Free Rice update

Which is to say, an update on free rice. From Lance Wiggs’ blog:

There have been 1.2 billion grains given out so far. That’s 120m correct answers – call it 130m pageviews.

At a CPM ($ per 1000 impressions) of, say, $20, that’s $2.6 million in income. At a CPM of 10 that’s $1.3m. They feel like a good range, but really I’m just guessing here. Does anyone know what sort of rates these guys would be paying? I’m confident that the revenue is at least $1m though – it could be much higher, but as you see, it will not be lower.

Rice is light: 1000 grains is about 26 grams, so 10 grains is about 0.26 grams.

Rice is cheap: 1 bagged metric tonne is $350, FOB (in the ship) at source.

So 1.2 billion rice grains is about 3,120 tonnes, or $1.09m FOB.

Therefore the site owners are making everything above a CPM of about $8.

Advertisers – if you are paying more than that, then you are enriching one John Breen, who is a very smart cookie who just happens to have also collected $1m for global poverty efforts.

I love this, and I love the moral dilemma aspect as well. Is it right to enrich John Breen when you are also enriching poor children?

I agree with him, both on the matter of the moral dilemma, and on the matter of its being worth the “entertainment premium” fairly clearly going to other people. Humans do not donate all that much: the “warm glow” is worth only so much of our money and/or time. Moreover, the human brain does not deal with large numbers well (large numbers such as the number of people living in poverty and food insecurity):

Psychologists have long observed that our ability to discriminate among quantities is finely tuned when dealing with small amounts but quickly degrades as the numbers get larger. Our ears work that way, too. When a very quiet sound becomes slightly louder, we detect the difference right away. But once a noise is really loud, it has to increase dramatically for it to seem “louder.” The same holds true for our judgments of weight and, of course, less tangible quantities like money. We’ll break the bank to save Baby Jessica, but when half of Africa is dying, we’re buying iPhones.

Which brings me back to Gates. The guy is practically a social cripple, and at times he has seemed to lack human empathy. But he’s also a geek, and geeks are incredibly good at thinking concretely about giant numbers. Their imagination can scale up and down the powers of 10 — mega, giga, tera, peta — because their jobs demand it.

So maybe that’s why he is able to truly understand mass disease in Africa. We look at the huge numbers and go numb. Gates looks at them and runs the moral algorithm: Preventable death = bad; preventable death x 1 million people = 1 million times as bad.

So perhaps we need stupid wristbands and clever internet games to get the time and money out of us. Whatever it takes.

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2 comments so far

  1. taylor starr on

    Interesting news on rice esp. the last statement “So perhaps we need stupid wristbands and clever internet games to get the time and money out of us.”

  2. fixregistrytool on

    Enjoyed reading.


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