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Whaleslide is a charity search engine with a difference - they have no ads! Instead, they make money from affiliate links - these are special tracking links used in place of some of the regular links within their search results. If you click on one of these affiliate links and make a purchase from that merchant site (e.g. Amazon, eBay, Walmart) then Whaleslide will get a commission on the sale. This is how they raise money for charity. By not showing any ads, Whaleslide claim to be able to hide your IP address from their search provider and claim to be a private search engine.
Whaleslide is a charity search engine with a difference - they have no ads!
Whaleslide support over 80 charities, divided into the following categories: children & youth; community development; corporate social responsibility; disability; education; environment & conservation; health & medical research; human services and mental health. With the exception of a few of these charities (such as charity:water), most of them are smaller charities, many of which are based in the UK. As such, depending on your location, you may not have heard of many of them. This, together with the number of charities listed, can make choosing a charity to support difficult. However, the categorization of charities helps a lot on this regard, as you can view charities by category - see here for a full list of these charities.
Click on a charity to see more information about the charity and also to view the total donations raised so far for the charity. You can also see the amount you've raised yourself for this charity (although this requires you to be logged into your Whaleslide account, which you can create anonymously without having to hand over your email address).
Given that Whaleslide is not ad-supported, the revenue that Whaleslide are able to raise for charity depends entirely on you following any of their affiliate links in their search results and making a purchase from the merchant site that you visit, e.g. Amazon, Walmart, eBay, etc. Whaleslide will then receive a commission on this sale of up to 10-15%, part or all of which they will donate to charity. For example, if you searched for shoes and followed one of Whaleslide's affiliate links to Amazon, bought some shoes for $100, then Whaleslide might get $10 as a referral fee. It is unclear from their website what percentage of these referral fees they ultimately donate to charity.
Affiliate links in the search results are marked with a colorful "C" to their left. By drawing your attention to their affiliate links in this way, Whaleslide hope that you will choose to spend your money with those sites rather than with any other site. Your visit to these sites and the amount you spend will typically involve tracking your visit there using cookies. If you wish to be able to see how much you've raised for each charity, you will need to create an account with Whaleslide and be logged in. Referral fees from your purchases are then somehow fed back into your account at Whaleslide. Whaleslide claim that this is done anonymously.
At the time of writing this review, we were unable to locate any donation receipts from Whaleslide to the charities that they support, so were unable to verify any donations made.
Whaleslide have done a good job at displaying their search results and the infinite scrolling (which can be switched off in their settings menu) is a nice touch that means more search results are added automatically as you scroll down the page. A knowledge panel of additional information related to your query is often provided on the right-hand sidebar (on desktop) and at the top of the page (on mobile). This knowledge panel is populated with data from Wikipedia or, if your query is movie related, from TheMovieDB.org. A screenshot of the search results generated from just such a query is shown below. If the knowledge panel is loaded using TheMovieDB.org data then you will usually find a movie poster thumbnail and thumbnails of cast members. This is something that is missing on most other charitable search engines, so it was really nice to see. However, these movie-related thumbnails are likely to be the only thumbnails you will currently see on Whaleslide. Their main search results do not typically contain any other image, movie or news-related thumbnails. This lack of rich-content in the web results makes Whaleslide's results considerably less visually engaging that those of other charitable search engines we've reviewed, such as SearchScene and Ecosia.
In keeping with most other search engines, Whaleslide have a dedicated image search and video search available via the tabs at the top of the search results pages. They also have a dedicated news search tab available, but this was not functioning at the time of writing this review. The images returned by an image search are displayed as a gallery of images, as with most other search engines. As you might expect, you click on an image to get an expanded view, from where you will also find a link to the source site. For the video search results, Whaleslide have chosen to display them in a list format (à la Google, Ecosia) rather than in a gallery (à la SearchScene, Bing). Each video is accompanied by an extra large thumbnail and, again, the optional infinite scrolling makes it easy to just keep scrolling down and viewing more and more videos.
In contrast to virtually all other search engines (charitable or otherwise), Whaleslide does not display ads with its search results. Presumably, this is for reasons of privacy, as one of its claims is that it is a private search engine. The lack of ads does not necessarily make your search experience a better one, since targeted ads (as long as they are relevant to your search query) should enhance your search experience and not detract from it. However, the lack of ads on Whaleslide will undoubtedly appeal to many users. As ads are the main source of revenue for all other search engines, we can't help but wonder how much revenue Whaleslide are able to raise for the charities they support based on their affiliate links alone.
In order to support a particular charity, you need to create an account on Whaleslide. However, this can be done without you having to hand over your email address - you simply need to give yourself a username and password, so that seems pretty private to us!
Aside from supporting a large number of environmental charities, we are not aware of any other environmental claims that Whaleslide make in regard to their eco-credentials.
Whaleslide stands out from the crowd of charitable search engines by claiming to be both a private and charitable search engine.
Browser extensions are available for Chrome and Firefox, but (at the time of writing at least) none are available for Microsoft's Edge browser. At the time of writing this review, there were no Android or iOS apps available, although these are apparently on the way. Installing the browser extension allows you to collect interesting things you find from around the web and store them in your Collections (although this requires you to have an account). Each item you add something to your Collections, (whether it be an interesting image, quote, gif, link, etc.) it is stored as a tile within your Collections page, which can be categorized as you choose. This is an additional feature that sets Whaleslide apart from the competition.
In conclusion, Whaleslide stands out from the crowd of charitable search engines by claiming to be both a private and charitable search engine. It also stands apart from the crowd by being ad-free! This lack of ads is an interesting approach and presumably it is this that allows Whaleslide to hide your IP address from its underlying search results provider and become a private search engine. Users will find that Whaleslide have done a good job of displaying their search results, and the inclusion of Wikipedia-related and movie-related knowledge panels is also good to see, especially as the latter often contains thumbnail images of movie posters and actors. However, the lack of other rich content (e.g. image, video and news thumbnails) included in the main search results, makes Whaleslide's web results considerably less engaging than those of many other charitable search engines we've reviewed.
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