Today in freaky start-ups: RentYourSoul.com

An altruist risks bankruptcy for a good cause.

Pierre Ayotte, noted in a press release to be a "friendly upcoming Internet opportunist"--i.e. not The Devil Himself, just to be clear--would like to rent your soul for 10 bucks a week.

It's a new twist on an old nonprofit business model. He's gambling that the soul-leasing business will earn enough to keep him afloat from the charities that pay weekly to advertise on his site, RentYourSoul.com.

Ayotte swears he's not working for Beelzebub. He'll pay you $10--via PayPal, check, or bank note--and also donate $10 to the charity of your choice, selected from the nonprofits posting to RentYourSoul.

If you've ever been tempted to trade your soul for fame, fortune, or other significant gains, you're in good company: Homer and Bart Simpson, Dr. Faustus, Charlie Daniels' violin-wielding "Johnny," and any number of blues players have risked perdition with the Prince of Darkness. One CNET News.com staffer claims to have sold her soul in exchange for her almost supernatural Guitar Hero skillz.

Instead of skirting the fiery pit of eternal damnation, why not simply lease your soul for a good cause? It only takes a few minutes to post a photo of yourself, and if Ayotte displays it on the home page, you're soul-free for a week and 10 dollars richer afterward. No, you can't have hordes of dancing girls and wealth beyond your wildest dreams in exchange. But you can have the satisfaction of a deed well done for the good of others.

What's the risk? It's an asset almost all of us possess, and chances are, you're not using yours anyway.

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