Sunday, March 21, 2010

Ecosia or The Myth of Eco-friendly Search Engines

I've been invited to use Ecosia, a website you can use for web searches, will serve you ads and then give a share of the ad-revenu to the World Wildlife Fund. Ecosia claim you can save the environment if you use this tool. Let me share with you my serious doubts.

There's controversy regarding those tools. Some have been found in the past to be blatant frauds and some charge a significant amount of "administration fees", thus keeping for themselves a significant part of the ad-revenu to themselves.


I won't be using Ecosia myself, and here's why.

  1. I'm blocking ads using adblockplus.org and AdBlocker, so I would not provide any money to Ecosia/WWF anyway.
  2. I don't want or need a proxy to my web search, that actually means more data transfer on the 'net, and thus is by itself less ecological to use Ecosia than to access the search engine directly. In addition to more data transfer, the whole process will also eat up my personal time, waiting for Ecosia, a much smaller and slower server than Bing or Yahoo, to send me the search results along with content I don't need.
  3. I'm not sure Ecosia are trustable, especially when considering they're a for-profit organization.
  4. Ecosia uses Bing and Yahoo search engines, which arguably provide less interesting results than the Google engine. With Bing, I might end up needing to do more searches, loading more pages, thus making Ecosia less environmental-friendly than a accessing Google directly.
On the basis of those arguments, I claim using Ecosia is much worse for the environment than not using it.

In this critic of Ecosia, we learn "Kroll is just twenty-six years old, but this isn't his first attempt to get an eco-conscious site off the ground." and the conclusion: "Whether or not Ecosia is the greenest search engine on the web can't be verified, just as its claim of saving two meters per click on sponsored results can't be verified either. What is true, however, is that teaming up with WWF to raise funds for such a vital issue is important and respectable, so let's leave it at that."

In other words, I hate to be negative, but I think Ecosia is not part of the solution, I think it's an unnecessary proxy using resources (servers, bandwidth, time and human resources) that could be better used to the real benefit of the environment. As I mentioned, since I already block ads and plan to continue to do so, it doesn't make sense to use Ecosia since they won't make money out of me anyway.

What do you think?
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