Free Rice

The whole world is linking to (and playing) FreeRice. They give you a word, often quite obscure, and four definitions, even the best of which is sometimes not all that perfect:

For each word you get right, we donate 10 grains of rice to the United Nations World Food Program

The annoying and addictive thing is that I can almost never seem to get past level 48.

I gather there about 2,000 grains of rice in a quarter of a cup, so it will take a lot of games to feed anyone…..

I think this must be one of the most brilliant publicity stunts ever. Let's pull out the back of the envelope: Even if they did promise to give away 136,236,930 grains on Nov. 11, that's only about 68,118 cups, or circa 457 bushels. A rice bushel weighs 45 pounds. It appears that US rice currently trades for about $10.50 per cwt (hundredweight) on the wholesale market.

So we take our 457 bushels, multiply by $10.50, and then by .45, and we get about $2160 worth of rice being donated on their record day — which must be the lowest cost-per-eyeball going when you consider how many people had to be playing for how long to get to that total. (After all, wrong answers don't count.)

Now, if they are paying retail prices, this is going to cost them a lot more, but I doubt they are.

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25 Responses to Free Rice

  1. Go Democrats says:

    Froomkin the disrespectful!!

    Whatever the company is donating, that is still 100% more than the 99% of the population in the United States is donating. Instead of complaining or running your mouth about it Froomy, why don’t you just try to get more people to play… or better yet, why don’t you actually just donate a few hundred pounds of rice yourself?

    How dare you mock a donor, even if it is a small donation.

    I walked in the AIDS walk last year, I was only able to raise $165. I tried and tried and tried but could not get people to donate more than $5 or $10 a person (I even donated $50 myself just to get to $165). There were people who donated thousands of dollars, perhaps even hundreds of thousands of dollars that day… So according to you and your ridiculous posting above, my donation was cheap?

    Shame on you Froomy a.k.a. Mr. Disrespectful.

    The University of Miami ought to reconsider your tenure, someone who can dare make a comment such as you did, is unamerican.

    Perhaps you never heard the phrase “If we all do a little, we can accomplish a lot!”

  2. milton friedman says:

    There is no such thing as a free lunch.

  3. Ann Bartow says:

    Well, I think it is legitimate to ask how much of the advertising revenues the site is generating will go to buy rice. It’s kind of a fun game for geeks, not that I would know :>)

  4. Andrew DeWeese says:

    Curses, how dare you post this right before finals?!!
    …I can’t get past level 48 either 🙁

  5. John Doe says:

    Go Democrats is being a bit grumpy over the whole thing, but he brings up a good point. Whoever posted the Free Rice website should not mock the amount that is donated.

    After all, I just watched someone dump out half their food that they didn’t feel like eating for lunch today… we could feed half the world with the food that we toss in the garbage. Any food that is donated should be appreciated, not ridiculed.

  6. wcw says:

    Funny, I got to ~47 almost immediately, then quickly screwed a bunch up. Some of the ‘right’ answers seem a stretch even when I know the words really well, so my bet is that 48+ are uniformly tricks.

    Dunno, though: I haven’t got enough data to say.

  7. jen* says:

    ummm…ALL of the proceeds are going to buy the rice. The website was set up as a .com cuz the .org paperwork was a hassle – it’s still operated non-profit, though.

  8. somebody says:

    At least Free Rice is helping people, even if only a few.
    If you don’t like it, then don’t play it.
    But there’s no need to try and make other people stop playing it.
    Showing people the *fancy*(cough cough) math and how LITTLE(again, cough cough, it’s still saving lives) rice is donated doesn’t change the fact that people would rather help a few people than none at all.

  9. a says:

    I have donoted 100,000 grains of rice in one day! Theres a prgoram called scar divi and
    I ran it over night and raised 100,00 grains of rice! My hope is that everyone will be using scar or a bot to run over night so while sleeping your helping people.

  10. AwesomeZombie says:

    Bots don’t help anyone. If people use bots it does not become cost effective for the companies to put their advertisements on the site and companies will start pulling their ads which is how the site makes the money to buy rice. So don’t use a bot, play the game yourself.

    Source: The FAQ of freerice.com

    Couldn’t I just write a computer program to play all day and give a lot of rice that way?

    There are two problems with this. First, it overloads our servers so that real people can’t play and learn vocabulary. Second, without real people playing and buying products, it is no longer cost-effective for companies to advertise. Without advertising, we cannot give any rice at all.

  11. Judy says:

    I have been playing this game since around the beginning of December and have donated more than 300,000 grains of rice. I have scored as high as 53 a few times but usually stay somewhere between 49 and 51. There are a few tricks which, if you play enough, you begin to figure out. One is that you can usually–but not always–eliminate three of the choices that sound similar or sound as though they could be the answer. It’s usually a good guess to go for the one that sounds “far out,” as in, “it just couldn’t be this one!”

    I took Latin and Spanish is high school and college, and knowing root words helps tremendously. A good linguist should have an easy time with this game.

    The other vehicle I use many times is my intuition, and, sorry, I can’t give any tips on that one! Just gut feelings.

  12. pir8jenny says:

    I got up to 49 after 5 days of playing. I just think that Michael is mad because he has been beaten by the site. It’s just a game. It helps to have gone to catholic school and learned latin. It helps you guess.

    pir8jenny.

  13. it’s so hard. my score is never more than 36…

    i as well want to know more about those charity causes… it looks to me like an openening for a lot of money to be scammed from us.

  14. marilyn says:

    i can earn 1,000 in 2 minutes 🙂 i’m proud (i am 6 so it is impressive)

  15. chris says:

    ok your a much of losers!!!! We have been short on rice and one person can buy three bags of rice perday !!!! The people of the wold has no rice to give a way!! ya im sounding like an dick but we need to eat too.You say that you care about charity but what about your self and the people around you!!!! We need to help each other and everyone around us as well.SO who cares if you can’t pass 49 or 48 who cares we need food and you guys are giving it to us or to the people who need it and WTF about the bees dose anyone care about the bees!!! Why are they dieing?? Are we next?? What if that move the happening is right?? If we have no bees that means no honey

  16. Zivlok says:

    Uh, Chris? Maybe you don’t understand that this game is giving people rice. That helps hunger. Sure, there are more effective ways of donating, but freerice.com is an ingenious way to tap into America’s competitive spirit. By playing you help people, yes, but you also help yourself by making you smarter. This is what appeals to average stereotypical self-centered American.

    Also, yes, 20 grains of rice is not much, but it’s pretty easy to get a few thousand in an hour. And yes, that is sort of an eyeball statistic, since that’s still not a ton of rice but listen to this: by February freerice.com had given over $215,000 to the WFP. It’s now May. Over 31 billion grains have been donated. That’s doing something, and without paying any money. That’s how to appeal to America, and it’s working.

  17. Kyle says:

    20 grains of rice does not seem like much. On your screen you may only see up to 100000 grains of rice which equates to about 5 1/2 pounds of rice then it rolls back to 0. I can see how this may no seem like much but those simple 20 grains can go a long way. If every American were to answer one question and only earn 20 grains each that would make over 6 billion grains which is about 340,000 pounds. This is about enough to feed more than 300,000 full grown people for one day (assuming 20,000 grains per person which is enough to survive). The to date total donation is about 32 billion grains.
    =1,762,629 pounds
    =1,599,030 people fed for a day (over time)

  18. Kyle says:

    20 grains of rice does not seem like much. On your screen you may only see up to 100000 grains of rice which equates to about 5 1/2 pounds of rice then it rolls back to 0. I can see how this may no seem like much but those simple 20 grains can go a long way. If every American were to answer one question and only earn 20 grains each that would make over 6 billion grains which is about 340,000 pounds. This is about enough to feed more than 300,000 full grown people for one day (assuming 20,000 grains per person).

    The to date total donation is about 32 billion grains.
    =1,762,629 pounds
    =1,599,030 people fed for a day (over time)

  19. ryan says:

    Ok, this is alot of math but I don’t think you should be dissing the game. It’s helping people if your trying to discrage other peeps from helping other people in the world than thats wrong. This will also probly help get econamy up with people who are samarter. If you get people to play than you could be saveing lives. We should post adds arond school or naborhood. ♥

  20. yoooo says:

    this website is sickk 🙂
    were learning and donating at the same timeee, how awesome?
    i’m kinda glad somebody made this site
    i do think they should give more than rice though
    imagine having to eat rice, rice, rice and nothing else
    they should give out other foods too
    though atleast their getting something, but still i feel kinda bad
    i mean i eat something different every day and they have to cook the same old rice to survive :l

  21. this website is sickk 🙂
    were learning and donating at the same timeee, how awesome?
    i’m kinda glad somebody made this site
    i do think they should give more than rice though
    imagine having to eat rice, rice, rice and nothing else
    they should give out other foods too
    though atleast their getting something, but still i feel kinda bad
    i mean i eat something different every day and they have to cook the same old rice to survive :l

  22. john says:

    hi how about freecorn.org is new concept but is has same purpose as freerice
    so check out http://www.freecorn.org
    the more you visit the more you can help

  23. Dave says:

    Check the website you fools, It has changed to 20 grains of rice dontaed per right word.
    Okay It’s isn’t 10 grain donated per word right dumby.
    Its 20 grains per word right so $2160 * 2 = $4320 dontated . Now take this into acccount

    Free Rice has been out for about a year. $4320 * 360 = $1,555,200.
    Most likely you won’y see this comment as there are a lot of comments already on
    this website. Smaller then $1,555,200 as it has been 10 grains of rice before Plus $4320 is the highest day So 4 mouths of 10 grains. $1500 * 120 = $180,000, 8 mounths with 20 grains. $3000 *

    240 = $720,000. $180,000 + $720,000 = $900,000. Isn’t That a lot of Money donated to the free rice people???? Don’t Say it isn’t. Your forgeting. $3000 a day? People these days make $3000 per mouth.

    (To the creater of this first comment , at the top of the website)
    People like U Make people starve without giving a crap? Why Did U say It isn’t a lot of money?
    It sounds like your saying it isn’t making a difference? Don’t worry You’ll be punished for your deeds.

    “It’s God who doesn’t punish man, Its man kind who punishes themselves.”

    Even if its small IT still helps. Some 6 year old child will be starving to dead but free rice dontated so that kid got food to eat.

  24. steffi says:

    i liked this site a lot it was wonderful

  25. David says:

    Where no strangers to love!
    You know the rules and so do I!

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