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Site uses social media to raffle off free, sponsored prizes

Add / Remove There’s no doubt consumers love free samples, as evidenced by all the tryvertising stores, services and even vending machines we’ve seen emerge in recent months. The latest spotting? Raffle Dog, a site that raffles off free, vendor-sponsored products. Launched this past spring, New York-based Raffle Dog offers different raffles every week for […]

Tapping the professional skills of micro-volunteers via iPhone and web

Add / Remove Much the way Catalista connects would-be volunteers with opportunities by mobile phone, so Sparked by The Extraordinaries aims to enable “micro-volunteering,” whereby philanthropists with a few minutes of free time can use it to make a difference. Currently in private limited beta, San Francisco-based The Extraordinaries is an online platform that seeks […]

Austrian phone booths repurposed to charge electric vehicles

Add / Remove Now that mobile phones are ubiquitous, public phone booths are fast becoming obsolete. In a bid to find a viable new use for its 13,500 phone booths around the country, Telekom Austria has begun converting them into battery recharging stations for electric cars, scooters and motorbikes. Unveiling its first phone booth-turned-recharging station […]

Crowdsourced effort maps the trees of San Francisco & adds dollar values

Add / Remove Mapping is an application to which the crowds are eminently well-suited, geographically dispersed as they tend to be. Not only have we seen the masses contributing to maps of hot music gigs and filming locations, but now they’re helping to create a map of San Francisco’s urban forest too. Now in beta, […]

Stock art seller uses Twitter to help buyers find right image

Add / Remove Stock art subscription services have been around for some time, but earlier this year Getty Images introduced Thinkstock, which offers millions of select royalty-free images, vectors and illustrations from multiple providers. Now, Thinkstock is testing Social Art Buyer, a service that uses Twitter to help subscribers find the images they need. Thinkstock […]

Shampoo brand is a reminder to save water

Add / Remove There’s no shortage of bath and body products made with organic ingredients or otherwise positioned as earth and human friendly. Hoping to stand out in that increasingly crowded marketplace, a new German company is taking things a step further: instead of a regular brand name, it operates under a message: Stop The […]

Baseball team recruits local musicians for in-game tunes

Add / Remove Major sports teams and the cities they hail from are essentially two sides of the same coin, which is why team rivalries and city rivalries tend to be one and the same. Aiming to tap into some of that local pride, the Pittsburgh Pirates have begun featuring local musicians for entertainment during […]

Site connects producers and buyers of local food

Add / Remove The locavore movement may be focusing new interest on locally produced food, but regional farmers, ranchers and fishermen continue to struggle to find a market for their products. That’s as true in the Pacific Northwest as everywhere else, which is why Portland, Ore., nonprofit Ecotrust created FoodHub. Launched late last year, FoodHub […]

Beer brand provides a loaner if fridge dies during World Cup

Add / Remove We don’t have exact numbers for you, but for a large percentage of soccer fans, beer is an essential part of the game experience. Preferably cold beer. Which is why Dutch brewer Grolsch is stepping in to lend a hand to anyone whose fridge breaks down during this year’s World Cup. Customers […]

Digital mirrors let customers try on cosmetics without applying

Add / Remove Earlier this year, we wrote about Shisheido’s Digital Cosmetic Mirror, installed at a Tokyo department store to let women test makeup without actually applying anything to their skin. Following in Shisheido’s augmented reality footsteps is L’Oréal, which will be trying out digital mirrors in the UK this summer. How it works? Customers […]

Social networking from any phone in the developing world

Add / Remove There’s little doubt mobile phones can have an empowering effect on those in developing nations, and we’ve already seen efforts to use such technologies for improved income opportunities and healthcare, to name just two examples. Now Finnish Sibesonke—a spinoff from Nokia Siemens Networks—is doing something similar to give underprivileged consumers new access […]

Tipping cards for travellers enable gratuities without cash

Add / Remove Cash may be increasingly rare as a method of payment in most transactions, but tipping remains one of those areas where it’s still often the standard. Therein lies a problem for international travellers, who must juggle multiple currencies; Where’s My Tip, however, aims to offer a solution. Wait staff and bartenders should […]

Unilever launches world’s first smile-activated ice cream vending machine

Add / Remove While instantly gratifying, buying ice cream from a vending machine isn’t as fun as it could be. Which is why SapientNitro and Unilever created the world’s first smile-activated ice cream vending machine. The underlying technology is sophisticated, but the concept is simple: consumers walk up to the machine, smile and are rewarded […]

Vocabulary tool by Berlitz uses Twitter for social learning

Add / Remove For those who want to learn a new language—or even brush up on a current one—there’s already Popling for instruction one small bite at a time. Now a new alternative from Berlitz takes a similar approach but adds a social element with multimedia instruction and Twitter-like capabilities. With support for 15 different […]

Upscale, themed restaurant will sell seating by the ticket

Add / Remove Earlier this year we covered Destination Dinners and its meal kits designed to replicate dining experiences from around the world. Now a group of Chicago restaurateurs is planning to implement a similar concept in a sit-down restaurant that sells seating by the ticket and offers four menus per year. Currently in development […]

Duvet suits & boots for cold-weather lounging

Add / Remove By turning down the thermostat by 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit during the nighttime hours, consumers can save between 5 and 15 percent on their heating bills each year. With an eye toward helping to make that happen, Australian Lazypatch has created the Duvet Suit and other lounging gear aimed at keeping […]

Singapore airport’s four-storey slide rewards duty-free spending

Add / Remove Airports are no strangers to innovation when it comes to attracting business, and we’ve already seen several interesting examples—Heathrow’s installation of a writer in residence, for instance, and dance lessons at the Aeroports de Paris, to name just two. None of the ones we’ve seen so far, however, can achieve the same […]

Compost service for businesses sells the soil it creates

Add / Remove Where most of the composting initiatives we’ve seen have focused on helping consumers get the dirty job done on their own household waste, Utah-based Eco Scraps collects leftover food from grocery stores and restaurants and turns it into valuable organic soil conditioner for sale at local nurseries. Americans throw out nearly 30 […]