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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Search for Charity or Profit

A host of search engines have popped up recently that try to appeal directly to the profit motives of potential users. The idea isn't new; in the dot-com days, sites used to offer points redeemable for goods like TVs and other goodies. Now, sites like Zotspot are trying to ramp up traffic by offering to share ad revenue with users. You can even cash in by referring other users to the service. But, don't worry, it's not a pyramid scheme since you don't pay anything upfront.

However, there are other search engines like GoodSearch that donate to charity when you search with them. Type in the charity or school you want to support and click Verify. Then search, with every search generating one cent in donations to the charity of your choice.

I find it very interesting that a lot of these search engine aren't unique. They're powered by traditional search engines like Yahoo! or some other undisclosed engine. Without actually offering better or different search results, their only appeal is through profit or charity. Since they split ad revenue with users, they either need enough traffic so the remainder is enough to operate on, or the payouts have to be lowered, which might alienate potential users.


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