A British web-millionaire is to launch a social networking site to help raise awareness about malaria worldwide.

Tom Hadfield set up Soccer.net when just a teen and sold the site for $40 million to to US sports network ESPN when he was just 17-years-old.

However, he has now turned his attention to charity projects and believes that the power of the web, specifically social networking sites, could be used to help fight malaria, which kills an estimated one million people a year.

"I believe in the power of friends telling friends telling friends", Hadfield told Reuters in an interview.

"Our dream is tens of thousands of people will use social networking tools to build a movement that eradicates malaria."

Hadfield, who is now 25-years-old and studying at Harvard University, thought of www.MalariaEngage.org during a trip to Zambia last summer.

"Traveling across Africa and seeing the devastation caused by malaria made me realize there was more to life than putting up soccer scores", said Hadfield.

"Everyone I met at an aid project making mosquito nets in Zambia had either lost a child to malaria or knew someone who had."

The trip also took in Dar es Salaam in Tanzania where Hadfield met researchers working on malaria treatments.

The new website will ask people to donate $10 or more to support seven research projects in Tanzania, but it will also be unique in connecting the people who donate directly with the researchers so that donors can really see where their money is going.

"It's about more than about giving money - it's about creating connections. By encouraging individual participation and involvement, we will create international communities of common interest. This is the essence of social networking", explained Hadfield.