After my research to determine if Banner Topper was a scam, I decided to keep the detective hat on and turn my attention to GoodSearch.com.
The Question: Is GoodSearch Legitimate?
The Claim: One cent for every search you conduct using Goodsearch.com is donated to the charity of your choice.
The Catch: There are exclusions.
A quick look at the frequently asked questions section reveals a laundry list of searches that don’t contribute to your cause. Let’s run through each, along with our best guess as to what they mean:
- Image Searches: Any search the user makes from the image search tab.
- Video Searches: Any search the user makes from the video search tab.
- Search this Site: Searches using the internal search on a website with a custom search box.
- URL Searches: Search terms ending in .com, .org, .net, .edu, etc.
- Searches for Popular Sites: Any search for a site with a well-known URL such as Facebook, Gmail, Twitter, ESPN, YouTube, LinkedIn, etc.
- “Also Try” Searches: After a search is conducted, these are suggested terms that appear above the results with similar search phrases.
- “Trending” Searches: After a search is conducted, these are suggested terms that appear on the left of the search results page.
- “Related Searches: After a search is conducted, these are suggested terms that appear at the bottom the search results page.
- Fraudulent Searches: Any searches generated from fraudulent use of the site. No further detail was provided but all search engines are faced with similar issues regarding users or bots trying to overload their systems with invalid searches.
- Same Term Searches: A searches for the same term within a 24 hour period. Once a logged-in user searches for the term, all subsequent searches for the same term that day will not count toward the search total.
According to a GoodSearch representation, Word Definition Searches and Stock Quote Searches, which are also listed as exclusions on the FAQ page, are now valid search types.
The most concerning exclusion is “popular sites” such as Facebook. According to Google’s keyword tool, there are approximately 277,000,000 searches each month in the U.S. for Facebook. Another popular site, YouTube, receives over 83,000,000 searches a month. GoodSearch does not publish the criteria for sites deemed as “popular” and a comprehensive list has not been provided. When asked, the GoodSearch representative noted that this exclusion includes, “the top 20 or so most popular sites.” This leaves the door open for GoodSearch to subjectively exclude any high traffic sites they choose which could dramatically decrease the volume of donations if the list grows.
Our other concern is that this search engine is powered by Yahoo. If you prefer using Google for your day-to-day searches, you’ll likely notice different types of search results that some would argue are less relevant.
Aside from the “popular sites” exclusion, GoodSearch appears to be a legitimate way for an individual to raise a modest amount of money for their preferred charity.