Unilever’s charitable app uses Timeline and subscription billing; Facebook agrees to take only 5 percent of transactions

Unilever today launched a charitable Facebook app called Waterworks, which integrates Open Graph and the social network’s new subscription billing option to raise money and awareness to help bring clean drinking water to areas in need.

Users connect the Waterworks application, allowing permission to post to Timeline, and set a daily donation between $0.10 and $1.00. Users are paired with “Waterworkers,” women in water-poor communities who help distribute water purifiers and sachets of drinking water. Each Waterworker is given a mobile phone that includes a custom Waterworks app to allow her to share photos and stories that will show up within the Facebook user’s app and through notifications. Stories will be published to News Feed and Timeline about the progress a user’s donations have made.

The innovative app was produced by Betapond, a Facebook Preferred Marketing Developer that had early access to APIs announced this week, including subscription payments and the new Open Graph-enabled Like action. Betapond says Facebook agreed to take a 5 percent transaction fee rather than its traditional 30 percent. As we’ve written about previously, the social network has a history of working closely with charitable organizations, and groups that are looking to run large-scale campaigns to support a cause should consider talking to Facebook directly or working with a Preferred Marketing Developer that has a close relationship with the company.

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