Today a talented co worker with a nice smile pointed out a new website online where you could contribute 2 dollars, and they would plant a tree and give you a digital tree on their website. This idea was intended to be a charitable situation, but when it was Sphunn, it caused quite a few negative sphinns, and a lot of venom. ( Update: Unfortunately, It was removed from Sphinn, but I did manage to save a few of the quotes below from the discussion )
Is it ok to take greenback to become Green?
There are a couple of issues at play here, the first one being a morality question. Sassy internet blogger Sugarrae says that she has a problem with this:
Because this was a shady way to promote this, you got called out, now you’re being an asshat about things by trying to justify using a charitable act to earn money. Not cover your costs, but earn money.
In his defense, the creator of the site, Troy Dunn, Director of Web Development at Page1Solutions, rationalizes that
I don’t know how much time the rest of you have spent working for non-profits or raising money for the environement, but it’s not easy. So I came up with a way that benifts website owners and the planet. Not sure what the big deal with that is.
My personal take on it is that I don’t have a problem with people getting a benefit by running a green operation to plant trees. That would be like saying that people shouldn’t get any money back when they recycle…It’s not BAD that they received money for doing a good thing, it’s a good thing they did something positive, it’s just a bonus that they got paid too! What’s your opinion?
The other conflict should be obvious to anyone who has been paying attention to the search engines recently. The problem is that the tree’s he is selling on his site come with a hyperlink. Just think, if he had just left off the link part of the program, he might have avoided this problem all together. However, since it’s now part and parcel of his site, we need to ask what about Google’s stance on paying for links…
There could be a counter argument that any SEO is going to know that only the first few links on the site are going to be worth anything, so in terms of actual seo benefit, it’s a bit questionable. I think that if he adds No-follows to the links, that he will skate past google’s paid link prohibition, and people can still feel good about planting a real tree and a digital tree.
Update: The Sphinn of this article discussion was *I say questionably* removed, I sent an email to Sphin to find out why,
The submission was removed as 5 members of Sphinn marked it as spam.
We do not see it as relevant to Sphinn and it also isn’t a news story
or topic of discussion.
Hmm, “Break Dancing SEO’s” is relevant to sphinn, news story AND a topic of discussion though…
Here is my response to Sphinn:
I disagree with you and think you should reinstate my post: It is a topic of discussion as well as being news worthy:
1. Before you removed the other sphinn discussion there was a large number of SEO industry people involved in debating the post-
2. It’s a discussion of a site that may be considered selling “paid Links” – Absolutely this is a “Topic of Discussion” in the seo industry. Are you saying there is no debate about paid links?
3. The ethical question of utilizing a web charity to make a profit, and also contribute to the environment isn’t “newsworthy”?