FreeRice: 350m pageviews and at least $320k profit

It appears, from the numerous excellent comments to the FreeRice article, that I made, well, a formula error in counting grains of rice, and it also appears that my estimate of cheapo CPM rates is perhaps, well, far too high.

I really should have done a proper spreadsheet rather than use the calculator on OSX. So I’ve just done that.

Luckily those errors are both in the same direction, so Mr John Breen is still in the money, though just not as much.

New Rice weight: 1.2 billion grains = 31.2 tonnes =  which at $350 per tonne costs $10,900

New CPM rate: is $1, so income is $130,000 (double for CPM of $2 obviously)

Profit:  $120,000 odd. Not a bad little earner. But let’s get the latest data..There are now 3.25 billion grains of rice given out, so let’s call that 350 million page views.  Just pause and think of that –  from launch on the 7th of October until the 21st of November there have been 350 million page views on this brand new site.

The web is still amazing.

Now 350 million pageviews =  at CPM of $1 (per the comments) is $350,000 in income. Not bad, and it could well be double that or more.

Meanwhile those 3.25 billion grains of rice weigh 84.7 tonnes, which costs arond $30,000.

So a net income of $320,000 for Mr Breen. Very nice income for a month and a bit.

Published by Lance Wiggs


7 replies on “FreeRice: 350m pageviews and at least $320k profit”

  1. I just heard a radio interview (PBS) with Mr. Breen about the freerice,com site. He states that he receives no profit from the free rice site. All profit is donated to the World Food Program. At this point it is over $100,000 — Not bad for people spending the occasional 10 – 15 minutes of their time. I have middle school students who like to play it at home and enjoy knowing they are helping with the food program. The radio broadcast was 11/28. I don’t know if was prerecorded If so the figures will be higher.


  2. Why do you assume that advertising revenue for would be on a CPM basis? This is actually highly unlikely; advertisers are hardly going to pay per page view for a site which is clearly designed to keep people to keep coming back, and to generate multiple page views each time they visit. Advertisers are not stupid! It’s far more likely that Breen gets paid each time a visitor to the site clicks on an ad. The revenue for this will be much lower than your CPM estimates. I do admit that Breen’s refusal to talk openly about how much money his site generates is suspicious, but note that the site now explicitly claims not to be run at a profit, and also the WFP has repeatedly endorsed it.


  3. I noticed definitional errors too!
    Some of the vocab is extremely rarefied or abstruse or archaic. I don’t think it would easily assimilate into everyday communication!
    – How about “bumbleshoot” (as I recall!) meaning “umbrella?!
    I don’t think of it as a scam tho’- it could just do with having more useable vocab.


  4. There would be costs in shipping the rice and distribution, as well.

    How do you find how accountable these guys are?

    Also what if someone gave all direct profits to charity, but keeps the money in a bank for a month first, then scoops the interest off the top of it? And would that even be all that awful, since that money still will go through?


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