“Googling For Good”

Think about how many times a student uses a search engine when they write a research paper. Imagine with each search, a penny was donated to their favorite charity or school – call it searching for charity. Goodsearch.com does just that. Powered by Yahoo Search, the site was created by Ken Ramberg and his sister, JJ, who wanted to give something back to charity. Charities and organizations can register with the Web site so that each time a user selects them, a penny is donated to their organization.

A penny per search may not sound like much, but consider this: If 500 people used GoodSearch 35 times a week for a year, it would add up to $9,100. That’s a lot of money that many charities otherwise wouldn’t see.

USF hasn’t raked in the dough yet, with only a little more than $4 raised through GoodSearch over the past year and a half. Students may choose to support the university by selecting it as their charity and then doing a search through GoodSearch.The creators of the site lost their mother to cancer six years ago and, as Ken said in Fortune Small Business magazine, “became aware of how desperately (cancer-research organizations and hospitals) were in need of funding.”

In 2004, Ken and his sister started working on a way to combine philanthropy with the Internet. By November of the following year, GoodSearch.com was programmed into existence.

Typically when someone uses a search engine, the money raised by clicking on a link goes to the advertising along the sides. With GoodSearch, the advertising dollars from search engines go to the cause designated by the searcher. In 2005, the advertising dollars made by search engines – such as Google, Dogpile and AskJeeves – numbered about $6 billion, according to Fortune Small Business.

“Search engines generated $6 billion in revenue last year (2005), and that’s the revenue we share with the non-profits,” said Ken in an interview with Entrepreneur magazine.

This search engine is invaluable to charities that may not be receiving enough public attention and funds. A feature called Charity of the Day calls attention to a specific charity and provides a link to that charity’s Web site. Even if one isn’t sure where he or she wants the search’s money to go, GoodSearch has a readily accessible list of options, with more than 30,000 to choose from.

Two success stories from the site are Save Darfur, which has raised more than $1,700 dollars since November 2005, and St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital, which has also gathered more than $1,700.

As final research papers start rearing their ugly heads, GoodSearch.com provides a way for students to feel charitable while drudging through those last pages.