by Michelle Lentz

Truthfully, I usually ignore Facebook Apps. I don’t want to hunt vampires or play Scrabble. Honest. I have a lot of fan pages and Causes, but that’s about it. But Green My Vino, by Village Green, combines my bleeding heart causes with an application. In this case, it’s allowing you to give free virtual “gifts” on Facebook.

Each one of these gifts is a token for 1-10 minutes of Green Power. Village Green totals the amount of tokens exchanged by folks on Facebook and purchases tht amount of solar energy from specific wind farms and solar arrays. When a certain number is reached, a selected wineries have agreed to power their operations on 100% clean energy. For example, the first winery is Iron Horse Vineyards. Iron Horse will convert when 10,000 tokens have been exchanged.

Green My Vino

Iron Horse is the first of four wineries to commit to the program. Also involved are Girard Winery, Windsor Vineyards, and Windsor Sonoma. Once the first four are converted, Village Green will recruit more wineries to participate.

I think this is a great idea, especially considering how many of my friends are using the similar L’il Green Patch application on Facebook. This appeals to folks who like wine (that’s me), who like playing with various apps and sending gifts on Facebook, and those who are trying to go green.

The application just launched today and at my last count it was at 1700+ tokens exchanged. Not bad for a few hours. I think we’ll have some greener wineries in the near future.

About the Author:


    no imageMike (Who am I?)7 August 2008 10:01 am

    Hi, this is Mike Jackson, CEO of Village Green sharing some thoughts.

    On its face, Green My Vino is just a neat way to engage Facebook users in the efforts of a company to go green. But somewhat behind the scenes, the Green My Vino model directs far more money to the purchase of renewable energy per page view than would be possible with other Facebook application models.

    Here are the numbers: If Facebook users pass 10,000 minutes to each other, then the first winery will convert their operations to renewable energy. Traditional Facebook applications make money through advertising revenue – so 10,000 minutes passed might result in, let’s say, 20,000 page views. This would generate $20-$100 through ordinary banner adds, and this money could be used to purchase renewable energy.

    Instead, the wineries involved have made a commitment to do much more. At the 20,000 page view mark, Green My Vino will purchase $3,500 of renewable energy. While an app with traditional banner ads might purchase only 90 kWh of electricity – about what the typical American uses every week, Green My Vino will be purchasing 290,000 kWh – what the typical American uses every 64 years.

    Are the wineries getting duped? No, the wineries are excited to be a part of the effort and see it as a cost effective way to spread their name and advance a cause they believe in, and Village Green has already received interest from a number of other companies. What’s going on?

    A couple things. Green My Vino enables people to interact with a brand, rather than be subliminally exposed to it through banner ads. Village Green is focusing on brand interactions instead of page views. Furthermore, this interaction is mutually beneficial – the users help force businesses to use renewable energy and learn about current events in clean energy, while the organizations get noticed for taking a legitimately large step to green their business. And these aren’t monstrous organizations buying a token amount of green power, these are small businesses committing their entire operations.

    What the businesses involved get as well is a toehold in Facebook. Social media networks are clearly the next step in online interactions and many companies have no idea how or lack the funds to get involved.

    These smaller businesses get exposure on Facebook for a fraction of the cost of what they would pay otherwise, and because we at Village Green are a bunch of young environmentalists, we make them go green in order to get that exposure.

    Providing these services to businesses provides a value far beyond banner ads, which directs much more money towards addressing environmental concerns.

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