Friday, May 14, 2010

Ecosia Search Engine Saves the Rainforest

What is Ecosia ?

We just found out about Ecosia, one of the coolest environmental initiatives that we have read about in awhile. Ecosia is a search engine, and like Webcrawler, Yahoo, Google and Bing before it, Ecosia offers a list of sites based on your searched keywords. (Nothing new here yet, but keep reading.)

Ecosia is our new favorite favorite. Its uniqueness is that 80% of its advertising revenue is donated directly to rainforest programs - eighty percent ! They have partnered with Yahoo, Bing and the WWF to protect rainforest in Juruena National Park in the Amazon region of Brazil.
(By WWF we mean the World Wide Fund for Nature kind, not the Hulk Hogan kind. )

Considering that the industry leader Google ranked 34 on the Fortune 500 list of most profitable companies, there’s a lot of possible advertising dollars to be scooped up by Ecosia and put into saving the earth’s oxygen powerhouse. What a breath of fresh air !

Some people will roll their eyes at the fact that Ecosia is partnered with Yahoo and Bing. In Februrary , 2010, Wired ran an article about the two companies search-swapping in an attempt to gain more market share.
It may seem like a cheap-green washing attempt at gaining a slice of the ad-revenue-search-engine pie. And it might be just that. These companies must have been looking for some solution to Google world domination.

Enter Ecosia...

...a small, unknown company from Germany. A company willing to give 80% of their revenue away for the greener good. (WWGD? What would Google Do? Keep Reading - they do more than you would think.)

It only makes sense that Ecosia jump into bed with the larger guys. Bing and Yahoo give them search results, and advertiser's links. Ecosia works like a portal into Bing or Yahoo, and sends back results from both. So, why use Ecosia ? How does it work ? How does Ecosia save the rainforest ?

If you look at their site, they have it all broken down for us. The sponsored links are pay per click links. (This is the same as all the major search engines.) If you click on a sponsored link, the owner of that "advertisement" link pays the search engine a certain amount of money for every person that lands on their site.
Even though most people don’t click on sponsored links when they are searching, some people do. Ecosia averages about 0.13 Euro cents per search. Ecosia then uses 80% of those profits and puts it towards the WWF’s initiative to protect precious rainforest area and ensure that it is not cut down.

How much rainforest is saved each time you search on Ecosia ?
Roughly 2 square meters with every search.
Simple. Amazing. We feel good. They feel good. We love it.

What we love even more is that as more people jump on the Ecosia bandwagon, the more pressure will be put on Google (and the Bing and Yahoo companies themselves) to go even greener. They are already doing some great green things over at Google. Google has been a leader in the eco-friendly initiative and they are not lagging behind.

You, me, your friends and their friends (aka the general public) have a great opportunity here to passively do our part. In the case of the search engine green-off... the simple act of conducting your internet searches elsewhere can not only save green areas, but it could also force larger companies into doing even more for the planet.
If it’s "green" that will move searchers from one search engine to another, and eco-green that ultimately means money-green, then the great strides that have been made in the past few years in public awareness are finally paying off. Big time.
It's amazing to see large companies respond to public demand for change.
I have a feeling that we will be seeing much more of these "who's leaner and greener" campaigns. At the end of the day, this type of positive pressure to leave a size 2 carbon footprint can only have a positive outcome overall.

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