A new search engine called GoodSearch is donating half of its advertising revenue to charities. Similar in appearance to Google and powered by Yahoo, the difference comes in that a donation occurs every time a user clicks on a sponsored ad that comes up in a search.
Launched at the end of November, GoodSearch already has more than 900,000 charities and schools listed.
“We are only a couple months old, but it’s already growing faster than we ever expected and its vital marketing at its best,” said Ken Ramberg, who along with his sister J.J. Ramberg, is the founder of GoodSearch.
The Rambergs got the idea for GoodSearch after the difficult experience of losing their mother to cancer. They wanted to find an easy way for people to support their favorite causes.
Ramberg also founded MonsterTRAK in 1988, which is the college recruiting division of Monster.com. He said the starting of that company and his familiarity with the Internet paved the way for GoodSearch.
“It’s such a simple concept to search the Internet like you normally would, and the partner search with Yahoo makes it a no-brainer because your getting the same high quality search results that you normally would,” Ramberg said.
For each search about a penny is donated to the user’s favorite charity. If a charity isn’t listed, anyone can submit its information online and it will be included after verification.
Charities promoting GoodSearch include Heal the Bay, Pi Beta Phi Sorority, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric Aids Foundation and the Penn State Dance Marathon, which raises money for pediatric cancer research.
The Rambergs’ goal is to direct as much money to the organization as possible and in order to do that students must help spread the word and get people to support their cause.
“The charities can make some significant money just by their supporters using the site,” Ramberg said.
A feature of GoodSearch is the ability to keep track of the amount a charity has raised. Users only have to enter the charity or school desired and click the “amount raised” icon on their homepage.
Through the site, Penn State is generating about $200 a month and all it took was getting people to rally behind the idea.
“What they did at Penn State is sent e-mails out, put it on their blog and told everyone to support the Penn State Dance Marathon,” Ramberg said.
Ashley Nolan, associate director of the Pepperdine Volunteer Center, said GoodSearch is an easy and effective way to raise funds for charities and plans on using the site.
“The primary things we raise funds for that need the most funding are Project Serve and our Jump Start Program,” Nolan said. “Project Serve would be a good fit because it might be a way for Project Serve participants to let their friends and families know.”
GoodSearch is only open to U.S.-based charities and schools, but Ramberg hopes to expand internationally in the future. He said he wants to get all the kinks out and refine the system first.
“If at the end of the day we can raise money for charities, make people more aware of all the good causes that are out there and get people to support and volunteer for these causes by doing something as simple as searching the Internet,we have the potential to make a difference,” Ramberg said.