Google has decided to fall back from a partnership with an eco-friendly startup. A week ago, Google partnered with Forestle, a Germany-based search engine whose purpose is saving the rainforest. All the income originated from ad clicking, except for 5% in administrative costs, was to be delivered to the Nature Conservancy, an organization that is protecting and trying to regenerate ecologically important lands since its founding in 1951. Forestle uses the main features of Google's search engine, which, as far as searches are concerned, makes it deliver the same accurate results.
So, for those who wanted to lend a hand at saving the planet, using Forestle instead of Google would have been a nice thing to do. Sadly, things didn't turn out as planned. After just four days of working together, the Mountain View-based company sent an email to its partner, announcing that all collaboration between them had come to an end. The reason cited was that Forestle had infringed Google's advertising system policy, which stipulated that websites hosting ads served by Google's AdSense were not allowed to encourage users to click on them.
The search giant said that Forestle offered “incentives to click artificially on sponsored links.” However, the startup claimed that this accusation was not supported by facts, as the company always displayed a note reading, “only click on Google sponsored links if you are really interested in them. You harm Forestle, Google and the advertising companies with artificial clicking.” Moreover, the money that the green search engine received came directly from the searches performed with it. Revenues from advertising were not as important as Google believed, Forestle explained.
The environment-focused firm even went as far as to offer what can only be the most interesting reason for which Google backed out of the partnership: jealousy. “In our opinion Google ended the partnership, because Forestle became too successful: Yesterday [August 28] we earned almost 200 USD and saved more than 4,000 square meters of rainforest!” Somehow, it's hard to believe that the success of an ecological initiative would instigate such a feeling with Google – just as it is nearly impossible to grasp the very idea that $200 USD is a sum to stir such a controversy, especially with such a giant as Google is.