It seems that almost all your friends' names on MSN have added a little
green "i'm" symbol overnight. If you ask what is going on, someone will
tell you it's a charity initiative and send you an intro link.
Though this charity program has not yet officially launched for Chinese
users, this little green symbol has proven popular among Chinese Windows
Live Messenger users.
Windows Live Messenger's official blog announced
on March 1 that Microsoft was launching an "i'm" program in United
States. Every time someone starts a conversation using i'm, Microsoft
shares a portion of the program's advertising revenue with nine
organizations dedicated to social causes. With every instant message
a user sends, it
helps address issues one feels most passionate about, including poverty,
child protection, disease and environmental degradation.
One only has to add certain code next to one's name for the
organization one would like to support. "*red'u" is for the American Red
Cross, "*bqca" is for Boys & Girls Clubs of America and "*unicef"
stands for the American branch of UNICEF.
After a Chinese blogger named "hung" introduced this program on his
blog on March 2, "i'm" has invaded the Internet in China with no actual
promotional campaign from Microsoft.
Beijing-based Youth Weekend reported that famous IT blogger Keso
regarded this program's rapid spread as a successful virus marketing case.
He thinks that the success of the "i'm" program is because it's spread by
users without being a bother to others. This answers why "i'm" has spread
so rapidly across the Internet like a virus with almost no promotion.
However, Feng Jinhu from the press center for Microsoft China told
Youth Weekend that the "i'm" project is only eligible for Messenger users
in United States. Instant messages sent by Chinese users would not count.
This has not affected Chinese Messenger users' passion for the little
green symbol. These users hope their instant messages will actually become
donations to charitable organizations someday.