I am fascinated by different models for businesses generating income online and charities fundraising online. So I was pleased to discover what looks like a new addition to the business models that attempt to use social media and networking tools.
Pownum.com (“There’s power in numbers”) is a site that lets people rate an organisation. “Whether its sheer frustration or absolute delight, wouldn’t it be good to let such organisations know how you feel?” it offers. And yes, by ‘organisation’ it does mean that it will allow people to rate charities too.
But Pownum.com is also planning to raise funds for charities. And here is its model:
1. People sign up and start rating organisations.
2. Organisations will see value in these ratings.
3. Organisations that care will subscribe to the Right Of Reply, which costs £5,000 a year.
4. We will donate half of this – £2,500 – to charity.
It’s not a completely new model of course. It mixes elements of affiliate marketing to drive traffic volumes which are important for a start-up, with a dash of corporate social responsibility. It is in charities’ interests for them to drive visitors to the site: the more registered users and the more ratings made, the more likely companies are to pay attention to the site and want to pay for the right of reply.
There’s also an element of a supplier directory advertising: if your company isn’t listed, maybe its competitors will be. But it’s more than that: all kinds of organisations will probably get featured on the site, either positively or negatively. It’s the right of reply that matters, and whether the organisation thinks it is worth paying to exercise it.
It’s an interesting approach to social media and corporate reputation management. Can one site attract enough traffic over anything but a short period? Or will companies focus their reputation management activities over a wider array of sites, including the many where they don’t need to pay?
If the site is successful, then charities will share in that success.
How will the money be distributed? Site users will help to create a shortlist of five charities and then they can vote for the charity you feel should receive the donation. The donations to charity will be made at the end of each month and will be split proportionally to the percentage of votes cast. Even better – the more active users are in rating organisations, the more weight their vote has in the charity vote. So, as with much social media, charities might well find themselves helped by influencers and activists.
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