My professor this week mentioned a new weird firefox app that uses your surfing to play an MMO-like game. It is called PMOG and you can find it at bud.com (who knows how they got that site name from budweiser or why not pmog.com but who cares). It is an interesting little app, you run around and do quests (which consists of surfing some websites someone put together) and you get experience. After so much xp, you get a level. However, it also keeps track of what kinds of sites you surf and then gives you a profile based on that (and you can choose traits for yourself too). So right now my number 1 category surfed is “web” and number 2 is “games.”
You can also look at lists of who surfed the most in a particular category, you can talk to others online, make friends, it even shows you how many countries you have visitied. Very cool little idea. It is only in alpha and I’ve already seen a couple of new features to make it more friendly. I would like to see more things to do with it though, and also am concerned that it is just a clever way to get data to sell or that the quests will become full of spam and sporm (porn spam). But for now with only 100 people on at most, it is nice.
This tool led me to learn something out which is the whole point. It is something called microinvestments. The idea is to give small loans to people who have no assets and are otherwise unable to get loans because they are so poor that they are unbankable. These people then use the money to create themselves an income (usually by starting a business) and then pay the money back in a shorter period of time. The money is usually used in underdeveloped countries because even though you are loaning less, it means more in their economies.
I found a site that works with groups that do this to help fund them called kiva.org. Basically they take the people looking for these small loans, they post profiles on them, people who have some money to spare can put in a little towards that person’s loan and collectively a bunch of people can give someone less fortunate a business loan. I don’t make any money on it, this is a bit of a flaw as I’m sure the woman has to pay some sort of interest, but someone needs that interest money for operating expenses so I guess I don’t mind.
The idea is great though. It offers people an ability to help out the less fortunate without as large of an investment as charity. The person who gets the help gets self confidence, and aid into bettering their lives. It is just genious, I don’t know why it took so long. I put in $25 on my first loan, and I will use it to see if I should loan more. I could make it a monthly loan, kind of my tithe, and then just siphon the money back into other people as loans are paid back. It could work greatly and I am excited about the concept. I think it could even work here in the United States to help out the poor here get on their feet again.