GoodSearch is a Yahoo-powered search engine that gives away half its advertising revenues to charities and schools designated by its users. It works like a normal search engine - it's not only powered by Yahoo, but looks almost identical too. The only difference is whenever you click on ads (located on the right, and top and bottom of the screen) 50% of the revenue goes to charities.
To nominate charities, you do an initial search like so:
You can update your charity every time you return to the GoodSearch homepage. GoodSearch also offers toolbars for IE, Firefox and Mac.
Clicking the 'Amount Raised' button shows you the aggregated details from all searchers who've
raised money for your designated charity. Right now the amounts being contributed seem
rather low - GoodSearch estimates that each search will raise $0.01 for your designated
charity or school (image and video searches are not included), which means the average
RPC (Revenue Per Click) must be around
$0.02 $0.20 [update: Scott points out in the comments: "More likely the RPC is around $0.20 with a 10% click-thru-rate."]. This seems like a very low RPC, but perhaps
this is just the industry average - can any R/WW readers shed some light on that?
Because it's such a low RPC, GoodSearch is going to need network effects to kick in to really make a difference. They're targeting grassroots promotion (a la Firefox), because they obviously don't have the budget for traditional marketing if they give away half their revenue. Right now, despite being around since 2005, it looks like GoodSearch doesn't yet have network effects going. Here is a screenshot of how much they made for DATA in 2006:
But as any Web 2.0 entrepreneur knows, getting network effects (i.e. ramping up users at a great rate) is one of the hardest challenges of a web business!
I really like the concept behind GoodSearch - that all you need to do to raise money for your favorite charity is use their Yahoo-powered search engine and click on a few ads every now and then. The site is careful to discourage click fraud, which does seem to be an issue (as you naturally have more incentive now to click on the ads). But other than that, the concept is great. As of November, 22,000 non-profits and schools were generating revenue from the site and more than 100 charities and schools are registering daily. So if they can get more users, GoodSearch could become very profitable for their charities.