Non-Governmental Imagination

GoodTree Founder Responds to “Pointed Scrutiny” and Scam Allegations
November 7, 2006, 9:17 am
Filed under: GoodTree, Imagination, Resources

James Currier, the founder of GoodTree, responded to two of my posts about GoodTree in the comments. I thought I would put his comments, verbatim, in a post so they can be read more easily by all. I’m tired so I won’t analyze it tonight, but here is the response from An Open Letter To GoodTree:

Hi, this is James Currier, the founder of GoodTree. Sorry we didn’t get back to you. We’ve been suprised by the popularity of the site, and have been rushing to put the infrastructure in place to make it a real company that responds to emails and/or blog posts in a prompt way. We now have a person answering emails, which we didn’t before.

I’ve responded, finally, to your post, it’s comment #14 and it’s long. I’ve tried to address all the concerns. The basic story is you were the first to blog about us and we’re not ready for scrutiny, so my apologies.

We hope to build a valuable and respected service, and I hope we can soon bury these negative posts with positive posts.

and from Goodsearch vs. GoodTree:

Hello, this is James Currier, the founder of GoodTree. We are indeed legitimate, although we are not yet fully up to speed as a company, which accounts for the problems you’re having finding out more about us, the typos, etc. We’re still only three guys. We are not ready for your pointed scrutiny! My apologies.

We detail GoodTree more here: The site includes full disclosure about how monies are earned and disbursed, it includes our address in San Francisco, and several places to email us. We’re responding to email much faster now. We’re also adding to the About Us and the FAQ everyday.

As we say on our website, we give 50% of the money to charity, not 25%. We have our address on our site, and you can email us anytime. We don’t yet have enough people to answer a phone number promptly yet, so we haven’t put one on the site, but we hope to in as soon as we can handle it.

We’re sending out the first checks to the charities this month (from activity on the GoodTree site in July – August) totaling close to $9,000.

We’re hiring independent auditors so you can know we are accounting properly and paying the charities. We will also be publishing our financials on the site so you can see we are being totally transparent about what goes on and how it works. Until the last few weeks, we didn’t have any financials to publish or audit. We’re just getting going.

We are not using any of the charities’ names or logos in our promotional copy or marketing and any charity that doesn’t want to be included is free to opt out.

We are contacting each charity by phone and with a check in the mail, although we haven’t reached all of them yet. Every charity we’ve talked to so far is happy to be involved and receive checks. Iamgo, which non-profit do you represent?

We will be developing a set of UK charities for the UK, Canadian charities for Canadians, Australian charities for Australians and Indian charities for Indians. We’ll add other countries as requests come in.

There is no press on us because as you have pointed out, we are not ready. We’ve just been proving to ourselves that the concept will work and we can provide the right software systems to support it. Once again, the blogging community is scooping the traditional press. But there is a reason I have refused to talk to journalists: We’re not ready!

As the GoodTree website explains, our results are the combination of Google results, Yahoo results, Microsoft results and results. The aggregation of those results and the backend work is done for us by InfoSpace, a public company based in Seattle, WA, USA.

We are working to build different displays for search results so people can choose the format that feels right to them. If you don’t like the results layout the way we have it now, we hope to provide you with alternative in the coming weeks.

We will be publishing a blog, describing the ongoing efforts to bring GoodTree to life, and do good in the world.

We have 3 ways of letting people spread the word. One of them is to send an email to the people in their address book on Yahoo, Hotmail and Gmail. In order for people to access their address books, they need to log in to those address books, so yes, they enter their email and password, but we do not save anyone’s passwords. This is a very common practice used by many online companies. We are not a phishing site, we are not trying to get your information.

We are trying to build a very useful and safe web service that lets lots of regular people contribute to charities without it costing them anything, and hopefully encouraging them to get more involved in doing good (we’re coming out with more features by the end of November so people can find each other and take inspiration from each other).

I hope our slow start doesn’t turn too many people off in the future. We are taking action on the things you are questioning here, and we ARE sending money to charities in exactly the formula we present on the site. Thank you for your patience,

James Currier

Even though I commented today that I thought GoodTree was probably a scam, it seems to me now as though they are legitimate, albeit remarkably slow to respond to their community.  Let’s hope they build a tool that’s worthy of their buzz that does well for them and for the bureaucratic large charities which they support.

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[…] Update: James Currier, founder of GoodTree, responded.  See the comments below or this post: […]

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[…] Update: James Currier, founder of GoodTree, responded.  See the comments below or this post: Tags: GoodSearch, GoodTree, search, charity 15 Comments so far Leave a comment […]

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James Currier’s response is a good start.

Comment by Lloyd Budd

I really hope to see that GoodTree turns out not to be a scam. I’m currently using GoodTree as my main search engine, relying only on Google to do detailed searches. I believe it is not a scam.

Comment by Cardin

Hi! Why I can’t fill my info in profile? Can somebody help me?
My login is Kisakookoo!

Comment by Kisakookoo

I was using GoodTree regularly in the UK until recently. I found it excellent and had researched as far as I could to check their validity.

I was therefore concerned to see some of the web posts questioning (albiet legitimately) whether it was a scam.

The recent response from GoodTree has allayed some of these fears and by posting this I wanted to try and provide some positve feed back on what they are trying to do.

I usually use Google and spent quite a bit of time comparing the results for different searches that I was carring out to make sure I was still getting good results. I was, at least GoodTree seemed to fit and find the kind of information I was after.

Hurry up and get the UK Tree running again please.

Hoping that I’m right,


Comment by Neil

I got an invitation from someone and went to good tree. It wanted my yahoo mail account and password, something I’m not going to give away so easily. I wrote to the person who invited me, and it turned out that she had given her password and it had emailed everyone in her address book without her permission! In my book that’s a scam!

Comment by jack

like google it will keep a record of every search you make forever. shades of 1984; that’s the price!

Comment by nyob ahole

Well, I have been totally gypped and abused by GoodTree, I’m extremely angry and I would like to file a lawsuit against them for theft of my contacts and usurpation of my identity. I was attracted onto the website a few days ago by an email titled “I gave your name” and signed up only to find out what it was.

I was flabbergasted not long after that to find out that they had stolen all of my contacts from my address book (first felony) and not only that, sent to all these contacts, supposedly in my name “via Goodtree”, spam emails also titled “I gave your name”, which I had to justify myself about to a certain number of my friends, business relations and contacts that did not really appreciate this approach, and wrote back to me to complain, each time I had to explain and justify myself for something I hadn’t done…

I wrote several times (emails through the “contact us” page) and they did not answer, to ask them how to unsubscribe, since I did not find any way to unsubscribe and erase my profile page from their website. The only button to “delete” your account set off a standard so-called “error” page saying to try again later because of temporary technical difficulties… which I strongly suspect is a total lie, they’ve got you trapped because in fact it’s conceived so you can sign in but CANNOT sign out…

So be forewarned, GoodTree is just a spammer scam!

Comment by Jean-Marc

I have had the same experience as Mark. I got this same “I gave your name” from a very trusted friend.
I went to take a look what it was all about, inadvertently accessing my Yahoo account. A while later I found out that the Goodtree site was sending out invitations to all my contacts. I am not used to sending emails to my whole address book, because I respect everyone of my contacts and try to send them what would really interest them or be relevant to them. If they had explained or asked some kind of permission or a clearer submit button. It was all very shady. So it’s difficult to convince me that this Goodtree is not a scam or at least fishy.

Comment by John Anthony

50% to charity is notvery good performance. Check and you’ll find most legit charity organizations give upwards of 85% to the causes they support.

Comment by rick

One thing they do not do is, explain how giving up your info is going to produce charity money! It’s not worth the privacy risk for revealing your info that will likely produce lost more SPAM for every body!

Comment by Lightning

Dear Sir

I am MsDieppham so glad when I make friend with you therefore I decide to writte this letter for you My purpose used website for Business and international friendship


Comment by lysapham

hey everyone,

i have been using goodtree for about a couple months now and never had an issue with them where they spammed my friends. The only way for them to get a hold of your friends’ emails is if YOU give it to them. I also received an invite ‘I give your name’. for 3 guys, who noone knows how much they make, who just started up apparently giving 50% is really kool. I know that there are issues going on with the site cause i’m a booster for them and i sometimes have issues gaining access. B patient when u email them cause it takes a while to answer.

Later y’all

Comment by lee

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