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: www.goodtree.com/about/about 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 Ask.com 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,
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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