By Bobby Miller
Google has long been the king of search engines. Much as people ask for a Kleenex when they want a tissue, and a Band-Aid when they want an adhesive bandage, people “Google” something whenever they search the Internet. You don’t hear about anyone Yahoo!-ing or Bing-ing anything.
Even though many people around the world treat it as their default search provider, it’s still mind-boggling to hear that Google handles over three billion searches a day. That means the number of Google searches performed worldwide every three days surpasses the Earth’s population!
With so many people using Google for their searches, it’s difficult for other engines to get a decent slice of the Internet pie. After all, people tend to stick with what they know. However, I believe there’s another search provider that everyone should look into, and that is GoodSearch.com.
Owned by Monster.com, this search engine was founded in November of 2005. Since GoodSearch.com has been around for years, it’s startling how few people know about the website’s service. According to Alexa.com, the website is only ranked #6,294 in terms of worldwide traffic, as compared to Google and Yahoo! holding the first and fourth rankings overall, respectively.
The premise of GoodSearch.com is simple. Every time a person searches for something online through its service, the revenue from advertisements earns about two cents. GoodSearch.com keeps one penny to maintain itself, and it donates the other penny to the charity of your choosing. There are many different causes to choose from: over 100,000, as a matter of fact. From religious organizations to animal shelters, there is a charity for every taste.
So, just by searching the Internet, you get to help out a charity at no cost to you. Yes, every search contributes “only” a penny, but this adds up over time. As of right now, I’ve been on the website for about seventy days, and I’ve already raised $10.23. At this rate I’ll raise over $50.00 over the next year, enough for my charity, the Seva Foundation, to perform a cataract operation on one person in an underprivileged country. So, I search the Internet, and a blind person gets their sight back—it’s that easy!
Just imagine the possibilities. If those one billion Google searches a day were all turned into GoodSearches, ten million dollars would be raised for charities worldwide every day.
But what’s the searching itself like? Well, it’s powered by Yahoo!, so you can expect solid search results. Without an ad block program on, there are a fair number of advertisements. However, they are all relevant to your search, and it’s easy to scroll down past them if they don’t catch your interest. I don’t miss Google’s standard search engine at all, despite the fact I had been using it for many, many years. Unless you cherish Google’s instant search option, you should be just fine here.
GoodSearch does have some limitations, however. If you do anything other than a standard search, such as an image search or a video search, your charity will not get a penny from it. I suppose this is convenient for me: although standard searches with GoodSearch.com are perfectly fine, I usually receive more results from Google’s image search. On top of that, Google allows people to search by using an image of their own, something unavailable in GoodSearch. So, I will stick with Google for image searching until Yahoo! improves itself in that area.
It should also be noted that searching for a specific URL does not result in a donated penny. Searching for the same thing twice in twenty-four hours or searching for a widely known website (e.g. Hotmail) will not help your charity either. Plus, “fraudulent use of the site” can result in your account being closed—or even your charity being delisted from the site. Finally, safe search cannot be turned off, which might be good for those of you with kids. But that also means you’ll need to use a different search engine if you do any “mature” browsing.
Since safe search is always on, that makes GoodSearch.com a great choice for schools, and schools can be listed on the website so that they can receive money. Imagine if a school set the homepage on all its computers to GoodSearch.com. Every time a student looks for something online, the school gets a penny out of it. With hundreds of students, that can add up very quickly.
In addition to searching, the website also features a number of other ways you can help your charity. If you’re comfortable giving GoodSearch.com your credit card number, you can sign up for GoodShopping and GoodDining. As the names suggest, you make money for your charity by using your credit card at certain stores and restaurants. Additionally, GoodCoupons allows you to save money while giving to a charity.
Overall, unless you’re really hesitant to stop using “Google” as a verb, there’s little reason to shy away from GoodSearch.com. The website itself is easy to use, and it even walks you through how to make GoodSearch the default search engine in your web browser. It also keeps track of how much money you’ve earned for your charity, and you can show that off to other users if you wish.
And, again, this all comes at no cost to you.
When you can help the world just by typing a phrase and hitting the Enter key, you know you’ve stumbled upon something special. Spread the word—it’s about time the average person learned this little secret.