Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Install Rovr so your online shopping benefits good causes!

Want to give 4-10% back on your online purchases to the cause of your choice, at no extra cost to you? Check out Rovr, a plug-in for Firefox (the IE version is coming soon, apparently).

Rovr takes advantage of websites' affiliate programs by directing the kicked-back earnings towards a beneficiary of the shopper's choice (from amfAR Aids Research to freecycle to Hillel to Code Pink to Rainforest Action Network to AlterNet, and many more.)

When you shop at any of dozens of eligible websites-- including heavy hitters like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Overstock.com, Buy.com, CompUSA, etc-- this little guy shows up in the upper left corner of the site:

You can click on the icon to change your beneficiary organization, get info about your previous purchases, change your settings, etc. Once you make a purchase, Rovr will insert the affiliate code for your beneficiary of choice, and the retailer sends its percentage to said beneficiary.

Unfortunately, a lot of the participating websites are big corporate sites, although Rovr does include Alibris, an online network of local independent bookstores which is a good alternative to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc. Rovr is very new, though, so I'm confident that in time it'll expand to other cool independent options. And they feature a catchphrase that's "bad for business" but warms my heart:

Buy less. Buy local. But online, make every purchase count.

Exactly! I'm not urging anyone to shop Amazon.com for the sake of using Rovr. But if you've already made your mind up to buy something there, why not send a buck or two to a good case while you're at it?


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