This experiment is now over. I will leave this web page here for historical purposes. As promised, the little money raised (about Au$200) was donated to this charity. For my latest project, please visit Trace Perfect Simple Puzzle

Spend One Million Dollars...

...for real!

About

This is a chance for you to decide how to spend a real one million dollars.

Frequently Asked Questions

Blog and Story

Sample Decision Form

Recent Participants

How it works

1. You donate one dollar securely through Paypal®

2. You decide how to spend the money

3. When we reach one million donations, the money is spent how you decided

Click the button below to make your donation

You spend it

a) Donate it to a charity

b) Gamble it...

c) Donate it to research

d) Invest it for a year...

f) Commission a work of art that will put your name down in history

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I trust you?
Why would I want to take part?

How do I make the donation?
How do I decide how to spend the million dollars?
What happens once we decide how to spend the one million dollars?

Why do I have to donate an additional $0.40?
Why can't I get a refund of my donation?
Why Australian Dollars?
Can I donate more than once?
How many donations were made so far?

What happens if one million is not reached by December 2010?
What happens if anything else goes wrong?
Where are the donations kept?
What about the interest that is made?

Why are you doing this?
Are you making any money out of this?
What if I have another question?

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Q. "Why should I trust you?"

A. I'm glad you asked. I consider this to be the most important question. The short answer is: because I cannot hide, in fact I cannot even run. The longer answer is, trust is a personal thing. You probably do not know me well unless you read my blog and got to know me through my writing. However, everyone knows my identity. I am not hiding my name. I have a life, a profession and a reputation that I would not want to risk in any way. So although like everyone I would like to own one million dollars, it is far from worthwhile for me to run with the money, apart from the fact that I cannot hide because the police and the law will surely find me.

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Q. "Why would I want to take part?"

A. Well, first of all you get to decide how the one million dollars are spent. You never thought you would ever decide how to spend one million dollars. So that's a bit of fun, isn't it? Also when you vote, you will have the opportunity to have your name published on the website, together with your own few words that link to your favourite website. These names and links will be published in order of donation, and you can decide to stay anonymous. If you would like another reason to participate, consider helping us learning more about human / money / technology interactions. These learnings and statistics will be published on the blog.

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Q. "How do I make the donation?"

A. Making a donation is as simple as clicking on the "Paypal Donate" button on the home page. This will take you straight to a secure Paypal payment page. Follow the easy Paypal process. If you do not have a Paypal account you can still pay securely through Paypal quickly by credit card. Otherwise you can pay normally with your Paypal account.

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Q. "How do I decide how to spend the million dollars?"

A. Once you make a donation, within a day or so you will receive an email with a link to a personalised voting document (see sample here). This is where you decide how you would like to spend one million dollars, and enter your favourite words that will link to your favourite webpage. These will be listed on this website forever. Once you fill in and submit this form, your decision is counted.

When one million dollars are donated, I will stop accepting donations and voting will stay open for two weeks. When the voting closes, the votes will be counted. If one of the 5 options receives at least 50% plus one of the votes, that option will be considered the winning decision. Otherwise, the option with the least amount of votes will be dropped and another round of voting will be organised, until one of the options has at least 50% plus one of the votes.

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Q. "What happens once we decide how to spend the one million dollars?"

A. Since the spending options are quite generic, another voting will be organised that gives 5 more specific choices. For example, if the winning generic option is "Donate it to Charity", another voting will be organised that lists 5 specific charities. Once we have a specific winning decision, the decision is actuated i.e. In this example case the money would be transferred to the decided charity.

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Q. "Why do I have to donate an additional $0.40?"

A. Paypal is a very secure and well established online payment method. However unfortunately they do have transaction fees, cancellation fees and withdrawal fees. The extra $0.40 just covers these Paypal charges. But don't worry, if there is any left over above the one dollar that you donate, it will still go towards the donation total. All the transactions will be published through the blog for everyone to see at various stages.

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Q. "Why can't I get a refund of my donation?"

A. Unfortunately, the transaction cost of a refund would not make it worthwile and we would end up losing money to Paypal.

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Q. "Why Australian Dollars?"

A. You can pay from any country and in any currency you like as long as Paypal is available to you. However I happen to live in Sydney, Australia and my Paypal account is in Australian dollars. So it makes it easier to work in Australian dollars. 1 Australian dollar (AUD 1.00) is roughly United States Dollar (USD) 0.96 and Euro 0.61

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Q. "Can I donate more than once?"

A. You can certainly donate more than once. For every dollar that you donate, you will have one say (vote) in deciding how to spend one million dollars.

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Q. "How many donations were made so far?"

A. The website has only just launched very recently on the 15th of July 2008 so of course we have only just started. And I haven't started properly and actively promoting the website yet. That will come in the coming weeks. However I can tell you that so far I have had very positive feedback and already received quite a few donations. The homepage says roughly how many donations have been made so far. Meanwhile keep reading the SOMD blog to stay updated with what is happening.

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Q. "What happens if one million is not reached by December 2010?"

A. If one million donations are not made by the end of Decemeber 2010, all the donations will be donated to UNICEF - The United Nations Children's Fund.

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Q. "What happens if anything else goes wrong?"

A. If for any reason I will not be able to finish the experiment, all the donated money will will be donated to UNICEF - The United Nations Children's Fund.

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Q. "Where are the donations kept?"

A. The dollars donated will be kept in an Australian Bank account that I own until the specific decision on spending the million is implemented.

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Q. "What about the interest that is made?"

A. The account where I will be keeping the money is a current account that only gives 0.01% interest. So very close to zero interest will be made. Perhaps barely enough to pay for the maintenance of the site and the blog. And I'll have to pay tax on any interest for sure. That would even leave less and less.

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Q. "Why are you doing this?"

A. As an experiment really. I find it interesting to learn about how us humans behave with each other, with technology and with money. I will be sharing any findings and insights on the blog where you can also give your feedback by replying to posts. It's also a bit of fun. Didn't you always want to spend one million dollars?

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Q. "Are you making any money out of this?"

A. Well I am not selling anything, so I cannot make any money. At most I might decide to put some advertisements on the blog to compensate for the few expenses that I incur by running this website and blog. As for the almost zero interest that the bank account will pay, see the question about interest above.

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Q. "What if i have another question?"

A. Please feel free to post any questions or feedback you have on my blog for discussion.

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