Type of site
|Available in||English and 26 others|
|Owner||Christian Kroll via Ecosia GmbH|
|Created by||Christian Kroll|
|Alexa rank||758 (January 2018)|
|Launched||7 December 2009|
Ecosia is a web search engine based in Berlin, Germany, which donates 80% of its surplus income to non-profit organizations that focus on reforestation and conservationism. Ecosia considers itself a social business, is CO2-neutral, claims to support full financial transparency, protects the privacy of its users and is certified by B-Lab as a benefit corporation. According to Ecosia, over 44.1 million trees have been planted with its support as of December 9th 2018.
The search engine at launch originally provided a combination of search results from Yahoo!, technologies from Bing and Wikipedia. Ads were delivered by Yahoo! as part of a revenue sharing agreement with Ecosia. The search engine also used to provide Google searches but generated no revenue for Ecosia.
Microsoft Bing now provides Ecosia with its search results. It is currently available as a web browser or mobile app on Android and iOS devices.
Ecosia shows advertisements next to its search results, and is paid by partners every time a user is directed to an advertiser via a sponsored link. A single search on Ecosia raises approximately half a Euro cent (0.005 EUR).
Ecosia supports country-based country filtering but does not support the displaying of worldwide information as of July 2016.
Ecosia uses 80% of its profits from advertising revenue to support tree planting projects. In October 2018, founder Christian Kroll announced that he has given part of his shares over to the Purpose Foundation. As a result, Kroll and Ecosia co-owner Tim Schumacher gave up their right to sell Ecosia or take any profits out of the company.
Ecosia first launched on 7 December 2009 to coincide with UN climate talks in Copenhagen. Over time, Ecosia has supported various tree-planting programs. Until December 2010 Ecosia's funds went to a program by WWF Germany that protected the Juruena National Park in the Amazon basin. To protect this area, the organizers drew up and financed plans with timber companies and the local communities.
By 2011, the search engine had raised over EUR250,000. In 2013, about 200,000 people were using Ecosia, and 116,000 seedlings had been funded by Ecosia's donations.
From July 2013 to September 2014, Ecosia donated to the Plant a Billion Trees program run by The Nature Conservancy, which the program aimed to restore the Brazilian Atlantic Forest by planting one million native trees by 2015.
According to B-labs, as of January 2015, "In donating 80 percent of its ad revenue, the search engine has raised over $1.5 million for rainforest protection since its founding in December 2009." According to Ecosia, by 2015, the search engine had almost 2.5 million active users and had planted more than 2 million trees.
In May 2015, Ecosia was shortlisted for The Europas, the European Tech Startups Awards, under the category Best European Startup Aimed At Improving Society.
As of April 2016, Ecosia ranks in the top 2 start-up for Germany in the StartupRanking. In July 2017 it had 5.5 million active users and 10 million planted trees. As of October 2018, it has reached 7 million active monthly users, with Alexa ranking Ecosia as the 127th biggest website in Germany.
As of October 2018, Ecosia had planted over 42.4 million trees throughout the world. About two-thirds of these trees were planted in the previous year. Ecosia currently has one or more projects in the following countries: Peru, Nicaragua, Colombia, Haiti, Brazil, Morocco, Spain, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Madagascar, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Kenya and Indonesia.
In October 2018, Ecosia launched a regenerative agriculture competition in cooperation with Richard Perkins.
On October 9th 2018, Ecosia offered EUR1 million to buy the Hambach Forest from German energy company RWE AG to save it from being cut down for lignite mining. Ecosia previously urged users to switch to renewable energy providers.
As of July 21, 2017, the web browser Brave has featured Ecosia as a default search option. With the release of version 26 (on January 26, 2016), the Pale Moon web browser added Ecosia as a default, as did version 8 of the Polarity web browser on February 15, 2016. Ecosia is the default search engine of the Waterfox web browser since version 44.0.2. Since version 1.9, Vivaldi has included Ecosia as a default search engine option. In March 2018, Firefox 59.0 added Ecosia as a search engine option for the German version.
Some sites such as 2-spyware.com, virusspywarecleaner.com and uninstallmalwaretips.com accuse Ecosia of being a "browser hijacker" and a "virus". Ecosia has responded saying that: these websites accuse a large number of companies of creating "malware", tricking users into buying an (often harmful) anti-malware program and installing it on their computer.
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