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Microsoft: A year of IM pulls in $1.3 million for charity

Last March, Windows Live Messenger announced a program to donate IM ad revenue to charity when members use a buzzword. Looks like it's working, at least somewhat.

Windows Live Messenger's Microsoft

Last year, Microsoft launched the "I'm Initiative," which donated nibbles of advertising revenue to 10 selected charities each time a Windows Live Messenger user started an instant message with the word "I'm." On Tuesday, after a year of the gimmick, Microsoft representatives announced that $1.3 million had been netted so far.

Bill Gates would be proud.

"Because of your enthusiasm, we're also excited to announce that we will be continuing this program," Windows Live Messenger product manager Dharmesh Mehta wrote in a blog post. "And with no set limit on the amount donated to each organization, the more 'I'm' conversations people have, the more money that goes toward addressing some of the world's most urgent social issues."

The 10 nonprofits receiving donations from the I'm Initiative are the American Red Cross, the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, the Humane Society of the United States, the National AIDS Fund, the National MS Society,, the Sierra Club,, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and UNICEF. Windows Live Messenger users who want to participate are asked to choose which organization they want to receive their click funds; the precise amounts netted by each one were not disclosed, but Microsoft has said that each one has received a minimum of $100,000. The I'm Initiative has also sponsored Cause Effect, a program about social action on the MTV Networks channel MTVU, which is syndicated on college campus broadcast networks.

Mehta wrote in his blog post that Microsoft is considering adding other charities to the list.