Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Treasure Hunt

The Internet is really a great place for treasure hunt; you will never know what you will end up with. We used to do the same kind of thing every weekend: hunting for great garage/yard sale items, but by car. Usually we don’t read the classified, but prefer to cruise along, keeping an eye out for those cardboard-sized announcements pinned on make-shift wooden stakes driven into the corners of road junctions. We have picked up some notable items this way: a great novel, an old CD, novel toys, not to mention some great furniture pieces, all for practically a small change.

So now I’m reliving the wild expectations, the joy of landing something totally out of this world, without having to venture outdoor or spend a petrol dollar. Today’s find started with a posting in a discussion list that I subscribe to. The post is from a UF graduate student, with his homepage url listed. Since it is my alma mater, I thought maybe I should check out what kind of research the students and faculties are doing compared to more than ten years ago when I was there, starting first with this particular student. So this guy has just passed his qualifying exam (to gain doctoral candidacy) and presented his research proposal, which is included in his homepage as a slide presentation. Interesting, using LES to look at seabed bedform dynamics under waves and currents.

Oops, sorry, I don’t mean to bore you with the digression. Then I saw the links, which, based on my past experience, are usually full of goodies, meaning access to other related web pages that could be treasure troves of knowledge but perhaps of obscure origin (partly because of my ignorance too). That’s when I discovered Google’s technology playground, Google Labs , where it “showcases a few of our favorite ideas that aren't quite ready for prime time”, exhorting visitors to “play with these prototypes and send your comments directly to the Googlers who developed them.” Examples are Google Notebook, for clipping and collecting information as you browse the web, and Google Page Creator, for creating your own web pages, quickly and easily.

There is also a graduate list (kind of like the college commencement list where those in the list are certified ready to rock the world). Examples are Google Docs and Documents and Google Video. As usual, be sure to read the Term of Use relating to (no) warranty, limits of liability, waiver and stuff like that.

Definitely the pleasant surprise of the day.

Later in the night, a friend sent me an email inviting me to join Goodtree, the homepage that supports charity. In case you’re thinking of another drain on your hard-earned money, though for a good cause, the preamble to the FAQ is quick to assure that “GoodTree is free, we have no banners or pop-ups, we will never ask you for money, will never send you spam... and we raise a lot of money for charity.” How, you may be wondering.

Well, the same page continues, “The Internet has matured into a large marketplace where brand-named vendors pay to have potential customers like you visit their websites by clicking on text and image links. They pay a few pennies per click, several billion times per month and it adds up to....” I would stop here and let it whet you appetite for answer so that you can’t wait to click on the link in my collection (hint: it’s to the left of my blog page).

So all you have to do is to follow this simple instruction: “Just use GoodTree to start your normal Internet surfing, generating pennies as you go, and the GoodTree system tracks those pennies, collects them from the merchants, and redirects them to the charities of your choice.”

But there’s more. Since all the leading search engines (Google, Yahoo, MSN, and AskJeeves are listed) contribute to the search results, it’s like having the best of the best serves you.

Without hesitation, I joined, and in the process, sent the same invitation to my other friends. So if you happen to be one of the invitees, please continue the good deed. Lest you treat this like another chain letter, rest assured that there is no threat of bad luck befalling you if the chain is broken. Instead you will be as inspired as Hellen Keller. In her words as shown on the “About us” page, "I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; I will not refuse to do the something I can do"


Anonymous said...

Do you really think GoodTree.com is legit? They tried to phish my gmail password. They are not a search engine. See for yourself - search for 'shoes' on GoodTree.com - 82 results - mostly sponsored ads. Try teh same on google.com - about 388,000,000 results.

Say Lee said...

You have a point. I compared search results for "Victor Frankl" and "Tragic Optimism", two things I recently blogged about, and they are world's apart like in your case.

However, the site was referred to me by what I thought was a trusted source who is Internet savvy. Now I'm wondering whether his email identity has also been compromised ...

I'll do some other independent checking on my own as to the legitimacy of the site. Will appreciate if you could keep me posted if you come across more negative feedback. Thanks.

CY said...

Hmm...never heard of GoodTree... Geez Dad, don't you remember all those email hoaxes?! Do your research first... Haha the tables have turned and now I am the one admonishing you! Bwuahaha!

Say Lee said...

(Actually I've already responded this morning but it did not register. So here it goes again)

I'm happy to note that you're now dishing out advice instead of getting one. That's a sign of maturity. Keep it up!

Rahul said...

I think one of my friends, one who sent me the invitation to join the movement, has already been phished of her password. As soon as they asked for the password, they straightaway gave the game away. I think changing the password shall be enough, right???


P.S. And Cy, that hit hard and was SO well taken… Could not stop smiling for long ;-D

Say Lee said...

Hi Rahul,

I don't think I'm conversant enough to dish out advice this instant.

My brother did advise me to be prepared to dump that particular email address.

Ra. said...


Anonymous said...

Hello, this is Eddie Nguyen of GoodTree. We are indeed a legitimate site. We get our search results from InfoSpace (nasdaq:insp) a public company in Seattle which also powers www.dogpile.com. InfoSpace aggregates search results from Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, and Ask under long term contracts with each of them. So the search results you see are inded a combination of the search results of all of those search engines. Second, like MySpace or Bebo or Yelp or Hi5 or any number of sites, we allow our users to use their address books on Yahoo or Hotmail to invite their friends. This is not a requirement to use GoodTree. A user accesses their address book by putting in their email and password, but we do not store their password. More about us can be seen in our About Us www.goodtree.com/about/about and our FAQ www.goodtree.com/about/how. I hope you use GoodTree in the future, as our outward communication gets better, and we keep improving the service.