Posted October 30, 2013 6:43 pm by with 0 comments

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StarbucksStarbucks caused a “stir” this week with their new Tweet-A-Coffee program. Sign up for the program and you can send $5 Starbucks gift cards to anyone who has a Twitter handle.

Use it to send gifts to your friends and family or use to do deliver a random act of kindness to someone you barely know. Marketers, you can use this program to send Starbucks greetings to your most influential Twitter followers. It’s only available in the US but there doesn’t appear to be a limit on how many you can send.

The first time you use the system, you have to visit the Tweet-A-Coffee page first. You have to have (or start) a Starbucks account, then you click to hook that account to your Twitter. Finally, add a form of payment or choose one you already have on file.

If you have a VISA card, you might win a bonus $5 GC for yourself. They’re handing out matching rewards to the first 100,000 customers.

Once that’s done, you fill in the Twitter recipient handle, add a message and click. Warning – I did this and the page never resolved but it DID take the money from my account and send the gift certificate, so keep that in mind if it looks like your order didn’t go through.

After you’ve sent your first gift, you can send more directly on Twitter by sending a tweet using @tweetacoffee TO @recipient. So easy. Almost too easy.

Now, the @TweetACoffee twitter account says it’s sent 21,000 Tweets, so I’m assuming that means they’ve sent out that many gift certificates since the start of the program. The only reason this might not catch on is that it’s almost too easy to the point where it feels unsecure. Also, if the recipient doesn’t click the link in Twitter to retrieve their card, it’s money lost. The notification is NOT a DM, just an @ message so it’s easy to skip over it if the person gets a lot of personalized Tweets.

Amazon Gives Back

Amazon just launched a different kind of e-gift program – this one donates money to your favorite charity. The Amazon Smile program will donate .05% of the purchase price on all eligible items to the charity you designate prior to shopping. You can choose from well known charities such as the American Red Cross or use the search engine to choose a smaller charity. Then all you do is shop and Amazon does the rest.

The money comes out of Amazon’s pocket, so that’s pretty admirable, and . . . let’s face it. . .it’s good publicity and karma for the coming holiday season.