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June 12, 2013 at 12:10 PM

Urbanspoon alum makes a Fare trade for Twitter

Fare Start file photo of guest chef Seth Caswell by Jim Bates/The Seattle Times

Fare Start file photo of guest chef Seth Caswell by Jim Bates/The Seattle Times

Talk about initialing a deal. Adam M. Doppelt, co-founder of restaurant review giant Urbanspoon, used to tweet as @AMD, using his initials as his Twitter handle.

But there’s a giant semiconductor company of that name as well, and they wanted the @AMD account. Doppelt wasn’t interested. “I mean, it’s an important part of my identity. How can you put a price on that?” he said in an email. “On the other hand, I don’t use the account that much so it seemed like there might be an opportunity for something creative.”

That something? A $50,000 donation to charity. After two years of negotiations, as Geekwire reported, AMD made a $25,000 to a charity of Doppelt’s choice — he picked FareStart, the culinary job training program for people who are homeless or otherwise in need. They also gave $25,000 to a charity of their choice, the Bellevue Boys and Girls Club. Doppelt, who left Urbanspoon after its sale to IAC, now tweets as @adamdoppelt.

Why FareStart? “Urbanspoon has a pretty close relationship with FareStart,” and he was happy to guide the money there even though he’s moved on to found a non-food-related company, Dwellable.

“It’s easy to love a cause that gets people off the streets and into jobs. I know that they run a tight ship and the money would be spent wisely.”

And why $50,000 for the, so to speak, initial investment? “I made that number up after consulting with some friends. What’s reasonable? What’s achievable? In business transactions I’ve found that it’s easy to get fixated on dollar amounts, but this was totally different. It wasn’t a negotiation in the traditional sense. I made up a number, and it took them two years to come around.” Selling the name outright would have violated Twitter’s terms of service, but a donation apparently passed muster.

It’s an “incredibly generous” move that could, for instance, cover the costs of job placement for 25 FareStart graduates, or housing costs for 10 students over the 16-week program, said FareStart spokeswoman Christina Starr. “A donation of this size has an extraordinary impact on our programs.”

@AMD has some 20,000 followers to @adamdoppelt’s 350 and @FareStart’s 3,300, but everyone came out ahead on good feelings.

0 Comments | Topics: Adam Doppelt, AMD, FareStart

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