What is Ecosia

What is Ecosia
April 3, 2019 5 Comments Learning/Educational Zian Smith

Have you heard of the Ecosia search engine and are wondering if it’s legit? Curious where Ecosia gets its funding comes from? Want to know how it works? Welcome! This article contains all the info and citations that you’ll need to understand the basics.

What is Ecosia?

Ecosia.org is a online search engine equivalent to Google that plants trees after so many searches have been made. Ecosia earns money from the ads you get exposed to while searching on Ecosia. Google has an ad program as well, but the income goes to Google and its investors. For those who are concerned with whether or not Ecosia is a scam, ‘virus’, or other form of malicious tool, relax, the citations are listed. (Spoiler alert, Ecosia isn’t a virus or scam).

Debunking the Scam/Virus Rumors

First off, I want you to understand that when I first heard of Ecosia, I wanted to make sure it wasn’t a scam or a virus myself. The first thing a programmer looks for when understanding whether or not a program is a virus is source code.

A hilarious blog post that claims Ecosia is a virus can be found here: https://www.2-spyware.com/remove-ecosia-org-virus.html

This is funny because the author, Olivia Morelli , claims to be a “ransomware analyst”. Well, she obviously didn’t read the source code. Anyone who looks at the source code for the Ecosia Browser Addon can find it at this dropbox link. The source is a collection of images and a manifest.json file. JSON stands for JavaScript Object Notation. The JSON in the file just changes the default search engine you currently have to Ecosia. That’s not a virus, that’s an addon.

The idea that JSON could be equated to actual code that executes malicious operations is laughable and foolish. Sites that claim that Ecosia is a virus are not only harming the good name of Ecosia but making a fool of themselves. If you were fooled by 2-spyware.com or another website, just remember to read the source code from now on.


As for whether or not Ecosia puts its funding where it claims to, they have posted their financial records on their main site, and they have longevity. No organization is going to operate internationally for 10 years and not get caught with fraud.

General Information

In December of 2009, Ecosia.org was founded by Christian Kroll. It’s financial receipts are posted here: https://blog.ecosia.org/ecosia-financial-reports-tree-planting-receipts/. As stated earlier, Ecosia makes money from ads. Advertisers pay Ecosia to post ads to people who use the search engine. Not only does Ecosia use the funds to plant trees, but they also set up savings accounts for their employees, so that they can start a business in the future. If you want to make the world a better place, making a small change from using Google to using Ecosia is a great way to do so.

Ecosia Compared to Google

For the most part Ecosia is exactly like Google in terms of search results. Ecosia offers some neat features such as search tags for more specific results. Ecosia Maps is just Google Maps with funding going to trees. Here is a list of example searches.


And now Google

Off the bat, you can notice ads as results at the top of the page. Here are some more comparisons.


For the most part, Ecosia will render the same results as Google. If you want to help plant trees but don’t want to sacrifice getting the exact same results as Google, you can simply type “google.com your search here”.



I personally will be using Ecosia from now on. I would rather my searches add trees and provide opportunity for hard working people than fund Google’s investors.


What do you think? Feel free to comment below.

Keep it real.



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  1. 1

    Andre H

    Wow !!! That is cool that they donate. Well done…Thanks for sharing this article

  2. 1

    George Fisher

    Wow! Some very useful information that I had know idea existed. Thank You for this and I am heading off to check it out. I also have a quick question, they say google makes up 65% of searches, so with that said what % is done with Ecosia?

    1. 1

      Zian Smith

      According to https://info.ecosia.org/what, the search engine has about 7 million active users. Although that isn’t a small number, it’s a small percentage in relation to all search queries combined. In fact it doesn’t even make a dent.

      I don’t know a solid number to tell you what percentage of searches Ecosia gets, but I would say with confidence it is less than 10%.

  3. 1

    Doris Johnson

    Beautiful beautiful work here!!!… I do love the idea that Ecosia is giving back by planting trees and helping their employees to save. This is a great idea. I really like it when I work for someone that see me as a human being and not someone that can help to put money in their pockets. I also really like the idea of planting trees since we cut so many to build businesses. I mention this to my husband all the time. I live in the country so I live my trees and greenery but here lately our area is growing so we are losing a lot of our trees here as well. It kinda make Google irrelevant now. Thank you for a spectacular post. Great job!

    1. 1

      Zian Smith

      Thank you! Live Free & Prosper! <3


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