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Starbucks Pulls the Plug on Communal Coffee Card

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Jonathan's Card, a pay-it-forward-ish social experiment that used a communal Starbucks card, has been shut down by the coffee chain. Why? Because people were taking advantage of the system (surprise): blogger Sam Odio ran a blog post detailing how he gamed the concept in order to net enough money to buy an iPad by transferring funds from Jonathan's Card onto his own card.

He didn't actually buy an iPad — he was going to sell the card on eBay and give the card to charity, but has since offered to return the money. Starbucks deactivated the card citing allegations of fraud.

A spokesman said the company is "sad about it, first and foremost, because we were legitimately cheering on this experiment." Sharing a Starbucks card is against the program's terms, but Starbucks had, up til this point, let Jonathan's Card slide.

· Starbucks Shuts Down Jonathan's Card Over Fraud Concerns [Mashable]
· How to Use Jonathan's Card to Buy Yourself an iPad [Sam Odio]
· All Starbucks Coverage on Eater [-E-]