Questions and Answers
More about EcoLink
- How do I make Ecosia my search engine?
- You can search with Ecosia by going to www.ecosia.org. You can also make Ecosia your standard search engine – and even the start page for your web browser.How do I do this??
- What exactly are sponsored links?
- Sponsored links are advertisements in text form that appear to the right, above or below the search results. The advertising companies or organizations pay a certain amount to the search engine operator for each click on their advertisement. Bing and Yahoo give a portion of these proceeds to Ecosia.
- Does every search generate revenue for the rainforest or do you have to click on an ad?
- Ecosia finances rainforest protection exclusively through the proceeds from ad clicks. If you never click on advertisements, your Ecosia searches will only indirectly benefit the rainforests. It is not important to us how often a user clicks on ads, however. Using Ecosia instead of a more traditional search engine is already a helpful step: you are demonstrating that environmental protection on the internet is important and thus indirectly supporting the development and dispersion of Ecosia. If you recommend Ecosia to others, it is likely that some of them will click on ads. Additionally, Ecosia keeps people informed on environmentally relevant topics, whose effects on the environment are difficult to ascertain. It is also important to us that users are able to maintain their normal search behavior. Therefore, we make it a point communicate that “Every search supports a piece of the rainforest”, not every advertisement click.
- Can I support Ecosia by conducting many searches and clicking on ads often?
- No. We ask that you only use Ecosia when you actually want to search for something and only click on the ads that you are truly interested in. Artificial searches use unnecessary energy and harm not only the environment, but also Ecosia and our partners. Ecosia filters out all artificial ad clicks and reserves the right to block the IP addresses of these users.
- Is Ecosia free?
- Yes, the use of Ecosia is free.
- How can I support Ecosia?
- Supporting Ecosia is easy: just use it to search the web!In addition, you can tell your friends and acquaintances about Ecosia. We’ve even put together a few ideas to help you.
- What makes the Ecosia search "green"?
- There are two reasons we describe Ecosia searches as "green": first, Ecosia donates at least 80% of its proceeds to a WWF rainforest protection project. Protecting forests is the most effective way to reduce CO2 emissions. Saving a single hectare of rainforest can prevent 600 tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere. Second, Ecosia’s server runs on green electricity – and Ecosia offsets the CO2 generated by Bing’s and Yahoo’s servers. Learn more.
- What kind of green electricity is used by Ecosia’s servers?
- Ecosia’s servers run on green electricity from Greenpeace Energy, which operates under the strict criteria of the non-profit environmental organization Greenpeace. 99% of the server’s energy comes from hydro power, and 1% comes from wind power.
- Do Bing’s and Yahoo’s servers also use green electricity?
- No, only Ecosia’s server is run on green electricity. Thus, Ecosia searches are not conducted using 100% green electricity. Ecosia nonetheless offsets the CO2 released by Bing and Yahoo for Ecosia searches.
- Why the CO2offset?
- Server networks for search engines use an enormous amount of energy. When conventional energy sources are used (such as coal, gas, or oil), carbon dioxide (CO2) is released into the atmosphere and has a harmful effect on the environment. Renewable energy sources (such as wind, water, solar, or biomass) do not generate any direct CO2 emissions. Ecosia’s server runs on green electricity, and Ecosia offsets emissions created by Bing’s and Yahoo’s servers. For every search, Ecosia offsets 0.2 grams of CO2 with help from our partner organization PURE: see the certificate. PURE is a non-profit organization that sells emissions certificates and invests the proceeds in projects aimed at promoting renewable energy sources. Ecosia uses Gold Standard projects exclusively to offset the emissions related to its operations.
- How much electricity does one Ecosia search use?
- One Ecosia search uses just as much energy as a direct search with Bing or Yahoo. However, page loading, which usually occurs through Bing or Yahoo, occurs via Ecosia’s server.
- How much CO2 does one Ecosia search generate?
- Calculating the CO2 emissions of one Ecosia search is unfortunately impossible since Ecosia also accesses external servers. We have therefore decided to balance out 0.2 grams of CO2 per search. This is the same amount of CO2 generated by one Google search, according to Google. If Bing or Yahoo were to calculate and publish their CO2 emissions per search, we would certainly adjust our number accordingly. Ecosia uses Gold Standard projects to offset its emissions due to searches.
- Where do the search results come from?
- Ecosia obtains its search results from our partner Bing.
- Why doesn’t Ecosia have its own search index?
- Developing one’s own search index costs billions. Since we prefer to invest the majority of our profits in rainforest protection efforts, Ecosia has no plans to build our own search index at this time
- Does Ecosia have any influence on the order of search results?
- No, Ecosia does not change the search results provided by Bing.
- How high is the search revenue percentile Ecosia receives from Yahoo?
- The terms of Ecosia’s contract with Yahoo prevent us from publishing a specific percentage. We can assure users, however, that Ecosia receives a very high percentile of Yahoo’s search ad revenue – certainly more than half.
- Can I advertise on Ecosia?
- It’s not possible to advertise directly through Ecosia, as Ecosia takes its search ads exclusively from Yahoo. If you’d like your ads to possibly appear alongside Ecosia searches, we refer you to Yahoo. Ecosia doesn’t offer other forms of advertising such as banner displays.
- Does Ecosia offer its own e-mail service?
- No, it’s not possible to obtain an e-mail address from Ecosia.org at the moment, as a full-fledged e-mail service would require major investment.
- Why am I no longer able to see the number of square meters I've protected?
- During its first year, Ecosia supported the protection of Juruena National Park in the Amazon rainforest - a project of WWF Germany. On average, it cost roughly five (5) euros to maintain one hectare of this park - a realistic yet symbolic figure to help users understand the impact of their participation in the project. Since the relaunch of Ecosia, which took place on December 14th, 2010, donations go to an international rainforest project of the WWF, which benefits the Tumucumaque Conservation Landscape. With this nature reserve, it is no longer possible to associate a specific donation sum with the protection of a certain-sized piece of it. Therefore it is no longer possible to estimate the average number of square meters or yards protected with each search, which is why personal square meter and yard statistics can no longer be displayed. The total donation sum of all Ecosia users - along with actual activities of the WWF - come into focus instead. How do I remove the square-meter counter from my browser?
- Why doesn’t Ecosia work together with Google?
- Google’s criteria for a search partnership prohibit the transfer of advertising proceeds to a third party, including the charitable projects that we work with to protect the rainforest.
- Why is there no black background display on Ecosia?
- Recent analysis has found that black backgrounds are no more likely to save energy than white backgrounds. Old CRT monitors are the only monitors where having a black background results in minimal energy savings.
- Where does the money that Ecosia donates to the WWF go?
- Ecosia supports WWF’s work in the Amazon. The donations flow to the WWF Amazon Initiative, an international WWF priority program implemented by WWF Brazil and are used to protect the Tumucumaque Conservation Landscape.
- Why is protecting the rainforest important?
- Protecting the tropical rainforests is one of the most important challenges of the 21st century. The following facts support this conclusion:
- Rainforests are the most diverse ecosystems on the planet containing more species of plants and animals than all the earth's other ecosystems combined – possibly as many as 30-40 million species – two-thirds of the entire world's wildlife species.
- Tropical forests are the Earth's oldest ecosystems. Fossil records show that the forests of South-East Asia have survived in their present form for at least 70 million years.
- A single hectare of tropical rainforest may contain 200 tree species. The same area of temperate forest typically contains only 10 to 15 species.
- Rainforests act as giant reservoirs of moisture and warmth, releasing water throughout the year as the perennial streams and rivers that support the lives of billions of people, meeting the needs of 40%of the farmers in the developing countries.
- Rainforests worldwide are home to an estimated 50 million indigenous forest peoples.
- Tropical deforestation is the second largest cause of climate change.
- Rainforests contain medicines – an estimated one in four of all purchases from pharmacies in countries such as Britain contain an active ingredient derived from a tropical forest species.
- Many prescription drugs currently sold worldwide come from plant-derived sources. And while 25% of Western pharmaceuticals are derived from rainforest ingredients, less than 1% of tropical trees and plants have been tested by scientists.
- The US National Cancer Institute has identified 3,000 plants that are active against cancer cells. 70% of these plants are found in the rainforest. Some 25% of the active ingredients in today's cancer-fighting drugs come from organisms found only in the rainforest.
- Despite their immense importance, rainforests are highly endangered by logging operations. Within the last 50 years more than half of the rainforests vanished. Every year a rainforest area larger than England is cut down!
- To whom does the protected rainforest belong?
- The rainforest that Ecosia helps support belongs neither to Ecosia nor the WWF. The protected area is part of a national park and thus belongs to the Brazilian government.
- Why don’t Ecosia and the WWF purchase the rainforest?
- Purchasing a rainforest is only possible when the space is acutely threatened and the national government refuses any form of assistance. The WWF and other organizations have developed intense exchanges with the Brazilian authorities. The success of this strategy is observable. Brazil has put 43% of the Amazon under protection or designated it as indigenous habitat. The deforestation numbers in the Amazon have regressed since 2004. Some 19% of the Amazon has been irrevocably destroyed. The remaining 38% – two and a half million square meters – is greatly endangered. In order to save as much of this land as possible, it is important to work with local governments and to explain the importance of the rainforests, while giving local populations helpful economic perspectives and options.
- Is there enough rainforest left to protect?
- There is. The total area of the Amazon rainforest is around seven million square kilometers – one third of the world’s total rainforest area.
- Who is behind Ecosia? .
- Ecosia GmbH and Ecosia.org operate as an independent, non-profit website. At least 80% of Ecosia’s proceeds go towards the WWF’s rainforest protection program. Learn more
- What exactly is a social business?
- A Social Business is a business that focuses not on maximizing profit, but on solving a societal problem. Unlike a charitable organization, we work just like a traditional business. That means that we do not depend on donations. Instead we generate money through the provision of services offered on the market. As with a traditional business, the costs for employees, administration, advertising and IT are finances by our own revenues. Unlike profit-orientated businesses, profits remain within the company and go towards solving societal problems or towards improving our services. A social business rejects speculative profits, which come from, among other things, the sale of the business. More about Ecosia’s Business Values.
- How do Social Businesses influence our economic system?
- The idea for this form of enterprise came from Nobel Peace Prize recipient Muhammed Yunus. The aim of the concept was to widen our current economic system to include a more human component in order to make it more sustainable and fair in a time of dwindling resources and increasing natural catastrophes. In the meantime, there are many social businesses throughout the world. A small collection of interesting links regarding social business:
- What has Ecosia achieved so far?
- In its first year, Ecosia was able to donate 125.000 Euro for the protection program in Juruena National Park! Since December 2010, Ecosia has supported Tumucumaque National Park, also located in the Amazon. Information about the progress of these projects can be found here.In addition, Ecosia works together with reputable partners and is supported by a number of businesses and organizations. Information about user numbers and donation totals can be found on the Statistics Page.
- How do I know that Ecosia actually donates 80% of its earnings?
- Ecosia’s goal is to be as transparent as possible. That’s why we release monthly business reports and receipts for donations to the WWF.
- Is Ecosia monitored by any independent institutions?
- As a business, Ecosia has assigned a certified accountant to help keep the numbers under control. An independent monitor would cost Ecosia thousands of euros. Because of this, Ecosia has decided against an audit for now. Instead, Ecosia publishes monthly audited balance sheets. The certificate confirms that these exact numbers are communicated to the tax authorities. Should any of these statements be false, Ecosia would be subject to the consequences under German law.
- What does Ecosia do with the 20% of revenues that is not donated?
- Ecosia uses the 20% of ad revenues that are not donated for monthly expenditures and investment costs. Ecosia uses the entire 20% for these purposes. If we no longer require the full 20% in the future, Ecosia will raise its donation level.
- Why was Forestle.org discontinued?
Starting January 1 2011, all search queries to www.Forestle.org will be automatically redirected to Ecosia. Forestle was the first green search engine founded by Christian Kroll and saw two-and-a-half very exciting and successful years:
Launched in August 2008, the fledgling project Forestle grew rapidly with Google as its search index and ad partner. Google backed out as donation sums went up, however, and Christian was forced to seek a replacement service. Yahoo Germany signed on immediately, and Forestle resumed operations in November 2008, after which the green search continued to grow within Germany, Austria and Switzerland. But it soon became clear that with more than 100,000 users and more on the way, Forestle was showing international potential. In December 2009, Christian founded the globally-accessible green search engine Ecosia.
Forestle was able to donate 95,000 EUR to its Adopt an Acre rainforest protection program run by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in Costa Rica. The sum accounted for a sustainably protected area of more than 10 square kilometers!
In order to optimally grow the charitable power of our green search alternative, we’ve decided to discontinue Forestle – despite its remarkable success story – in favor of the newly-relaunched Ecosia.
- I don’t see any sponsored links. What is the problem?
- There are a few potential reasons for this. Please review the following options sequentially:
- Some search terms do not have any sponsored links. Try searching for a term such as „DVD“ to see if ads are being shown.
- Deactivate your ad-blocker. If you use an ad-blocker (such as AdblockPlus), you can go into the settings and allow ads for Ecosia.
- It’s possible that your proxy server blocks certain types of ads for all users in the network. Please contact the administrator and ask them to check and/or remove the block on ads from Ecosia.
- In some countries, Ecosia is only available in a Beta version (without sponsored links). The quality of the search results is not affected, so you can still use Ecosia.
- Why does my square meter counter no longer run?
- During Ecosia’s first year, users could protect a symbolic average of two square meters of rainforest per search. Since the introduction of the second version of Ecosia on 14.12.2010, this symbolic equivalent is no longer accurate - learn why here.
This is why the square meter counter in the status bar of your browser (bottom right), which previously displayed your personal protection statistics, no longer runs.
While we’re unable to automatically uninstall the counter for you, the following instructions will help you do so:
- My country and language settings were not saved. What can I do?
- When you visit www.ecosia.org, we try to automatically identify your country and language in order to deliver optimal search results – although sometimes this isn’t possible. If this is the case, you can choose your country manually. The setting will be saved on your computer as a cookie. If your browser does not support cookies and the automatic identification fails, you can access the country-specific Ecosia website. In Spain, for example, this website is www.ecosia.es.
- Ecosia cannot find my website or fails to display it. What can I do?
- Please contact Bing or Yahoo if your website fails to show up or is falsely displayed in Ecosia’s search results. Since Ecosia does not generate the search index itself, we cannot influence the order of search results or their descriptions.
- Is there a mobile version of Ecosia?
- Not just yet! But we’re working on it: a mobile version of Ecosia, as well as apps for smartphones, will be available as soon as possible.
- How can I embed an Ecosia search on my website?
Here you'll find a ZIP file containing various predefined Ecosia search boxes. You or your website administrator can easily integrate these into your website. You're also more than welcome to use the Ecosia logo.
If you want your only your website searched, please use the following link: http://ecosia.org/search.php?q=[XXX]+site:yourdomain.com&source=external.
In addition to that you can support Ecosia by integrating Ecosia ads into the search page of your website. Please use the following URL for the JSON query: http://ecosia.org/ads.php?q=[xxx]&source=external
- How do I remove Ecosia as my standard search engine?
- Click on „Tools“ in the menu bar
- Select “Add-ons”
- Select the Ecosia add-on from the list
- Click the “Uninstall” button
- Click on the tool icon in the upper right-hand corner
- Select “Preferences”
- Select the tab “Extensions”
- Select the Ecosia extension
- Click the “Uninstall” button
- Click on “Start” and select“Control Panel“
- Click on “Remove Software”
- Select „Ecosia Plugin“ from the list and click “uninstall”
- (Sometimes you will have to close Internet Explorer and confirm with “OK”)
More about EcoLink
- What exactly is an EcoLink and how does it work?
Have questions about EcoLink? Check out this short video to see how it works:
EcoLinks are affiliate links integrated into Ecosia’s search results. Every time you make a purchase or take advantage of other relevant offers (i.e. sign a cell phone contract) via an EcoLink, the affiliate business pays a commission to Ecosia.
This is all at no extra cost to the shopper!
As usual, at least 80 percent of Ecosia’s income from EcoLinks goes to support WWF’s work in the Amazon. Here you can monitor just how much EcoLinks have generated for the environment.
- How high are commission rates from EcoLinks?
The commission rates for purchases made via EcoLinks vary greatly – although they generally fall between 2 and 5 percent of the purchase price. To give you an idea of how this pans out, here are some sample purchases and their typical donation yield:
- $20 book purchase at Amazon: ~ 1 USD donation
- $100 pair of shoes from Zappo.com: ~ 5 USD donation
- $500 vacation on Expedia: ~ 30 USD donation
- Cellular phone contract: ~ 50 USD donation
- Who pays the commissions generated by EcoLinks?
- The affiliate businesses pay the commissions generated by EcoLinks. There is no extra cost for the user. Furthermore, commission sums are not added to the purchase price of the product, but rather covered by marketing costs that are generally built into the price of the product.
- Should I get a confirmation when I have shopped via an EcoLink?
- No. When you visit a shop via one of Ecosia’s EcoLinks, then you can rest assured that Ecosia will automatically receive the commission from your purchase.
- Does EcoLink represent “green” shops and products?
- No. EcoLink does not exclusively represent web shops that sell explicitly “green” products, rather EcoLinks generate additional donations for the rainforest, thus helping to protect the environment.
- Can I deactivate EcoLink?
- EcoLinks generate additional revenue for the rainforest. Should you still wish to deactivate them, you can do so here.
- How do EcoLinks benefit the businesses behind them?
The EcoLink solution benefits everyone involved in a number of ways. Businesses expose themselves to an entirely new form of search engine marketing that bypasses the classic battle for the “first position” or even keyword games. With the automatic visual accentuation provided by EcoLinks (bold typefont, gray background, “EcoLink” label), search ads enjoy more visibility regardless of their position in a list of search results – as well as the equalization of click rates (60 to 80 percent in the first position). In some cases, EcoLinks are even listed before normal websites.
This is how EcoLink websites differentiate themselves from the competition and offer potential customers the chance to support WWF’s work in the Amazon with a purchase at the same time. And not only do EcoLink shops gain more business – they’re also helping to protect the environment.
EcoLink is voluntary, both for businesses and for users, and may be deactivated at any time. If you would like to deactivate EcoLinks for your website, simply pull up the “opt-out” webpages from Skimlinks or from Viglink.
(If you’re not sure whether to deactivate EcoLinks with Skimlinks or Viglink, check in the source code of the Ecosia search site – there should be a note next to the link to your site should containing either the string „rel=skimlinks“ or „rel=viglink“.)