Virtual world Gaia Online and social network Zynga are rolling out charity virtual goods to raise money for victims of the recent earthquake and subsequent tsunami that struck Japan over the weekend. Gaia Online’s virtual goods will raise money for the Red Cross. Gaia Online says that it will make the value of all charity virtual goods purchased, up to $10,000. Zynga will partner with Save the Children and raise money by selling Japan-themed items like Kobe cows and Japanese furniture in its games CityVille, FarmVille, Zynga Poker, YoVille, Cafe World, Words With Friends, and FrontierVille.
Zynga plans to donate 100% of the purchase price of all earthquake relief items to Save the Children’s Japan Earthquake Tsunami Children Emergency Fund. Facebook will also support the effort by donating its 30% cut of all Facebook Credits spent on the items to the charity. Zynga plans to roll out items in more of its games. Save the Children has also set up a page where players of Zynga’s games can donate directly. Zynga’s last major charity virtual goods fundraising drive was for victims of the 2010 Haiti earthquake.
Gaia Online is a community with over 8 million registered users that has long drawn young adults and teens interested in anime culture to its virtual world and discussion forums. Gaia Online has launched fund-raising efforts to support victims of Hurricane Katrina and the Gulf Oil Spill. The charity items for the earthquake are the Emblem of Kannon (a white cross), the Coat of Kannon (a massive white coat), and the Halo of Kannon (a white cross hairpiece surrounded by a glowing halo).
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