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The Though Kitchen - Dedicated to Stirring the Pot

For the People, by the People: Will Web 2.0 Lead to People Changing Business?

Posted by admin | February 26th, 2007 | Filed under Environmental Change, Positive Change, Sustainability

The folks at Dotherightthing think so. Borrowing from Digg.com, users submit information about how companies impact the world. Then, readers separate the good from the bad by voting. The result is a “social performanceâ€? score. It combines the world of a wiki with the world of a forum.

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The people behind Dotherightthing see an opportunity. In a recent issue of the Harvard Business Review, Michael Porter and Mark Kramer argued that the world needs a better way to measure the social impacts of companies beyond glossy Social Responsibility reports and self appointed scorekeepers. Will Dotherightthing, which has created a system that allows people (consumers, employees, and members of the community) to drive the ranking of companies based on their social impacts, provide a credible alternative?

According to Time Magazine, who wrote that the Person of the Year is you, the answer could be yes. Time says, “The new Web is a very different thing. It’s a tool for bringing together the small contributions of millions of people and making them matter.â€? Therein lies the potential of Dotherightthing.

Oh yeah, in a gesture of community egalitarianism, along with companies like WalMart, Starbucks and Whole Foods, the community has decided to comment on and evaluate Dotherightthing itself. You gotta love it.

7 Responses to “For the People, by the People: Will Web 2.0 Lead to People Changing Business?”

  • February 27, 2007 at 9:49 am | Peter says

    Very similar in concept, Sutori (http://sutori.com) has been allowing customers to share stories and goodwill since last summer. It’s great to see sites popping up to give the customer a voice. Hopefully the companies are listening.

  • February 27, 2007 at 11:12 am | Ian says

    Peter,

    Thanks. I didn’t know about Sutori but I’ll check them out.

  • February 28, 2007 at 2:28 am | Ryan says

    Thanks for the kind words of support Ian. We met at Net Impact. Do you still have your limited edition t-shirt? :)

    Sutori is similar in its aim to influence companies to align their interests with those of consumers, but the scopes are invariably different. Dotherightthing measures the “non-financial performance” of a company, evaluating the impacts of all activities that affect consumers’ well-being, employees’ well-being, as well as those that impact local and global communities and environment. Sutori, on the other hand, collects stories about individual consumer experiences, and focuses on customer satisfaction (or customer experience, rather–the field in which the company the launched the site specializes).

    When will Nau be ready to participate on do the right thing?

  • February 28, 2007 at 9:01 am | Ian says

    Ryan,

    Great to hear from you. I remember meeting and I still have my t-shirt. Thanks too for clarifying the difference between between Sutori and Dotherightthing. That’s an important distinction. Regarding Nau, given that we may be open for business unusual iminently, I guess we’d be ready to praticipate in Dotherightthing. I suppose all it will take is for somebody to throw us into the mix.

  • March 11, 2007 at 10:35 am | George A. Polisner says

    Thougt you might appreciate how we are using the Web (1.0) to change the world…

    The mission of alonovo.com is to provide the infrastructure to connect how corporations behave with their profit.

    We aggregate and normalize trusted behavioral data about corporations with regard to their environmental, labor, compensation and benefits, community involvement, conservation, ethics, tax avoidance, political engagement and other key attributes that are commonly called Corporate Social Responsibility, or CSR. We do not refer to these factors as CSR, as we believe that corporations have no social responsibility (which is why we exist).

    By providing easy to access data about corporate behavior integrated within the purchase transaction, people can begin to consider “the character” of a corporation along with the product price and quality before we spend our money.

    When we purchase something, we are getting something we need or want, while in turn transferring power in the form of currency to a corporation. Is the corporation using sweatshop labor or fair labor? Polluting our air, rivers and oceans or reducing their emissions and environmental footprint? Consuming oil and finite energy resources or transitioning to clean, renewable alternatives? Is the corporation going to use part of our money to undermine our system of government and seek favor contradicting societal protection from harm?

    The days when we could rely on government for protection and enforcement have passed. Corporations and those behind them have vast power and influence. The concept of alonovo.com gives each of us the ability to use the free market system to provide incentives for corporations to properly balance consideration for people, planet and profit.

  • March 17, 2007 at 10:34 am | Ian says

    George,

    Thanks for contributiing to the dialogue. I think of the work you and your colleagues are doing as indicative of a much larger emerging tribe of people who care about our future and want to contribute to the creation of lasting, positive change. I do have two questions about Alonovo. Are you able to elaborate on how you generate the data beyond what is explained on the site? Also, is it possible to be more specific about hom much money assocaited with each purchase is directed to support the work of non-profits?

    Ian

  • April 17, 2007 at 10:20 pm | George A. Polisner says

    Greetings Ian,

    Sorry for the delay -very good questions -

    Q) Are you able to elaborate on how you generate the data beyond what is explained on the site?
    We made a decision to aggregate and normalize data streams from an array of trusted sources, and began with KLD Research & Analytics, a mature and well-respected business (Formed by Peter Kinder, Steve Lydenberg and Amy Domini, all pioneers in the Socially Responsible Investment space) that has been guiding pension funds and large, institutional investors with social screens about companies. We also integrate information from the Federal Elections Commission and plan to continue to acquire new sources to improve our breadth and depth of coverage (which is spotty at present). So the data and research is performed by others, we make it available on our site and attribute the data to its originator.

    Q) Also, is it possible to be more specific about hom much money assocaited with each purchase is directed to support the work of non-profits?

    At present the core of our commerce capability is based upon our relationship with Amazon which yields approximately 7%-8% of each transaction as commission to alonovo. We then allocate the funds to the non-profit the alonovo.com community member has registered as their beneficiary. In cases where the organization is working directly with us (as in the case of the Breast Cancer Fund, United for a Fair Economy, Global Exchange and about 25 others) we pass our earnings through completely to the non-profit. Organizations that do not yet have a formal agreement with us (such as UNICEF, Doctors Without Borders, American Red Cross and about 50 other terrific organizations) receive 50% of our earnings. The complete list of organizations and revenue share are at http://www.alonovo.com/community/orgs.

    It should be noted that the next major release of alonovo.com will include a Universal Cart alternative that will provide the infrastructure for many CoopAmerica Business Network-style merchants and distributors to sell their product through the alonovo.com portal.

    Kind Regards -George

    Sorry again

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