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Stop HIV

Stop HIV

This site is graded C by One-Click Charity Check
This one-click charity is approved and has a grade of C.

Date of Review: July 7, 2001

Pertinent data for this site:

  • Owned by: Dominitech
  • Owner profit type: not stated
  • URL:
  • Donations go to:
  • Percentage of revenue that goes to the beneficiary(ies): not stated
  • Geographic limitations: not stated
  • Language(s): English (with stated plans for Spanish)
  • 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.

[Checkmark] [X-mark]

How this site scored on the criteria (version 1.10):

Critical Criteria

  1. [Checkmark] I have confirmed that the beneficiaries are getting the money owed them as follows:
    • In this case, the site owns its beneficiary, the Stop HIV Foundation, which it says is a listed non-profit organization. I couldn't find it listed at Guidestar, which lists most if not all IRS-listed non-profits. This could be a glitch, though, and I have said I don't review beneficiaries so I won't pursue that further. The only reason I checked in this case was the site's FAQ says the site itself is non-profit, and I wasn't sure if they were claiming that in the legal sense or just indicating that they don't make any money. I don't know the legal implications of saying something is non-profit if it isn't in fact listed as such with the tax office.

      Regardless, since the site owns its beneficiary, it's obvious that the beneficiary is getting the money. I remind users to do their own research to determine the validity of beneficiaries.

  2. [Checkmark] Contact data for the one-click company/individual is displayed on the site as follows:
    • Email or Form Mail (required) - shown on the sponsor page and on the foundation page
    • Phone number (strongly recommended) - not given
    • Postal address (strongly recommended) - shown on the foundation page
    • The site really should have a contact information page where all contact information can be found quickly, instead of making users hunt through various pages. Also, the email addresses differ; in providing a single contact information page, the site could better define which address is to be used for what purpose, which would streamline their mail. A phone number for the foundation would also be a good idea.

  3. [Checkmark] There is a clear description of who gets the money, as follows:
    • The About page mentions the foundation, as do a few other pages on the site.
  4. [Checkmark] There is clear indication that the site is still operating (as of the date of this review) as follows:
    • The Donation Totals page lists donations up to two weeks prior to this review. My criteria states that items such as this that are not updated for more than a month will no longer be considered to be indication of the site being in operation. If the site only lists donation totals in batches, that's fine, but it should clearly state how often the updates are made, so users don't think it has been abandoned.
    • There are no "last updated" dates on the pages, and the last item on the news page is from May. I recommend that the site administrator endeavour to help users feel that the site is still in operation by making it clear when pages were last updated, and then updating pages regularly even if changes are negligible.
  5. [Checkmark] 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.
  6. [Checkmark] The site counts donations regardless of user input or registration.

Important Criteria

  1. [Checkmark] There is no apparent conflict of interest.
  2. [Checkmark] 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 Dominitech is stated on the about page. This could be improved by a link to Dominitech's site, and/or more details on what Dominitech is.
    • Ownership of the beneficiary foundation is listed in various places on the site. This could be improved with more details about the foundation, although this may be premature since the foundation is very new.
  3. [X-mark] The site has up-to-date, accurate information throughout, as follows:
    • Although there is information on AIDS, none of it is dated, so users have no way of knowing how current it is. The donation totals, as mentioned above, are slightly out of date, and the webmaster has not given reason why. The last update on the "breaking news" page is from May. The last posts in the discussion board are from April; even if no one else is posting, the owner ought to post something now and then to provoke discussion, post updates or news, or just make it clear that things are still operating normally.
  4. [Checkmark] The site has a good frequently asked questions (FAQ) area.
    • The FAQ could use some fleshing out, particularly in terms of describing who/what Dominitech is, how it is related to the site, more details on the foundation, when the calendar day starts, how much money goes to the beneficiary, geographic limitations of the beneficiary, whether or not cookies are required to donate, and clarifications on the non-profit status of the website. But at least there is a FAQ.
  5. [X-mark]The site is raising money for a future project (as opposed to using it now), but provides specific details on how the money will be used.
    • what deadlines are present - not stated
    • what happens if enough money isn't raised - not stated
    • if the project should be cancelled, where the money that was raised will go - not stated
    • The foundation has been established and is inviting grant proposals, but there is no information as to what sort of grants will be given, how much will be given, how much is currently available, what limits are present, etc. Nor is it stated what will happen to the money in the absence of an acceptable grant proposal. The foundation should have a designated purpose for the money if the site owner decides to take the site down before a grant proposal is accepted.
  6. [Checkmark] The site specifies how much each sponsor pays per click as follows:
    • The Sponsor page lists the per-click rate. This should also be listed on the main page and/or the Thank You page, to emphasize to the users that their click was worthwhile.
  7. [Checkmark] There is a clear privacy policy.
    • I almost gave this point an X-mark, having only noticed the privacy policy in the FAQ at first, which is a couple of meaningless sentences. Then I noticed the links at the bottom of the pages, and sure enough, there is a full privacy policy. However, the bit in the FAQ should be replaced either with the full text or with a link to the full policy.
  8. [Checkmark] Users can access information about the site, such as the FAQ, Privacy Policy, etc. before clicking to donate. Sites that require the user to donate before providing links to information are asking the user to donate blindly, and that is unfair.

Useful Criteria

  1. [X-mark] The site is accessible to the disabled or to slow computers as follows:
    • Bobby test results (for the main page only):

      This web page does not contain any Priority 1 accessibility errors that Bobby can detect. However, certain items require human judgment; these are listed below. Please review these items; if none of these apply to your page, it qualifies for Bobby Approved status.

      User checks are triggered by something specific on the page; however, you need to determine whether they apply. Bobby Approval requires that none of them apply to your page. Please review these 6 item(s):

      • If this is a data table (not used for layout only), identify headers for the table rows and columns. (3 instances) Line 101, Line 131, Line 98
      • ALT text >150 characters, consider providing a separate description. (1 instance) Line 195
      • If an image conveys important information beyond what is in its alternative text, provide an extended description. (5 instances) Line 195, Line 197, Line 203, Line 204, Lines 256-257
      • If style sheets are ignored or unsupported, are pages still readable and usable?
      • If a table has two or more rows or columns that serve as headers, use structural markup to identify their hierarchy and relationship. (7 instances) Line 101, Line 131, Line 126, Line 192, Line 98, Line 95, Line 275
      • If you use color to convey information, make sure the information is also represented another way.
      Although the main page passes before user checks, other pages (such as the Thank You page) are missing ALT tags on graphics. Therefore the site does not pass as a whole. As for the user checks, the ALT tag that is over 150 characters is designed to take the place of a large animated graphic. If site designers want that much information to be presented, they should not do so in a graphic form that might load exceptionally slowly on older computers. Even on my fast Pentium III 1GHZ with 128 RAM and a cable modem, that graphic is painfully slow to read (and actually slows the entire computer: an effect also noticed on my husband's Mac). It is an inefficient means of providing content, regardless of how "nifty" it might look.
    • Standard elements such as ALT tags are not present on all pages
    • Site looks reasonable in Lynx, but I was unable to donate with or without accepting a cookie. I encountered the following error message continually in Lynx, but had no problem donating at the same time in IE 5.5:

      The page your are trying to view has been cached by your browser and is no longer available. Please hit the back button on your browser, refresh the page, then try again.

  2. [Checkmark] This site has good navigability as follows:
    • Navigation information is on most pages. The Thank You page doesn't have navigation information, which isn't the most preferred situation, but understandable since some advertisers require it. The privacy policy page is also missing navigation information. This should be fixed.
    • navigation does not require javascript, frames, etc. without an alternative
    • all links work and go where the user will assume they're going (including "coming soon" pages for features being worked on, instead of 404s, which is good, although it would be best to not put up the link until the feature was ready)
    • navigational graphics and image maps have ALTs or other workarounds
    • URLs are short and logical
  3. [Checkmark] The site is aesthetically pleasing and uncomplicated, as follows:
    • There is a giant animated javascript picture on the main page that is inefficient and needlessly complicates the page, but this is the only instance of such a thing other than the ads.
    • good colour scheme
  4. [X-mark] The site does not promote, inadvertently or otherwise, poor behaviour such as spam.
    • The Tell-A-Friend feature, although good insofar as it requires the user's own email instead of being able to spam with a fake account, is still conducive to spamming since there doesn't appear to be any mention on the site that sending out mass amounts of email could be a bad thing. The Stop HIV Site should make it clear that spamming people in the site's name is unacceptable, and counterproductive to the effort.
  5. [X-mark] Cookies are not required for donations to count.
    • My husband's browser is set to prompt before accepting cookies. He tried denying cookies at the Stop HIV Site, and then tried to donate, and denied the cookie again at that point. He was taken to a URL within that said:

      The page your are trying to view has been cached by your browser and is no longer available. Please hit the back button on your browser, refresh the page, then try again.

      This is the same message that kept appearing in Lynx. However, when my husband then reloaded the main page, accepted the cookie, and then accepted the cookie when clicking the donate button, he was taken to the Thank You page. This seems to indicate that cookies are required to donate.

  6. [X-mark] If the money collected is only going to one country or smaller geographical division, this is noted as follows:
    • There is no definition of where the money will go, or what geographic limitations will be present.
  7. [Checkmark] There is detailed, accurate information about why the money is needed, and statistics are used in a responsible, contextual manner.
    • The About HIV pages provide numerous details on the disease. This information could be enhanced by indicating its currency.

Considerations outside of criteria

A few weeks ago, the administrator of The Stop HIV Site emailed me to ask whether or not his original design that incorporated elements such as frames would pass, since it had those elements. I informed him that frames and other similar things aren't a problem as long as they always have an alternative. He emailled me back sometime thereafter to indicate that his site should now fulfill all of my criteria, and he was especially proud that the site qualified for Bobby Approved status as well.

I ran a Bobby test at that time, and found that it passed except for some user checks. I also discovered that it only seemed to pass on the main page. I emailled the administrator back to let him know this, but didn't get a response.

I take these things as indications that the operator has a desire to present the site in a manner that favours accessibility. It is therefore unfortunate that some elements prevent accessibility. Add in the problems with not accepting cookies and the fact that Lynx users don't seem to be able to donate even if they do accept cookies, and the site falls below widespread accessibility standards. This also raises privacy issues for users who prefer to never accept cookies.

Most of the problems noted in this review could be fixed up fairly easily. The only two problems that might require more work are eliminating required cookies and replacing them with optional ones, and the problems regarding the unspecified means of delivery of the funds from the foundation. As long as money is merely being collected into an account for the future without any declaration of what should happen to it, users aren't really assured that their clicks are, in fact, helping to stop HIV.

I believe the site operator wants to do a good thing here. I also believe he needs to brush up the site in order to more effectively accomplish that.

It's great that the site has posted its 2000-2001 income statement, but unfortunately it has chosen to do so in a non-standard format (I believe by the extension that it is a Microsoft Excel document). This means people without Excel cannot view the statement unless they hunt around and find a viewer. If The Stop HIV Site really wants to make this information generally accessible, it should, at the very least, provide a link to an Excel viewer. Better yet, to prevent worries of viruses and to be open to more people, the statement should be converted to HTML. I cannot give the site credit for posting this information for this review, since I was unable to read it.

Summary of what this site should do to improve

Several bits of information are missing that could be included in the FAQ or elsewhere on the site: whether or not the owner is a for-profit enterprise, how much of the site's revenue goes to the beneficiary, what geographic limitations the beneficiary has, when the calendar day starts since only one click per day counts, compiled contact information including phone number, how often the donation totals are updated, information on what Dominitech is and exactly how it is related to the site, and more details on the foundation.

The non-profit nature of the site is questionable, although the foundation does claim to have formal non-profit status. If the site is also non-profit, this should be made clear. Anything that is non-profit should cite clear proof of that status, such as registration numbers, information on how to check the status, information as to where the non-profit status is registered (i.e. what state, if it's national, etc.), or other useful information.

The site could benefit from better indications of when it was last updated. Donation totals are reasonably current, but in order to assure users that the site is still in operation, the administrator should find a means to indicate that pages/content is fresh.

The HIV information is good, but should have dates on it to indicate how old the information is. With a disease like HIV, current data is very important, so the site would have a better impact with its facts and figures if it showed that they were recent.

The privacy policy needs to match the privacy information in the FAQ. The FAQ should probably have a link to the privacy policy.

A bit more work needs to be done to make the site truly Bobby Approved. All pages should pass the Bobby test, which means including ALTs for all graphics. The administrator must pay attention to the fact that Priority 1 user checks must pass as well in order to be truly Bobby Approved.

Lynx users and those who do not accept cookies cannot donate. This should be rectified.

Navigation information should be put on the privacy policy page, and, if possible, the Thank You page.

Features that do not yet exist should not be mentioned and linked until they are ready, even though providing a "coming soon" page is better than leaving the page empty.

The animated element on the main page is slow and cumbersome. It should be replaced.

The site needs an anti-spam policy, especially since it has a Tell-A-Friend feature.

Review History:

  • Original Review
    • Date: July 7
    • Grade: C
    • Problems:
      • Missing information:
        • whether or not the owner is a for-profit enterprise
        • how much of the site's revenue goes to the beneficiary
        • what geographic limitations the beneficiary has
        • when the calendar day starts
        • phone number
        • how often the donation totals are updated
        • information on what Dominitech is and exactly how it is related to the site
        • more details on the foundation
      • contact information should be better compiled into one location
      • clarification of non-profit status needed
      • need better indication of site currency
      • HIV information needs better indication of currency
      • Privacy policy should match the FAQ and/or be linked from it
      • more work needed to be Bobby Approved
      • cookies should not be required, or if they are, this should be stated
      • Lynx users cannot donate
      • navigation information should be put on the privacy policy page, and, if possible, the Thank You page
      • features that do not yet exist should not be mentioned and linked until they are ready
      • animated element on the main page is slow and cumbersome
      • needs an anti-spam policy

This page was last updated on July 7, 2001.

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