Commercializing "Good Deeds"

I'm horrified by some companies. The way they abuse the public's sympathy for the people in Asia who were hit by the tsunami last Boxing Day is really bad taste. The one action I'm most horrified by, is Ilse's latest scam. They will donate €0.01 for each search with their search engine and they "hope to reach the €10,000 in three days"! It's insulting and really, really bad taste, that a company would abuse such a disaster to get more hits.

If they really care for the victims, they should just donate the €10,000. Why try to misguide people to use their search engine in the guise of helping those people? They don't earn €0.01 for each search, I tell you. It's not a matter of "collecting the payment", it's a matter of "hey, if you help us get more popular, we'll donate some pocket change to your favourite good cause at the moment!".

Don't get me wrong, there are enough commercial efforts to help the people in Asia, but not like this. When one sends an SMS to a certain number, €1.50 gets added to your phone bill and €1.50 will be added to giro 555 (the bank account from the Dutch Coöperating Aid Organisations). Next thursday three tv stations will colaborate in an effort to raise money for the same bank account and there will surely be lots of ads shown there, if just to pay for such an event. That's commercial, but I don't mind that (although I probably will not be watching, since more and more people are saying there's already enough money collected and I payed my share).

I consider Ilse's action absurd and a show of really really bad taste. We want to help the people in Asia because we feel connected to them, the world is getting smaller and smaller because of modern communication and transportation. There are reports of people abusing the disaster for their own gain, but those are individuals. But a legitimate company who does this? It's just plain improper. I'm ashamed Ilse started from Interlink, a group of students whom I had the privilege with to be a part of for several years.

What are those people thinking? shakes head sadly


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