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Starbucks Forced To Shut Down Jonathan Stark’s Social Experiment

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Jonathan Stark’s community-giving Starbucks Card was too good to last. Although the experiment helped people out while also providing an outlet for kindness to strangers, the project was shut down by Starbucks after entrepreneur Sam Odio wrote a blog post entitled “How to use Jonathan’s card to buy yourself an iPad” explaining how he coded a script that allowed him to transfer $625 from Jonathan’s card to his own.

Although Jonathan’s experiment violated Starbucks’ terms of use for the cards, the company was still rooting for the experiment from the sidelines. However, they were forced to act after Odio’s method became public. Adam Brotman, vice president of digital ventures at Starbucks stated the following:

“I’m sad about it, first and foremost, because we were legitimately cheering on this experiment.”

As of last Wednesday, more than 500 people had donated a total of $8,700 to Jonathan’s card – and even though Starbucks was forced to deactivate it, Jonathan believes the experiment started a wave of “Pay it Forward”-style kindness:

“We believe this is the start to a bigger more glowing picture. In the last 5 days or so, we’ve received hundreds of stories of people doing small things to brighten a stranger’s day: Paying for the next car at the drive through. Sharing a pick me up with someone who has had a rough time. Charging up a phone card and sharing it with strangers at the airport … So, tonight we lose our barcode. But of course, we never needed it in the first place.”

As of this writing, Odio is attempting to sell the $625 Starbucks Card on eBay with the reported intention of donating the proceeds to Save The Children.

(Jonathan Stark via Mashable)

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