Hey, Larry David: If you don't join Twitter, polar bears will die. That's how CharityBribes works, in a nutshell.
You guys know Kickstarter, right? The site where you can donate money to help someone make a gadget, or a song, or a video or whatever? CharityBribes is like Kickstarter, except the products are things you want celebrities to do and the money goes to charity. CharityBribes is Kickstarter for trolling.
Here's how it works: The site votes on an idea — the first one is "Get Larry David To Join Twitter" — to become a cause. After some light vetting, the cause goes live for a month. Users pledge to donate money to a charity under the condition that the celebrity does the thing he's asked, and they wait. The number gets larger. The pressure gets higher. The PR disaster looms larger. Larry David joins Twitter. In theory.
Chris Baker and William Burks Spencer, both copywriters, had been kicking around the idea for CharityBribes for a while before they decided to build it. (It went up yesterday.) Baker says "it's all about doing good and kind of having fun with celebrities," which is another way of saying it combines two things the internet is best at: getting behind good causes, and fucking with people. It's like a well-organized, much more visible version of the Smashmouth: Eat the Eggs thing from a few months ago.
Baker says getting Larry David on Twitter was an easy choice for the first cause. "We think it'd be awesome, he would have millions of followers," he said, "On Curb [Your Enthusiasm], he's always been a bumbling idiot when it comes to tech. It'd be funny to see him on Twitter." YEP, COSIGN.
Cause selection will be democratic, but CharityBribes reserves the right to "tweak" the ideas, according to Baker, because of course they do; otherwise this would spin out of control in about four minutes flat. "We want the bribes to be simple, based out of celebrities character," he says, "not, like, eat a raw egg." (Always with the eggs, these people.)
So far, so good: By day two, the site's pledged over a thousand dollars to the NRDC, and picked a frontrunner for the next one: "Morgan Freeman to spend an afternoon narrating user-submitted animal videos." Money goes to the Red Cross. Perfect.
A few more in the running:
- Get Conan O'Brien to to wear an eye patch (and turtle neck, also holding a pipe) while interviewing a guest on his show. If asked about it, he should say “I don’t want to talk about it.”
- Get Donald Trump to post a picture of how his hair looks when he wakes up
- Get Bill Clinton to do the Icky shuffle and the hokey pokey on video.
We can do better, I think. Go nuts.