Ecocho growing fast!

Hello, howdy, bonjour, ciao, hallo, hola, hej, g’day Ecochosters!

A whopping 70,000 of you came to Ecocho yesterday and numbers are still growing. This is great news, and so we thought we’d start a little top 10 of world Ecocho users.

The current Ecocho top ten is:

1. Italy
2. Germany
3. United States
4. Netherlands
5. Sweden
6. France
7. Belgium
8. Australia
9. Spain
10. Austria

Italia is holding on to the top spot, with Germany a close second. Ecocho began in Australia and yet the Aussies have slipped down to 8th! Come on Australia – we can do better than 8th!

Quite a few of you have still been asking about how Ecocho is verified and how we’re accountable with regards to our carbon credits and how we make sure the trees are grown! For details, this page explains our verification process in detail.

As you’ll see, we buy credits from official, Government schemes; the first scheme we are investing in is the New South Wales government GGAS (Greenhouse Gas Abatement Scheme). They grow the trees, which we fund.

This is all very well, and you may be pleased to know that the planting of trees (in relation to credits) is being handled by a government department. However, how can you be sure that we are buying the credits that we say we are, and retiring them in a fair and honest way? Well, you can log in to the government’s own GGAS website here: https://www.ggas-registry.nsw.gov.au/ and using our organisation name (Ecocho), username (Guest) and our password (guestecocho01), you can see the exact amount of credits we have bought and retired.

We hope this helps to alleviate any concerns, but if not please get in touch with any questions.

Once again, thank you all for visiting Ecocho and helping us to grow trees!

Alex
Ecocho’s Web Producer
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23 Comments »

  1. Valentina said

    For all who can read Italian: take a look at this (Alex, I suppose you can).
    http://punto-informatico.it/2265367/PI/News/Ecocho–Google-stacca-la-spina/p.aspx

    Punto Informatico, the web magazine I wrote to yesterday, has already talked about Google denial.
    Go-go Cho!

  2. Johnno said

    Tried loggin into the government site. It seems too many people have entered the wrong password. U guys aware of this?

  3. Gianni said

    Great! Finally Italy is in top of a Top Ten for something good!

    Viva l’Italia! 🙂

  4. Chris said

    “you can log in to the government’s own GGAS website here: https://www.ggas-registry.nsw.gov.au/ and using our organisation name (Ecocho), username (Guest) and our password (guestecocho01), you can see the exact amount of credits we have bought and retired”

    Actually we cant log in..
    “Cannot Login. You have exceeded maximum number of unsuccessful logins. Your account has been suspended! Please contact the Registry Key User within your organisation to have your password reset. If your key user is not available please contact the Help Desk on 1800 006 797.”

  5. ecocho said

    Hi guys,

    We have just discovered that our account has exceeded the number of incorrect logins. We are working to fix this right now. I guess that’s one of the problems with having a universal login!! We are trying to be as transparent as possible though, which is why anyone can log in. We’ll let you know as soon as its fixed.

    Alex @ Ecocho

  6. Roger said

    The username and password are case sensitive. Seems too many people didn’t enter them correctly, thus the suspension 😦

  7. ecocho said

    Gianni, does that mean you’re not a calcio fan?! Italy are consistently top ten (and won the world cup I might add!)!

    Of course, top ten of Ecocho is far more important 😉

    Alex

  8. ecocho said

    Thanks very much for spreading the word, Valentina. The article was good, it was pretty fair to us.

    We really appreciate all the work you guys are doing for Ecocho!

    Alex

  9. ecocho said

    Hi guys,

    We’ve received the new login from the Government site. It will (hopefully!) be much better now as the password is all lower case (as some of you had noted may be causing the problem!!).

    Organization – ecocho
    User – ecocho
    Password – ecocho99

    Apparently this website is intended for Internet Explorer rather than Firefox. I have tested it and it does work much better in IE. Anyway, the credits are there and visible, so it’s all good.

    Hope this helps!

    Alex

  10. Tom said

    Perhaps you should get Tim McDonald to respond to the article below…

    http://www.smh.com.au/news/web/google-puts-kybosh-on-eco-search-engine/2008/04/23/1208743015487.html

  11. Massimo said

    L’Italia è piena di energia positiva, ha tanta voglia di nuovo, ma spesso non riesce a dimostrarlo.
    Finalmente con Ecocho lo sta facendo.

  12. José said

    Concernant la comsommation, des écrans sur des sites avec fond noir, c’est vrai que pour des écrans LCD ça change presque rien, mais pour les écrans à tube cathodique (encore 15% du marché) ceux-ci consomment en moyenne 48% de moins pour afficher le noir que le blanc.

    Il y a pas de petits gestes!

    José

  13. ecocho said

    Thanks for your post José! We hope you like the new black version of Ecocho. It seems that even the scientists don’t agree about the extent of usefulness of a black background website over a white background website, but every little helps, so we hope Ecocho Lo can!

    Alex @ Ecocho

  14. Jim said

    No wonder Google stopped serving this mob. Just another Greenie rip-off scam like Earth Hour.

    Despite the rantings of Pope Al Gore 1 and Flim-Flam Flummery, hundreds of honest scientists are now coming out to prove “global warming” and “carbon neutral” are just huge cons.

    The sad part is just how many gullible people have been taken in by all this rubbish.

  15. Marquez said

    “Rip off scam”? Oh, like http://www.ripple.org or http://www.veosearch.com (as that other article mentions)? Why won’t Google answer why Ecocho is different to those sites (which Google has conveniently left alone)? From supposed past (and unrelated) “naughtiness”?! Ecocho rattled Google, simple as.

    Google paints this image of “feeding your soul” if you work for them – owning your soul and feeding their pockets more like. Shame on them for turning their back on Ecocho, which I reckon was genuinely trying to do some good, whatever the cynics say.

  16. Emily said

    Goodness gracious who is Jim?

    Whether you believe in global warming or not, surely there is no harm in planting trees?? Why would you prefer Google-folk to just get fatter and fatter on their cash than support a major tree planting project.

    (PS – just realised I am wearing my “plant more trees” t-shirt. How apt! 🙂

  17. Tom said

    Marquez,

    The other searches function because they are giving their money to recognised charities.

    Planting a tree, as admirable as it is, is not a charity. Hence it is incentive based. I can understand why Google pulled out.

    Whether Ecocho had certain discussions with Google is besides the point. Ecocho agreed to terms of use, ecocho violated terms of use, hence google pulled out.

  18. I’m from Italy.
    In Italy there was an article about Ecocho in the website of the most popular newspaper “Corriere della Sera”. It’s one of most visiting italian site. (www.corriere.it)

  19. dutchduc said

    yes, when i first saw ecocho i have maken it my homepage =)

  20. Chris H said

    I still love Ecocho and I am totally in agreement with Emily. They’ve taken some pretty major steps to ensure that the trees are official (how much more could they really have done than only use a government agency? Plus KPMG off their own back, fair enough!) and what would you rather see? Trees get planted or Google get fat? I’m sorry, but global warming or not, carbon offsetting doing good or not, I’d rather see lots of green trees than lots of Google business people pretending that they’re Jesus, saving us all from a boring workplace and a limited Internet.

    Tom, check your facts!! The Google “rules” state that, charity or not, sites shouldn’t encourage people to click on ads for another incentive, be it charity, trees or Britney’s rehab. It doesn’t matter that those other sites are charity, Google pulled the plug on Ecocho for doing EXACTLY the same thing these charity sites do. It’s double standards and Google’s power is simply out of control. Bring on independent control of the Internet. No more Microsoft, no more Google running the totalitarian show. Fairness, please.

  21. Jamy said

    Hallo!
    Great!! Netherlands is in 4th place! Keep going on Netherlands!!!

    Holland de beste!!

  22. Hi Tom,

    Thanks for your post. I apologise for not writing earlier – I have been extraordinarily busy.

    To answer your request, I thought the SMH article lacked some balance. The journalist maintains otherwise and he is entitled to that view. Of course opinions can differ. I would like to correct factual errors in the article, however, and bring to light information that was not published. Users can then make up their own minds.

    The article said: “Google claims it is carbon neutral, whereas the servers powering sites such as Ecocho are not.”

    Ecocho does use carbon-neutral servers. We informed the journalist of this error.

    The article read: “He (Macdonald) would not say how much profit his company was making from the site … ”

    In response to a question about Ecocho’s profit, I said we’d made a loss not a profit. I certainly acknowledged the cost of growing trees would (hopefully) be less than the advertising revenue. Really, how else could we afford to grow trees?

    To be clear, we hope Ecocho will turn a profit. When we first conceived of Ecocho, we crunched numbers and estimated it would need to grow a minimum of 150,000+ trees before even nearing the break-even mark. Ecocho has considerable set-up & operating costs. It will only make profit if we duly grow a very large number of trees. Now that Google has disabled Ecocho, all targets will be harder to achieve and it will likely take longer to plant that number of trees. As for when/if Ecocho makes a profit, the margins will be nothing close to the reported profit margins that Google’s search business achieves. Google is in its own profitability league.

    Also reported in the article: “The benefit of specialist green search engines is questionable because Google itself has invested heavily in green initiatives.”

    We would’ve welcomed an independent expert’s view in the article on whether they thought Ecocho had any benefits. We consulted carbon reduction professionals before we built Ecocho or even approached Google and Yahoo about the idea. Those carbon experts told us that growing 2,000 trees is roughly equivalent as a carbon-reduction benefit to taking 200 cars off the road for a year.

    For the record, we applaud Google and Yahoo for their ‘green-ness’. They should be encouraged. The search technology that powers sites like Ecocho is carbon-neutral according to their staff. So if Ecocho grows trees in addition to that, and it’s also carbon neutral, I can’t see the logic that Ecocho offers no benefits. Ecocho’s 200,000+ visitors presumably saw a similar value-add or they wouldn’t have kept coming back.

    My biggest concern is the article does appear to be a pre-conceived angle in mind from the start. There was no mention of positives such as the large number of trees already funded by Ecocho searches (check the stats on our home page). Nor does the article mention Ecocho’s carbon credit audit process which involves a bona fide auditor, KPMG, for verification purposes. All these factors combined can make an article unbalanced.

    Despite or because of the points above, and from several reactions to the article I’ve received, there appears to be a perception generated that Ecocho offers no benefits. The inference of questionable intentions has also moved beyond Ecocho and onto my own professional and personal reputation.

    I have to admit some of the commentary subsequent to the article has been very unpleasant. I also feel for others that have worked hard on Ecocho when they see or hear some of those comments. Thankfully there is still a lot of support from users.

    If users philosophically disagree with the concept of Ecocho, and whether it adds value, then they shouldn’t use it. Similarly Google Adsense advertisers always had the ability to opt-out of advertising on Ecocho. It’s a standard Google advertiser function. Advertisers and users have always been protected. It’s a simple matter of choice.

    Whatever people think of ‘for-profits’ being involved in environmental or charitable issues is a personal matter. I commend not-for-profits and charities; I support them in my personal life. I also commend businesses that make profits, especially on projects that are trying to do some good.

    I have not hidden but responded to all enquiries from journalists. I have absolutely no problems with journalists asking tough questions but I do think any reporter’s job is to be fair and balanced. Anything that may be subjective should be labelled as such.

    Links to other news pieces are below:

    Google ditches green search engine for planting trees – IT News

    Ecocho in Google’s bad books – Australian IT – Australian IT

    Tree-planting Ecocho search engine dumped by Google – IT Wire

    Google chops down ‘tree planting’ search engine – ZDNet Australia

    Google kills ‘eco’ search engine – The Inquirer

    Google bars new environmentally-friendly search engine – Tech Herald

    Google dumps green search site – PC Pro

    Tom, I also want to say that this response is not a personal attack on the SMH journalist. Being a journalist can be exceptionally hard work. It is deadline driven, tough work, and deciphering spin from fact requires a lot of effort. This journalist should be acknowledged for at least asking the tough questions.

    Ciao,

    Tim Macdonald

  23. Maia said

    Why don’t you “import” Ecocho in Romania?
    Most people are “environmentally-friendly”=)
    Keep going on, Ecocho!!

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