Green Lipstick, Pigs, & What your webmaster doesn't know!Thursday December 04 2008 (tagged: webology)
There's obvious opportunity for today's businesses to market themselves to a "green" niche. Whether you're GE selling poison CFL's or a BP selling gasoline, it seems that the lipstick for today's pigs can be any shade of green.
I came across a local home builder and real estate site specializing in "green" building techniques. It's brilliant that they've found something to set themselves apart from their competition. Their web site explains the green certifications they have in their industry and the care that they have for the planet. Their web site does a really good job of gaining empathy points with would be customers.
So what's the downside? Well let me explain. In their green promotion zeal, this company has created an all black web site ala Blackle.com illustrating just how committed to green they are. Blackle suggests that by using their site that there will be less energy used than using Google, and hence this company was trying to copy the idea. Use their site (as opposed to their competition) and you will be helping to save the Earth. Collectively, there will less of an impact on the environment via energy savings
The problem is that there's some false information presented on the site. It breaks down like this.
- Google does not own Blackle
- Black web pages use more energy than white.
- The incentive to use Blackle doesn't translate to a real estate web site.
The searches from Blackle are part of Google's Custom Search which has the added benefit making money for the owners of Blackle via AdSense for Search. You can Read Google's response to Blackle on their Official Blog.
The science is in, energy savings to be had from serving black web pages is not good science when it comes to modern lcd panels. Setting your homepage to Blackle or this company's web site will cause more energy consumption than Google's web site.
Blackle suggests that using their site may be positive for the environment. For Blackle, the whole premise was a gimmick to drive the number of searches to use their ad compensated search. People use search engines daily. The more people that Blackle convinces to use their site instead of Google works for everyone involved. Blackle gets the revenue, the end user get search results (and a warm feeling for saving the planet) and Google... well they get the searches and revues to begin with.
Many people set search engines as their start page. Blackle simply suggested book marking them as a preferred start point instead of Google, Yahoo, etc. This selling point doesn't translate too well for a real estate web site. Maybe this would make sense if the site had some incentive for the users to come back like for instance "a real estate search" mechanism.
These myths presented as fact, undermine the green focus of their business model. Bottom line is that this tactic, casts some doubt on this companies real "expertise" in areas of environmental conservation. I don't think this is what the owner or webmaster intended.
I don't want to turn this into bash fest (which is why I don't link to the company here). The design implementation is almost 10 years out of date, which is notable espcially since the W3C recently released Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0.
BTW - I emailed the webmaster and the company owner with this information over 2 week ago. No change, No response so far.