’ve also eliminated any financial barriers to participants, tapping into a whole new marketplace for funding.

With the popularity of iTunes, the public is now very comfortable with 99¢ transactions and that acceptance and conversion rate is a key component.”

Armchair Revolutionary

Harvard Business Review: Can 99-Cent Donations Create Social Change?

photo via kevineddy


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