How Doing Good and Belly Fat Ads Relate–with Faisal Sethi

Doing nothing changes everything. It’s a bit hyperbolic admits Faisal Sethi, but it gets people thinking about how they can leverage their regular actions and routines for good. Sethi is the co-founder of DoGood Headquarters, a new startup out of Ottawa. DoGood Headquarters is virtual factory of online solutions that have a social impact in the real world.

Two weeks ago, the company launched its first product, the DoGooder. It’s a free browser plug-in that replaces generic Internet advertising with campaigns related to green initiatives and social causes. DoGood Headquarters then donates 50% of the profits earned from these ads campaigns to environmental movements, charitable foundations and non-profit organizations. Sethi is careful to note that the DoGooder is not an ad blocker; ads are still served and publishers receive revenue from them.

In the two weeks since launch, nearly 3,700 people have downloaded the plug-in, myself among them. It truly is quick and simple to download. My browser is still junk free (no toolbar or obstrusive graphics) and instead of seeing ads for CSI Miami or mortgage rates, I’m shown campaigns around causes I care about like the World Food Programme.

Faisal and I talked about the Texas BBQ that ultimately inspired him to start DoGood Headquarters, the importance of design and the benefit of being an ‘industry outsider.’  Click the player to listen.

Key points from the conversation:

  • Good design is good business. Sethi, who has built a career in graphic design and art direction, believes a successful product is a well-designed product, not just a well-functioning one.
  • Sethi is creative to begin with, but a lack of formal business training allows him to be even more so. He likens this to his past release of several albums, having never been musically trained.
  • The DoGooder plug-in delivers personal value (I am shown advertising that interests and engages me) as well as a social value (the non-profits who benefit from this ad revenue).
  • DoGooder CMPs are industry standard or lower. Doing good should be competitively priced and not rely on premiums.
  • Thus far, the click-through rate is 10x the industry norm because users elect to see these topical ads.
  • The tradition in advertising has been to shout to a million people and get a response from 10 of them. The DoGooder aims to talk to fewer people about a set topic and elicit a response from more of them.
  • Capitalism is brutally efficient, but only for a few. DoGood Headquarters is working to grow capitalism’s beneficiaries.

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