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New Android app turns ad revenue into famine relief

An innovative new type of mobile advertising is being used to funnel money to support hunger relief efforts. Dubbed GetCharitable, the new Android app replaces the background image on a phone with a periodically updated ad, revenue from which is then directed to an international anti-famine group -- offering users a way to help combat famine for free.

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The brainchild of former Auburn University students Michael Isaacs and Kyle DeTullio, GetCharitable only has a few hundred users so far. However, Isaacs tells Network World that the two are ready to help build the user base.

"Our next step is to get to the higher level of targeting. Right now, we have our users sign in with Facebook accounts. And that gives us the data to see who we're reaching. But we will eventually be able to reach different segments and groups," he says.

Isaacs says that the Facebook linkage is strictly for in-house purposes, and that GetCharitable won't be passing on user data for outside analytics. "We're not interested in that. We want to give good content," he states, noting that popular music service Spotify did much the same thing at first.

GetCharitable's back end works on Windows Azure, which Isaacs describes as "really impressive," adding that startup has a positive relationship with Microsoft.

"We've got to a level where we're comfortable enough that this thing is good, and it's gonna work. ... The good news for us is it's extremely scalable," he says.

Isaacs also has high praise for GetCharitable's partner, Hunger Relief International.

"We just really love how they have a sustainable model ... when they go into an area, they don't just go in and drop off food. They teach [people] how to build their community ... their dream, someday, is to be able to leave an area sustainable," Isaacs says.

Further partnerships with more nonprofits are being discussed, he says, though none will be immediately forthcoming.

The app can be downloaded from the Google Play store here. Further information is available at http://getcharitable.com.

Email Jon Gold at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold.

Read more about anti-malware in Network World's Anti-malware section.

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