Just how GOOD is this Tree?

February 16, 2008 at 10:31 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

logo_with_byline_tree_normalv1203471529.pngLet’s have a short discussion on the new website in Beta version, Good Tree, self-described as a “search engine and homepage that donates money to your favorite charities.” So far, I don’t get it. Why would I go to this site to search for anything when I could just go to google or hit up websites I already know and trust?The bulk of the home page is a “conversation” where participants share such illuminating opinions like: “Global warming is not a fad” or, “We should all drive hybrid cars.” I am all for e-civic discourse, but I wonder what is the impact of these conversations? To help people feel like there is a movement behind them?

According to the site, “Every time you do something on GoodTree, like view a banner or invite a friend, a portion of the advertising revenue generated goes to charity”.So when you login, you have to enter all your friends from your address book from hotmail and yahoo, which makes me think these two giants are throwing a few pennies to the chosen charities when you do so. But then it is like you are selling your friends email addresses? I am not a big conspiracy theorist about companies owning all our personal information; I’ve accepted the fact that they already do. I just want to know how big this revenue will be, and at ultimately what cost? Any charity can apply to receive some revenue, currently there are many mainline (primarily U.S.) charities on the list, such as: Teach for America, America Heart Association, World Vision, Human Rights Watch, Action Against Hunger and a dozen others. These collaborators do lend credibility to the start-up’s efforts, and will also likely bring hundreds of their supporters in traffic for the site.

As a self-proclaimed fanatic of “communication for development”, I should love this, but I think the non-profit social networking space is already so crowded, and that they are all competing for the same super-saturated do-gooder audience.I plan to remain a skeptic of this effort until proven otherwise… but I do like the fact that you can take a widget right off the home page and place it anywhere. This is something more and more sites need to learn to do. Once I figure out how to do it, I will try it on this blog’s sidebar.

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