Clicks for A Cause – A NonProfit Search Engine

Think about how many times a day you use Google. Any time you want to look up a new recipe for dinner, or check for the hundredth time if you should be using there, their, or they’re in the paper you’re writing, you always end up with the same conclusion to just “google it.” I sometimes believe in the phrase

Since everyone takes the same course of action for any question they might have, Google makes billions of dollars off advertising. Normally that would just be called becoming successful, but what if another site provided the same service, but donated all the money they made to help the world. Now that success could be shared with the world.

Introducing Benelab

Benelab is a student startup that does just that.

A Genuine Creator

So who is the creator of this startup that takes a billion dollar idea and tweaks it for good? That would be none other than Jack Kim, a student that used his skills from a high school web design class to create the non profit search engine. He even gives an honest and relatable reason why he started it as he explains, ”The reason for the nonprofit was that I really didn’t care much about making money – I mean, I didn’t have to feed myself, and experience was the only thing to gain. Alongside Kim is a small team of 10 of his classmates, each of which he lured into the project by sayingyou know it really wouldn’t hurt to say in your college apps that you helped found a nonprofit web startup in high school. I think something about that statement really hit home with the potential teammates and thus Benelab was born.

Minimal Effort Required

Why does this idea have such great potential?  Benelab generates funds while we do something we all do each and every day: search. It barely requires you to go out of your way to make an impact in the world. Everybody takes the time to do a simple search whenever they don’t know the answer to something, so why not just bring that act to a different site. This way you put in no extra effort, but if many people make the switch all the money made will be reinvested in our world.

Starting Off Small with Room to Grow

While this may be the first you’ve heard of Benelab, users have already flocked to it and have shown how powerful this tool can be. In the month of May, the Benelab team took to their blog to show how much of a profit was made, and where they decided to donate the money that month. For that month they choose the Ronald McDonald House, and were able to donate $330.

And in June they raised $400 to purchase and send 20 hand-powered LED lanterns to Peru.

(Images from here)

Although that is not nearly as much as what Google makes in a month, it is a start. They were able to help out some great causes and will only continue to grow and donate.

Room to Improve

You may be thinking, “if this invention is so great then why is everyone not already using it”? Well, I always thought the idea was great, but during the time I took to test out Benelab I did notice a few shortcomings. Some of these weaknesses stem from that fact that Benelab uses Bing’s API instead of Google’s API. Now, people already use Google over Bing because they like it better, so a new product that builds off the lesser of the two is not an easy sell. This search engine is not as lightening fast as Google, as I found it takes about 2 seconds to complete a search on Benelab as apposed to .36 seconds on Google. Now after researching the benefits that Benelab can bring to our world, I think that is a small price to pay.

Why You Should Still Give Benelab a Chance

The technicalities of each search engine will very likely improve as time goes on, but what they stand for will remain the same. I believe that Benelab can grow and compete with the “big dogs” because if more people become aware of their site and what it stands for, they will want to make the change. If you are willing to make the change, change your homepage to Benelab and continue to search away.


What is Etsy & Why Your Startup Should Join

Etsy may be well known to the 16 year old girl who is obsessed with buying vintage jewelry, but do you have a clue what it is ?

Etsy has been up and running since 2005, but has recently been getting a lot of hype with online shoppers. It is an online store thats mission is “enable people to make a living making things, and to reconnect makers with buyers.” Now this may seem to appeal more to the artsy part of society,   but I can attest that those who posses zero artistic talent can still enjoy what the site has to offer.

Selective Selection

Now, the difference between Etsy and the big dogs, such as eBay or Amazon, is the type products that are sold. “Etsy is an online buyer and seller community of strictly hand-crafted or vintage goods” Etsy is putting the importance back on quality over quantity. Now, if you outsource your product to a factory in Indonesia, then you should pass on getting set up on this site. They look into how the products are made and want to ship out one of a kind products.

Not Just a Little Fish in a Big Pond

The Internet is a giant space filled with millions of people trying to sell you products. The likelihood that somebody will notice your product without advertising is very small, and in essence you are a small fish in the world’s ocean. With Etsy, everything is a little more centralized. You are still a new brand, but this website removes a lot of the clutter from the Internet and has your products competing with fewer others. The Etsy website also already has a large community built, so before you even think about adding your business the customers are already there. This gives you a much larger platform to be discovered than just your own independent website floating around.

If you want to attract more attention, check out these Etsy tips for getting your goods noticed and sold.

A Site that Wants You to Succeed.

Now because Etsy puts such value on selling homemade and vintage products, I already get the feeling that there are not heartless business people at the forefront of this company. It seems that they want each merchant to succeed because there are a lot of accesible tool to make this happen. Using an Etsy store is a lot easier than manually setting up and maintaing your own website. Now removing work is great, but I think the Etsy blog is where this company really goes out of the way to help the sellers. They feature different sellers and create blog posts on how to acheive success on their site. The Etsy team clearly knows what works and sells on their site, and share these tips through posts such as Etsy Success: Product Photography for Beginners.

(Picture from here)

It Doesn’t Stop at E-commerce

Etsy’s youtube channel provides a long list of instructional videos including the “How-Tuesday” playlist which shares use do it yourself ideas.

So are you convinced ? Before you go over to Etsy to start shopping check out 6 Ways to Save Money on Etsy !