15 January, 2009

Spinning A Carbon Web

Some schemes calling themselves "green" are a bit umm...   dubious perhaps.  There's a site where you go and get to watch videos; and that is supposed to generate "carbon points" and donations to your favourite charity and cash for you.

I initially logged in there and poked around, but there seems to be very little to their site that looks like it could generate the kind of revenue that means that they can offer the readers money, (or offer to pay money to charities on behalf of the reader,) and put money into the carbon offset projects they claim to be supporting.  The carbon offset projects themselves are dubious, as with most carbon offset projects, and I noticed that most seem to be pretty unknown to the world in general. These things make me wonder about what the real point of the site is.

There's another reason I find this place to be a bit dubious.  Considering how much it costs each time you do a Google search, perhaps this isn't the way to achieve greenness.  If you're not making a lot of money to begin with (likely scenario) and out of that you're paying staff wages, server hosting costs, electricity costs; and you then take what's left of the money and apply that to some dubious carbon offsetting scheme; and assuming that the amount of offsetting that can take place for your fiscal input is going to be quite small; then you have to ask yourself "did that just cover even the carbon cost of running our servers, and the accommodations of our staff, and our office?" and most likely you'll find that you've just put your wage in your pocket, and cost the earth a bit more greenhouse gas emissions than you saved.

But what really clinches it is this superyoubeaut email I got, exhorting me to get back in there and generate my share of carbon emissions, suck down my share of "it's not advertising it's serious videos", and I could be the next person to create my bit of instant wealth.  All that was missing was a Netherlands address to send my details to, honestly...

Hi Ted,
We wanted to inform you that we have a new winner in Save the Planet and Win!
He participated in a Movic Records promotion that consisted of watching music videos to offset his carbon, and won the grand cash prize offered.
Click Green and Win is green entertainment that rewards the planet!
Every time you view an ad or video from a Click Green and Win promotion, sponsors will thank you by:
- Neutralizing a portion of your personal carbon footprint with accredited carbon offsets.
- Supporting your favorite social causes with sponsor money.
- You also earn real-live cash every time, or trade points for more carbon offsets.
- You are entered for a chance to win Grand Cash Prizes instantly.
For a list of other lucky winners, please access www.savetheplanetandwin.com and go to our "Winners" section inside the "Community" label.
Remember that with Save the Planet and Win the earth is always the big winner... but you can run a close second!
Thanks for being part of the Solution!
The Save the Planet and Win team. 

Want me to take you seriously?  Seriously?  Then if you're sending one of these "we have a WWIINNAAHHHHHHH!" emails, either mention the name of the wwiinnaahhhh (it's kind of de rigeur for these kinds of announcements,) or else leave all gender references out and make the point that the winner wished to remain anonymous, so that I can at least half believe this crap.

Oh - and saying to go to the site and see the "other lucky winners" is just a blatant ploy to get hits on the homepage, so you can point out to your customers (the ones making the videos and wanting exposure for them) how many people are seeing their product.

Go there if you want to feed their hit counter, and decide for yourself if it's spam, scam, or something real.

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