A pretty nifty new app has come up with an ingenious way to have advertisers pay for worthwhile charities on behalf of individual shoppers who possess iPhones or Androids.

Here's how it works. After downloading the CauseWorld app, your phone will use your location to show you participating stores. When you go into the store you can "check in" via your phone and you will accrue "karma points." When you hit a certain number of points, you can start cashing in your points to do all sorts of good deeds — planting trees, feeding chimps, or offsetting your carbon.

It sounds a little too cute maybe, but this is a little app that should be taken very seriously. The company, Shopkick, is backed by venture capital giant Kliner Perkins and this is the first in a suite of products that CEO Cyriac Roeding is hoping will redefine the experience of shopping in the digital age. 

CauseWorld neatly accomplishes three feats which others have tried and less successfully accomplished:

  1. It turns the act of shopping into a "good deed" by closely integrating causes with the shopping experience.
  2. It allows advertisers to "get friendly" with potential customers without encroaching on personal social space.
  3. It is seamlessly integrated with Facebook, so good deed and status rankings are displayed to the user's friends.
Here's more from a Tech Crunch interview with the founder:

via: Max Gladwell
Shop for good karma
New iPhone app lets you check into nearby stores, and check out with a stash of 'karma points.' Offset carbon, save a bunny, feed a chimp!