THE BLOG
03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

What If You Could Only See Good Ads Online?

As regular readers of Green Parent Chicago know, we support a less commercialized childhood, favor a return to the outdoors and often feature discussion on pervasive marketing tactics invading our everyday life and destroying our connection to the natural world.

At Green Parent Chicago, from the start we made the decision to only feature businesses that offer ethical alternatives to the multitude of products filling our homes and the earth's landfills with waste, products that support efforts to help level the playing field for workers and the environment.

Recently, DoGood Headquarters contacted us about their new DoGooder browser plug-in that helps people take positive action. We were naturally excited by the prospect of it.

Founded by Faisal M. Sethi and based in Ottawa, the company's free plug-in lets web users turn their browsing into donations that support green initiatives and social change. Sethi says the company plans to donate 50 percent of profits to charitable organizations.

I installed the plug in on my own browser and have been using it for the past week.

Here is how it works:

When a web page loads, any of the standard advertising on that page is hidden by the DoGooder plug-in with calls for philanthropic action, health and wellness ideas, and thoughtful green related initiatives.

There's always the option on any web page to view the original ads by right-clicking and selecting "show original ads", selecting "allow website to ignore DoGood" or by just temporarily disabling the plug-in during a browser session. A number at the bottom of your browser logs how many "good" things you've seen while online.

What's the experience like? For starters, instead of viewing glaring flash ads for the latest ABC primetime cop drama (I don't even own a TV) or the newest Walmart holiday sale, I was greeted by positive words that offered inspiration, action and information on solutions. Quite easily, I had been given back more control over my browsing experience. Several questions soon popped into my mind, so I posed them to Sethi about DoGood and his company's mission:

How do you earn money to donate? I am assuming you sell advertising space with DoGood. Which in turn is donated to charities?

We earn money based on ads, yes, but ads we hope actually have some social value. Eventually, we will be integrating more Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability advertising, more charitable causes, more green oriented companies, et al. From revenue generated from said ads, we will give back 50% of our profits to causes and charities.

The number on the bottom of my browser (Goodie Points), is that mostly for my own satisfaction? The number of Good things I have seen. Does it correlate to any of your statistics or data on use of the plug in?

Yes, the number at the bottom right is there to make you "feel good", but it also does correlate on some level to the amount of funds an individual is generating for revenue back to causes. The more Goodie Points you see, the more money you as an individual are raising. We are working on integrating a system that is more definitive, that is, you have donated "x" amount by surfing the web today, and together, all DoGooder have donated "x" amount.

How is feedback? Positive? What's the most negative assumption you've heard about the DoGooder?

Overwhelmingly positive. It has been outstanding. Not only do end users have control over what, when, and where they see online advertising, people are generally excited about being able to give back to causes without changing a single thing about their daily routines.

I have gotten some really interesting feedback from a few parents that also view the DoGooder has a way to educate their kids, and keep them away from all of the generic, and often offensive online advertising prevalent on the internet.

The most negative thing we have encountered thus far is the notion that we block ads, and thus, are effecting general publishers bottom lines. I've replied to this fallacy a few times over, so if you have questions, kindly read our Publishers Note on our web site. We aren't in the business of shafting people, we are in the business of doing good.

Though the DoGooder is still in beta, the company boasts that they've had over 1500 downloads so far. If the plug-in becomes widely popular, here's hoping DoGood Headquarters will provide a transparent way for users to monitor where profits are being donated to and an updated list of organizations receiving funds.

For more information, or to download and try the DoGooder plug-in visit: http://dogoodhq.com/