Americans' renewed sense of hope and desire for change appear to have extended all the way to online solitaire. Thousands of casual gamers logged on to IWON.com last month to play games on behalf of their favorite charity or community organization. At stake, more than $25,000 in January cash prizes as part of an IWON Team Challenge that by month's end will have awarded over $160,000 in charitable donations in total.
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., Jan. 23 — Despite their immense popularity, online games have long been looked upon primarily as fun time-wasters, a means of escape. In other words, they haven't gotten much respect. Now, with the expansion of its successful "gaming for charity" program, IWON.com is making a case for why playing games on your free time is not only fun and relaxing, it can benefit society as well.
That's welcomed news for charitable organizations severely impacted by the current economy. IWON.com has expanded its popular Team Challenge to allow for more charities to receive cash awards each month. The program, in which thousands of casual gamers log on to IWON.com daily to play their favorite games and earn "coins" for a charity or community organization's team, now donates money to the six charities with the most coins every month.
By the end of this month's competition, IWON.com will have awarded over $135,000 to winning charities and organizations on behalf of those playing for their favorite causes. The company introduced the program last fall just as the economy showed increased signs of significant weakness.
"The December holidays proved to be an especially tough time for charities. The financial crisis continues to have a significant impact on donations so vital to the good works done by charitable organizations," explains Timothy Allen, vice president of IAC Consumer Applications and Portals and General Manager of IWON.com. "We have been more than happy to continue our monthly awards to assist additional worthy organizations. Our Team Challenge is a new, creative and fun way for charities to raise awareness and much needed funds in 2009, and we welcome and encourage their supporters to game for the greater good."
Topping December's national charity Team Challenge, The St. Jude Children's Research Hospital was championed by a loyal IWON team of online game players. One of the world's premier medical centers, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is dedicated to finding cures for children with catastrophic diseases through research and treatment.
On the member-created team charity side, the Wounded Warriors Project (WWP) logged an unprecedented third win in a row and to date have won over $30,000 for their cause. The WWP is a non-profit organization that honors and empowers wounded veterans by raising awareness and enlisting the public's aid for the needs of severely injured service men and women. The WWP also helps severely injured service members aid and assist each other and provides unique, direct programs and services to meet their needs.
Taking December's second and third place prize awards in the national team category were Best Friends Animal Society, the country's largest sanctuary for abused and abandoned animals and the Susan G. Komen For The Cure Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc. Among IWON's member-created groups, the team in support of The Salvation Army took second place and a $2,000 prize while third place and $1,000 were awarded to "Common Cents" -- a team supporting Elizabeth's Table, a non profit food service organization that provides food and clothing for those in need. The Common Cents team previously won in November for Petfinders, the largest nonprofit lost and found service in the United States and Canada.
How To Play Games for Charity
Participating in the IWON Team Challenge requires only that you complete a free registration form on IWON.com, then choose the team you wish to join from a list of national or community designated charities. You may also create a new team for a charity not represented in the competition within the community's Member-Created Teams category.
Coins earned by participants while playing IWON.com's free games count toward their team's monthly total. The teams with the highest coin tallies at month's end are then named the winners. The more people who join your team and the more games you play, the more coins your team receives.
What's more, your coins can also be redeemed for member-only sweepstakes entries. So while you may be playing on behalf of a charity team, you're also eligible to win your own prizes. After all, the economy is impacting more than just charities.
About IAC Consumer Applications & Portals, Inc. ("IAC CAP")
IAC CAP, a wholly owned business of IAC (Nasdaq: IACI), is a leading developer of consumer applications and portals which enable users to creatively and visually express themselves online. IAC CAP brands include Zwinky(R), ZwinkyCuties(TM) Girlsense(R), Smiley Central(R), Webfetti(TM), IWON(R), Vimeo, Life123(TM), Popular Screensavers(TM), MyFunCards(TM), Cursor Mania(TM), as well as the Excite(R) portal.
SOURCE IAC Consumer Applications & Portals, Inc.