July 21, 2010
After achieving over 10 million page views in an eight months time, environmental advocacy website Earthprotect.com proved its content relevant to environmentally concerned users. The site’s leadership team then turned its focus towards the visitor experience. The recent relaunch of the site in May aims to provide a more user-friendly experience along with social networking capabilities while still maintaining the rich content of many environmental topics.
Founded by filmmaker Grant Barbeito, Earthprotect.com is a website that allows environmental issues to be categorized and discussed in a way that promotes interaction among site visitors and ultimately provides non profit environmental groups with a platform to receive donations. Using a model that focuses on social networking, Dr. Carol Barbeito, president of Earthprotect.com, explains that the website’s multimedia functionality helps make environmental issues more tangible which then allows the community to get better involved. “We are focused on video as the storytelling element about the environment and then combine that with the community building aspects of the site,” Barbeito explained in a recent phone interview. Launched in May of 2010, the new website has put a strong emphasis on the gulf oil spill and has become a hub for people to watch videos and organize groups, both private and public, dedicated to tackling environmental issues. The Gulf oil spill has quickly become one of the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history but Barbeito worries that once the oil stops flowing into the Gulf, the mainstream media will pack up and leave, considering the story to be over. “The real story is what happens in the recovery. Does it 20 years later, still have oil on those beaches and in those marshes?” Barbeito said, adding “But probably more importantly, what’s happened to the people? Are they able to resume their generational work?”
Earthprotect.com hopes to be a one-stop shop for people who are concerned about the oil spill. Whether it is collecting information, watching videos, talking with other concerned environmentalists, organizing efforts, or donating to non profit environmental groups, Earthprotect.com is an entirely self-contained website for environmental awareness. The original Earthprotect.com was launched just over a year ago and while it quickly became a popular site for environmental issues, Barbeito says that the website simply didn’t meet the needs of the social networking savvy online community. “We had a good first site but we learned we wanted people to be able to find each other. They can do a lot of the things you can do on Facebook. You can find each other, message each other. It’s much more user-friendly,” Barbeito says. Earthprotect.com makes money through selling advertisements on its site. The company is for-profit, a structure Barbeito explains that was put in place in order to avoid taking any donation money away from the actual environmental issues. The new site has incorporated a simple way for visitors to make donations to several environmental organizations. Earthprotect.com officially launched its new site in May but only recently began publicizing the new site. They hope to ultimately be the global hub for news and outreach. More information can be found on the website.