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This one-click charity is approved and has a grade of C.
Note: I am a registered user of this site, but I logged out for the duration of the review, with the exception of examining the invite-a-friend feature and donation totals, for which registration is required. Registration is not required to donate.
Date of Review: March 2, 2002
Pertinent data for this site:
- Owned by: Care2.com
- Owner profit type: for-profit with 10% of revenues going to charity partners
- URL: http://bigcats.care2.com/
- Donations go to:
- Percentage of revenue that goes to the beneficiary: 100% of net revenue from this portion of the Care2.com goes to the beneficiary
- Method of payment: sponsors pay directly to beneficiary
- Geographic limitations: none
- Language(s): English
- Calendar day for this site starts at: not stated
Jump to the summary of what this site should do to improve
Criteria that have been met will have a checkmark graphic, and criteria that have not been met will have an X-mark graphic, as shown below. Further details will be listed below each criteria specifying what elements resulted in the checkmark or X-mark.
How this site scored on the criteria (version 1.3):
- I have confirmed that the beneficiaries are getting the money owed them as follows:
- The WCS has a linked graphic on their main page to the race. Plus, I did a search on "care2.com and found an article that says, "Visitors who log on to Care2.com's "Race for Big Cats" Website (http://bigcats.care2.com) are given a choice of images to click on -- tigers, jaguars or snow leopards. Each click generates a donation from one of the corporate sponsors to WCS, which then goes directly toward protecting big cats in the wild." I consider this sufficient proof that the beneficiary is aware of Care2.com's claims of donation, and I leave it to WCS to ensure they collect the money owed to them.
- Contact data for the one-click company/individual is displayed on the site as follows:
- Email or Form Mail (required) - main Care2 site has a feedback form
- Phone number (strongly recommended) - shown on the contact page for the main Care2 site
- Postal address (strongly recommended) - shown on the contact page for the main Care2 site
- There is a clear description of who gets the money, as follows:
- The main race page clearly states that the money is going to WCS. Other pages provide more details on how much money is going, what projects are funded, etc.
- There is clear indication that the site is still operating (as of the date of this review) as follows:
This was a very tough call. Most of the site does not display any indication that it is still running, except for items run by scripts. I found two broken links on the Useful Links page (one to Save the Tiger Fund, the other to WildLife on Easy Street), and the information given on the Press page does not seem to have been updated since mid-2000.
In fact, the only proof that this particular portion of the Care2.com site hasn't been abandoned is the copyright information on the main page, which lists a copyright of 2002. Since it is still early in 2002, this counts, for now.
In the review of Race for the Rainforest, I gave credit to the parent site for having updated and current material, including an online store. I'm now reconsidering that decision. Lately, I've found too many broken links and out of date items on the Care2.com pages. Just now, I noticed the Special Offers shopping page is dated February 1, and it is currently March 2. It is offering Valentine's Day specials, and one of the graphics is broken. If you are reading this review much after March 2, 2002, it will hopefully have changed, but even a few weeks old is reason for concern on a shopping site.
I happen to know that the site is still running because I was contacted by someone from Care2.com in response to Message 698 in The Hunger Site Club. I was in the process of reviewing the site when I had to move, so the review was delayed and a site re-design was implemented in the meantime. This redesign seems mostly cosmetic, though.
If not for the convenience of the copyright date change and the time of year of this review, this site would be marked down on this criterion, which would mean a failing grade overall. I thus strongly urge the people at Care2.com to make a better effort to clean up dead links and demonstrate an up-to-date site.
- The site does not require users to visit another site, nor perform any activity other than clicking on a donate button/graphic for a donation to count.
- The site counts donations regardless of user input or registration.
- There is no apparent conflict of interest.
- All possible ulterior motives (such as religious affiliation, being part of another organization, being part of a marketing campaign from some corporate entity, etc.) are listed as follows:
- Ownership by Care2.com is made very clear, and the Care2.com pages include plenty of detail about partnerships, ownership structure, etc.
- The site has up-to-date, accurate information throughout, as follows:
- There are broken links on the Useful Links page, and the Press page does not seem to have been updated since mid-2000. The Trivia Archive page has no citations or other indications of where the facts come from, how old they are, etc.
- The site has a good frequently asked questions (FAQ) area.
- It would be nice to see a few other questions answered, such as when the calendar day starts or whether or not cookies are required for donations to count, but the FAQ is there and does provide many answers.
- The money is not just being collected for the future; it is in use now.
- The site specifies how much each sponsor pays per click as follows:
- The FAQ says, "Race sponsorships vary in value, but are usually .5 cents per click." Also, Care2.com "guarantees a $1 CPM donation will be made for every click, regardless of whether there are any paying sponsors." CPM is defined as "payment per thousand page views." The Sponsor page says that sponsors must pay a minimum of $1000, but they can set up their own advertising budget. Given this variance, the statement of an average and a minimum is acceptable.
- Type of currency is NOT stated. It is presumably US dollars, but since people click from all over the world, this should be made clear.
- The site is accessible to the disabled or to slow computers as follows:
- Bobby test (Priority 1) results:
This site is not accessible, primarily because of missing ALT tags, for which there is no excuse. The page is fairly useable in Lynx, although separating out the donation imagemap graphic into three distinct graphics, each with an ALT, would make Lynx navigation easier and more coherent.
This page does not meet the requirements for Bobby A Approved status. Below is a list of 2 Priority 1 accessibility error(s) found:
- Provide alternative text for all images. (2 instances)
Lines 129, 156
- Provide alternative text for all image map hot-spots (AREAs). (6 instances)
Lines 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36
User checks are triggered by something specific on the page; however, you need to determine whether they apply. Bobby A Approval requires that none of them apply to your page. Please review these 5 item(s):
- Provide alternative content for each SCRIPT that conveys important information or functionality.
- If you use color to convey information, make sure the information is also represented another way. (46 instances)
Lines 41, 44, 48, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 59, 61, 63, 65, 68, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 97, 99, 114, 116, 117, 122, 123-124, 125, 129, 137, 138, 139, 143, 144, 146, 155, 156, 173, 176, 179, 180, 181
- If this is a data table (not used for layout only), identify headers for the table rows and columns. (5 instances)
Lines 54, 136, 115, 46, 39
- If an image conveys important information beyond what is in its alternative text, provide an extended description. (23 instances)
Lines 41, 44, 53, 55, 56, 57, 59, 68, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 123-124, 129, 138, 144, 156, 179, 181
- If a table has two or more rows or columns that serve as headers, use structural markup to identify their hierarchy and relationship. (8 instances)
Lines 54, 80, 121, 136, 115, 114, 46, 39
- Standard elements such as ALT tags are NOT always present.
- Site looks reasonable in Lynx, but could be improved.
- This site has good navigability as follows:
The main page does not have navigation links. Some pages are only linked at the bottom of some other pages, when they should be in the navigation sidebar, such as the Press page (accessible from the bottom of the FAQ and some other pages). Some links are off to one side, instead of in the links sidebar with the rest, which would be more logical. More consistency in internal links would be good.
Some of the links on the Useful Links page page are broken. The domains still exist, but the specific page linked is no longer there. In the past, the Useful Links page has had old links to sites that have been turned into pornography sites, despite multiple attempts by users to have the link removed. The staff working on this portion of the site need to check the links more frequently, and respond sooner to broken or inappropriate links.
The donation graphic does not have ALTs, making it difficult to know that's where you're supposed to click if you don't have graphics loaded. If you figure it out, though, it does seem to work to donate.
- Good navigation points include:
- URLs are short, but could have more logical names such as being named "FAQ" for the FAQ.
- The site is aesthetically pleasing and uncomplicated, as follows:
- no animated gifs other than the ads
- good colour scheme
- pictures used are selected with taste and tact
- The site does not promote, inadvertently or otherwise, poor behaviour such as spam.
Logged-in registered members can use the site's invite-a-friend feature to send mail to others, asking them to join the race. If the invited person does join, part of their score is added to the score of the person who invited them. Thus, there is a clear temptation to invite as many people as possible to help inflate one's own score.
However, non-registered users are invited on the Thank You page to go ahead and put in email addresses to invite friends. I tested this while not logged in, and entered my email address, and pretended I was sending it from "Blah." Sure enough, the mail from "Blah" arrived, and it's an invitation to join their team in the race. On this page, there is no request to abide by any anti-spam policies or similar directive. By allowing anyone to enter any email address and any name, the site is encouraging spam in its name, which could end up hurting the site overall. Furthermore, the conflict between asking registered users to behave while not asking the same of non-registered users is rather unsettling.
- Cookies are not required for donations to count.
- During the Lynx test, I denied the cookies and appeared to still successfully donate. However, I can't be sure if it worked and the FAQ doesn't specify whether or not cookies are required. This should be made clear.
- If the money collected is only going to one country or smaller geographical division, this is noted as follows:
- There is detailed, accurate information about why the money is needed, and statistics are used in a responsible, contextual manner.
- There are fact pages on the various cats, and these pages do give a good idea of why funds are necessary. However, citation is minimal and there are few dates on statistics. This information would be improved greatly with proper citation so users know how current the facts are.
- Donation totals are posted, but are available only to members. I urge the site to make this information available to all participants, registered or not.
Considerations outside of criteria
Care2.com is a large site with several other one-click, free donation races. I have chosen to review each race separately, although they are all closely integrated with the parent site. As such, some portions of the parent site have been considered within the criteria and there may be some duplication amongst the individual reviews. However, the races all have different beneficiaries, formats, FAQs, levels of information, etc., so I thought it best to review each one separately.
Overall, Race for the Big Cats is a decent site. The race program is a great idea to encourage repeat and regular visits, and to encourage people to get their friends involved. It has the unfortunate downside that less-than-scrupulous users may attempt to inflate their statistics by spamming people, and while the site has made some effort towards preventing this, the admonitions against spamming should be more prevalent and noticeable.
The registration elements, such as donation tracking as part of the race, are very good. But kudos to Care2.com for ensuring that those who do not wish to register aren't excluded from donating! That kind of open access is rare, and probably quite appreciated by those who care but wish to maintain privacy on their own terms.
In terms of accessibility, it's unfortunate that the site's programmers have elected to ignore the many people using screen readers, text-only browsers, or slow computers/connections who may wish to participate in the race. The simple addition of ALT tags alone would make a difference, although a few other pages could stand some HTML retooling to be in W3C specification compliance.
Despite a recent redesign, there are still several problems that need to be worked on. Most importantly, the site needs to make it very clear to users that it is still running by means other than registered-user scripts. Occasional updates to the facts and information, including dates, would help with this. The links page should be checked periodically for broken links. Users should not have to notify Care2.com repeatedly about link problems.
As a for-profit entity, I expect more from Care2.com and its subsites.
More indication that the site is still running should be provided, aside from scripts.
Broken links should be fixed, and all links should be checked periodically.
Navigation should be more consistent and logical. All links should be grouped in a single sidebar, not plopped around in multiple places. Links should be given for all of the pages in the site in a consistent manner, and not require users to hunt around through pages to find links to other internal pages. Users should be able to access all pages from the main site, before donating.
Trivia and facts should have citations and dates.
Press information should be updated, if possible.
The FAQ should state when the day starts in terms of counting donations, and whether or not cookies are required to donate.
The type of currency should be stated when speaking of funds, instead of just assuming everyone around the world will guess it's US dollars.
ALT tags should be in place for all graphics, especially the all-important donation buttons.
More effort must be made to discourage spam. Registered users are briefly asked not to send unsolicited invitations, but this pales in comparison to the encouragement to get new people involved. Non-registered users are invited on the Thank You page to go ahead and invite anyone with no anti-spam messages at all.
Non-registered users should be allowed to see the donation totals.
- Original Review
- Date: March 2, 2002
- Grade: C
- More indication that the site is still running should be provided, aside from scripts.
- Broken links should be fixed, and all links should be checked periodically.
- Navigation should be more consistent and logical.
- All links should be grouped in a single sidebar, not plopped around in multiple places.
- Users should be able to access all pages from the main site, before donating.
- Trivia and facts should have citations and dates.
- Press information should be updated, if possible.
- Start of calendar day not stated.
- No statement of whether or not cookies are required.
- The type of currency should be stated.
- ALT tags should be in place for all graphics.
- More effort must be made to discourage spam, especially on the Thank You page.
- Non-registered users should be allowed to see the donation totals.