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SmilingStart.com: Reinventing the browser homepage

Most people are willing to contribute time and resources towards a social cause. But most of them fail to do so. Why? Probably, because of the fast paced lives. It simply becomes difficult to devote time and effort to find and support credible charities. This thought led to the creation of SmilingStart.com.

SmilingStart is a simple web application which enables individuals to support charities with minimal effort and zero cost.

How It Works

  1. Signup and select a charity
  2. Set Smilingstart.com as your browser homepage
  3. Each day you receive a beautifully designed wallpaper which is sponsored by an advertiser
  4. We charge the advertisers for each user who sees the branded wallpaper
  5. 75% of this fee gets donated to the cause and we retain remaining 25%
  6. Users can log-in and check-out the exact impact of their contributions towards the cause

We are trying to harness the huge space available on the browser homepage and divert ad spends towards charitable causes. The homepage now has the power to help feed children, educate underprivileged girls and provide shelter for street kids.

Benefits

Individuals:

  • A new way to give that costs nothing.
  • A beautifully simple way to feel good every-day.
  • Opportunity to do good by diverting advertising money to charitable cause.
  • Make use of the homepage, which was probably lying unutilized anyways.
  • Support charities which are credible and extremely transparent.
  • Be part of a larger movement that uplifts society.

Charities:

  • Receive new funding
  • Activate new supporters
  • Raise awareness about their causes.

Advertisers:

  • Standout in the clutter: Be the first and the only one to reach the customer every-time when he/her starts browsing
  • Be Memorable: Beautiful full screen wallpaper which the audience will never miss
  • Reiterate the ad multiple times in a day
  • Positive Image: Align your brand with the most trusted NGOs
  • Add-on to CSR and tax benefits

Our Legal Setup

SmilingStart is a venture of Thalia Technologies Private Limited. We are a profit driven organization with an intense social objective. The profit motive encourages efficiency and innovation and the social motive brings satisfaction of contributing to the society. We strive to maximize every cent of investment and minimize expenses incurred in creating and delivering value.

75% of the advertisement fees are donated to charitable causes selected by our users while we retain the remaining 25%. This revenue helps us cover our expenses, spread awareness and grow meaningfully. We believe this model will fulfil our mission of making a meaningful difference to the society and be sustainable at the same time.

Pilot Campaign

SmilingStart.com was launched on in the first week of April 2013 with a Pilot Campaign. During the initial period of few months we will run advertisements free of cost. The donations will come from our private sponsors and the entire amount goes to the charities. We have a target to achieve 10,000 signups during this period. Currently, SmilingStart is supported through my personal savings and family funds.

We have approached many advertisers, agencies and the idea was appreciated well. Creation of user base is our biggest challenge.

We have handpicked three of the most credible charities across India. Each of these credible charities work on low overheads, report transparently and deliver on the ground level for the up-liftment of the needy children. We will add new charities after the pilot campaign. As I write this post, we have enabled 99 mid-day meals, 49 days of education for underprivileged girls and 73 days of shelter for street kids!

SmilingStart is an honest effort to engage masses in a simple yet powerful way to create a positive change.

We require your suggestions and feedback to improve and achieve our goals.

Visit us, signup and spread the word: SmilingStart.com.

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29 Comments

  1. Great Idea. You have a evangelist in me. Do forward your costing. Would like to try you out for a new product of ours.

  2. Glad you liked the idea. Currently, in our pilot phase our private sponsors are donating towards charities for every user who receives the branded wallpaper. Advertisers can display their wallpapers free of cost (provided they adhere to the wallpaper specifications.)

    You may give me your email id and I shall forward you the wallpaper specification document. We will be happy to release your wallpaper on our platform for an entire day.

  3. this sounds so cool tejas – yes – we’ll do a web banner for you! i’ve started spreading the word over social media as well…!

    all the best. keep us posted!

  4. Thank you sooo much for this! Could not have asked for more.

    We will definitely keep you updated as the story unfolds.

  5. Wow,amazing concept…Do let us know if you need people for marketing and designing….I know You already have ’em..in fact a wonderful creative and marketing team though it would really be a pleasure for us to work and learn with you guys!!keep it up!:)

  6. Nice to know you liked the concept.

    We are in dire need of expert designing advice. Since our launch last week there has been a steady flow of visitors on the site. However, the signup rate is way below our expectation. Feedback what we got from users is that the concept of SmilingStart is hard to understand from the content available on the website. So we have already started re-designing the website (especially the homepage). Your inputs (comments/feedback/suggestions) on ways to improve the website will help us a lot.

    Thanks for the encouragement!

  7. tejas,

    quick visual feedback on the branding (super imp!) after a glance of your website…

    try not to write SMILINGSTART in upper case like this.

    let it ALWAYS BE SmilingStart – way easier to read. it’s imp while establishing your brand name….

  8. Thanks for pointing that out Asha.

    Will definitely avoid UPPRERCAPS for SmilingStart in our new design.

  9. As rightly put by Asha, typography is the most visible aspect of any branding exercise.

    Also, the blog has to explain its purpose of existence.Instead of putting just few pictures, if you mange to to communicate beliefs and philosophy of your organisation then that would really bring the interaction on the forefront.

    Communicate to inspire…Interact to aspire…:)

  10. Well said. I agree with you. We are still debating the blog strategy.

    We are considering to put a hold on the blog since we have a resource crunch (I know its a cliche’ in the startup world!) Secondly, if we decide on doing it should we focus on communicating the ideology of the organization or focus on providing content which is valuable and useful for the consumers? What would you suggest?

  11. On the contrary, I will not suggest you to put the blog on hold.It will be required in coming months to maintain the customer engagement.It will also you to devise and develop your social media marketing strategies.

    Communicating the beliefs of an organisation to instill trust or propagating valuable information to attract potential customer solely depends upon your team but if you aspire to generate funds, create awareness and activate a whole new user base,the key word is again ‘COMMUNICATION & INTERACTION’

    The development of a think tank is a prerequisite for this.

  12. You are right. Blog will be very useful in the long term. Will work on this to create content which is meaningful and engaging.

  13. Hi Tejas,

    I like smilingstart.com as an innovative idea for doing charity. i can do charity by simply putting smilingstart.com as my  default page to browser. i have done this…. but how to know about my contribution to charity

  14. Interesting concept Tejas, I really liked it . Registered and set my home page. Also tweeted & shared on Facebook. 

  15. Thanks Kajal. You can go to Settings –> Charity Impact. Here you can see the number of days you supported (logged in) SmilingStart and the corresponding impact to the charitable cause to selected. In few days time we will start displaying detailed financial reports daily.

  16. Awesome. We shall make a difference one homepage at a time!

  17. Hello Rodinhooders,

    So we were in our dormant space for a long time and now we are here with a small yet significant change that we have brought into SmilingStart.com

    We have changed for good. An enhanced and superior SmilingStart experience is what we have come up with. 

    What’s new is a bank of specially designed images (browser startpage wallpapers) that will inspire, amaze and tickle you.

    As of now we have been able to raise Rs. 7032 for the charities that we have partnered with. We have been able to enable 736 Mid Day Meals for school kids, 380 days of education for the under-priviledged girl child and 540 days of shelter for the kids in streets.

    We have more than 200 users now, who wake up to a reinvented browser startpage on their computers and laptops every day, knowing that their wallpaper does good to someone somewhere.

    Our efforts are to be the best start-page that one can have and to be able to bring in as much help for charities as we can. And there is much more in the pipeline, to bring you the best startpage that you’ll ever have.

    Hope the new SmilingStartexperience is more enjoyable.

    Do Share your feedback about the SmilingStart.com experience and do join our social network.

    Facebook

    Twitter or  @SmilingStart

    (We would welcome your suggestions about our Social networks too)

    Have a Great Weekend everyone.                       

     

  18. Awesome Concept .! Registered ! if need any help you can contact me .! WIll love to do It ..!

  19. Thanks Nitish. Help in spreading the word is the biggest need right now!

  20. Made my day Tejas! Registered. Tried. Loving every bit of it.

  21. Hi Tejas

    This is something really cool and awesome. Registered for your service.

    I was wondering if there is a way I can use your service to showcase one of my product. If possible, mail me the details on : anoop@ewehelp.com. I would really love to be a part of your initiative.

    Thanks!

  22. Hi Tejas,

    Nice concept…Joined already…Have already become evangelist.  Inspiring people at workplace to smilingstart.  One question…How did you approach advertisers.  Are they really paying.  0.5 rs per impression is I suppose you are charging them.

  23. This is really cool!

  24. This is awesome!!!

  25. Hey Tejas – It’s awesomely refreshing!  A sound and beautiful model. 

    Have signed up and spreading the word. Kudos and lots of good wishes!

  26. why you dont have sharing option ? u should have facebook twitter share option.It will help in getting traffic , else superb loved concept and idea and execution 

  27. Hey Tejas,

    I would say a very unique thought.
    I always wanted to work for some social cause.I do teach dance for free to our maids children.(They are crazy for dance)

    Smilingstart.com would be a good start for me. 
    Has defintily encouraged me to think also from a social prospective.

    Thanx!
    Would love to connect with you.

  28. Hi Tejas,

    Firstly congratulation on converting such a great idea into reality. Every thing about this is super cool.

    We would like to get associated with you as your Web Security partner and want to become a part of this great work. 

    Please visit our website : http://securitythinkerz.com.

    You can reach me :

    Ph: 9873964896

    Mail id: peeyoosh.kumar@securityhinkerz.com

    Hope to hear from you soon.

    Regards

     

  29. Hey Tejas, hows this thing doing now?

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