Ecocho is a new search engine wrapper for Google and Yahoo that calls itself the first “green” search engine. They get to that claim by using some of the revenue they generate to buy carbon offsets.
They’re a bit unclear on the exact payoff, saying only that “up to two trees” will be sponsored for every 1,000 searches on the site. The cynical side of me notes that zero trees is within the definition of “up to two,” but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. Plus they do say they aim to donate 70% of revenues to carbon offsets. And even though the carbon offset system is flawed in many ways, I’m supportive of it in general and we tend to offset our events through Zero Footprint.
In general, though, I don’t like for profit startups that try to leverage the green movement to get attention. I make fun of people who add email signatures pleading with me not to print it. I noted that Google’s attempt to draw attention to Earth Hour actually used more electricity than doing nothing would have. And the endless debates about which giant Internet company is most green are annoying.
If you want to really help the world, get ridiculously rich doing something that you love and that doesn’t hurt anyone else, and then donate that money to people who know what the hell they are doing. We’re on the verge of actually getting Malaria under control, for example. Now that would be something.
In the meantime, do all your searches on Yahoo. They need the revenue.