Affiliate fees are all over the web and often we don’t even know that we are clicking on affiliate links when we click through to make purchases at our favorite online retailers. On average, affiliate fees can range from 3 to 10 percent of the price of a product. Browsarity is hoping to put money collected from affiliate programs to philanthropic use, and keep a portion for itself in the process. The Y Combinator-incubated company has launched a Firefox plug-in that will rewrite any unclaimed links to a participating online retailer with an affiliate link, and donate any fees collected towards the charity of your choice.
Once downloaded, Browsarity will automatically scan any links to determine if there is an affiliate program and link associated with the retailer and will underline the link in red. So if you search to buy an iPhone on Google or read a blog post with a link to a book on Amazon, Browsarity will underline the affiliate links for retailers which could result in fees that go to charity. If you purchase the item through the affiliate link, the fees will be deposited into a PayPal account operated by Browsarity. Most of the fees in that account will be donated to a charity of your choice. Browsarity will take a 10 percent cut of each affiliate fee, so 90 percent is donated to the charity.
Currently Browsarity offers nine different charities to choose from, including The Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, and the Black Eyed Peas’ charity PeaPod. The startup says it has partnerships with at least ten “big-name” e-retailers to collect affiliate fees for charity.
There is also a viral component to the service. You can send your friends and family links to install copies of Browsarity pre-set for a certain charity, and the system will keep track of how much money has been generated for that charity as a result of your efforts. In an effort to preserve users’ privacy, Browsarity doesn’t track individual purchases.
While only available for Firefox at the moment, Browsarity will be launching plug-ins and extensions for Safari, Chrome and Internet Explorer in the coming weeks. The startup faces competition from Browse For A Cause, which has a similar model.