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The good Samaritan app: Ottawa entrepreneur ‘s PlayMC2 rewards positive actions with prizes

by Haley Ritchie, Metro News

playmc2 appGiovanna Mingarelli at her home in the Byward Market with French bulldog Faya, who stars in the promo video for her app PlayMC2.

Giovanna Mingarelli is an Ottawa entrepreneur who wants to build a better Canada by taking advantage of our greatest motivators: Love, money and glory.

She created an app that rewards people for positive actions through points that can lead to prizes and coupons. She’s still approaching companies to get involved.

Mingarelli launched a crowd funding campaign March 12 to fund the PlayMC2 app, which is both an online game and a social network.

Users photograph and upload “micro-actions” like walking the dog, voting in elections or exercising. In exchange they get points, badges and sometimes prizes or coupons.

“Our goal is to make life a game that we play, and also make every day more positive and inspiring,” she said.

Users can click on a hashtag to see who else around the world has done the same activity. Like the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge or #NoMakeUpSelfie, the hope is that small trends will encourage others to copy.

“It’s really about the spiral effect — doing something you love and inspiring other people to do it,” said Mingarelli.

When it was live in the testing phase, Mingarelli said the app had a few hundred active users. The group is currently trying to raise $35,000 on Indiegogo to finish and launch the full app. Mike Mulvey, a marketing professor at the University of Ottawa, said the app might be a great way to motivate people, although there is “a risk in self-aggrandizement” if there’s too much focus on the prizes.

“If companies perhaps gave coupons to honour things that they truly care about and are engaged in, then it would give it a sense of authenticity and legitimacy,” he said. “If there’s no connection there, then they may be more susceptible to criticism.”

“I think that’s part of positive social media model, it’s not the initial acts but the potential for these good acts to perpetuate and spread and get people involved,” he said.

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