You don't have to be a Twillionaire to donate to a charity in the Twittersphere.
The latest version of Twollars, or "the currency of appreciation," launched Friday with a basic concept _ using virtual currency to generate "real" donations for charities.
Here's how it works:
Every Twitter user starts with 50 free Twollars, which can be tweeted as virtual donations to charities or as gestures of appreciation to individuals (10 Twollars to @username for your help!). Businesses and individuals can buy additional Twollars from charities at the rate of 10 Twollars for $1 U.S.
The monetary donation goes directly into the charity's PayPal account, with no transaction fees deducted. To prevent individuals from profiting, Twollars can be purchased from charity organizations only.
Co-founder Eiso Kant, an 18-year-old advertising consultant and Internet entrepreneur from Spain, has run online businesses since he was 14.
Kant said Twollars (twollars.com) aims to capture the "positive energy" among Twitter users, who share tips and links through tweets, and channel it toward raising awareness for a cause.
Kant and telcom analyst Mac Taylor, 53, launched Twollars in January as a marketing experiment, and it's grown quickly since. There are now 24 charity groups registered to receive Twollars, and French, Spanish and German versions of Twollars are planned.
Which raises the question: Does the global economy qualify as a charitable organization?
(c) 2009, Chicago Tribune.
Visit the Chicago Tribune on the Internet at www.chicagotribune.com/
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.
Explore further: Charities changed by technology