Joseph Maduma
July 3rd 2011 Cover

They say the best ideas are simple but effective; Carrefour’s new URL shortener ‘‘ definitely fits that mould and can be described as ‘a URL shortener with a heart’. Developed by F/Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi (in Brazil) the website was named (“virou” translates as “turned into”) because every character reduced turns into one gram of food donated. Genius! Since it’s launch in May it has proved a huge success. In the first 24 hours of business nine thousand links were reduced which translates into one million characters, which in turn translates in one ton of food donated! After a month of operating 60,000 links had been shortened.’s success is a testament to the solidarity of internet users in uniting to use a service for the greater good. Carrefour’s first goal is to register the reduction of ten million characters, which will then be converted into a donation of ten tons of food. The distribution of the food will be made by the Brazilian Red Cross, which guarantees that the products will reach the families that most need them. After reaching the ten tons of food, the group intends to extend the action into other institutions. Being a prolific (slightly addicted) social networker is now my personal choice of URL shortener when trying to squeeze URLs into 140 character tweets. I look forward to helping them reach the ten million character mark and with the count at the time of writing this post at 05,731,188g, that looks like it’s going to be happening pretty soon!