It's been just over 4 years to the day since we put up our first blog post on Mapawatt. Our first short post on Feb. 8, 2009 was titled "Who is Mapawatt for?":
"There are tons of environmental websites out there that offer up great tips and articles about what other people and companies are doing to help the environment and lower their resource consumption. The focus of most of these sites is on what others are doing to be green. Some of their users might even consider themselves “lazy environmentalists”.
MapAWatt is not like these sites. Our target audience consists of individuals who are tired of reading about what others are doing. Our users want to actually DO SOMETHING. They want to actively search for every way possible to reduce their energy and water consumption to save money and save the environment, implement what they have found, and share their success with the world.
The environmental challenges we face in the 21st century (dwindling natural resources for a growing population, rising energy costs, environmental degradation and pollution, etc.) will not be solved by people reading web articles. They will be solved when individuals are inspired to move beyond their computer screen and take action."
And that has always been our mission; to help people actually take action in reducing their home energy and water use and live more sustainably.
The original idea behind Mapawatt was to create a place where users can compare their home energy usage to their neighbors on a map (hence Map A Watt) and yes, the idea was around prior to the rise and fall of Microsoft Hohm. You can see how far we got on the original Mapawatt idea when we posted a preview on July 30, 2010. But almost year after we struggled to produce our map tool, which never saw full development, Microsoft Hohm called it quits . We had seen the writing on the wall for awhile, but we realized that really engaging residential energy users on home energy conservation was not going to happen around energy data comparison. It's just too boring for the majority.
What we did notice was that our most popular blog posts were on products that were advertised other places, and web users found Mapawatt by researching those products and discovering us through our analysis of the products.
I'll admit that many of these products were scams. They were advertised heavily and tried to lure in unsuspecting or energy ignorant individuals. This is why we started our Ripoff Riport to keep tabs on all the ripoffs we've covered in the past. What's worse, is that many of the "green" sites that covered these products had articles by people who would just regurgitate a press release, with no real analysis or understanding of how the product really worked.
But there are plenty other products that aren't scams. We realized there is a huge disconnect on the internet between products that are advertised or promoted, and how they work in the real world in a user's real geography and energy needs.
So that's our new goal; to educate users on energy topics and help them find products they can put to use and take action in their conservation efforts. There are many energy educational websites, but then they stop short of recommending products that you can use to put your new education to use. And there are certainly plenty of product websites trying to sell you their wares, but they are usually extremely lacking on educational articles, and for obvious reasons, don't talk about their competitors too much. Our goal is to write Educational Articles to explain the theory behind a lot of the topics we discuss and to help users discover Products where they can put their knowledge to use.
All products have a short description about the product and some pricing information, most have specifications, and many have Mapawatt Reviews for products that we have personally tested. I'm sure that many users will find that they didn't even know that many of the products even existed.
We're just getting started, but hopefully you'll hang on for the ride!
Below are some of our previous looks: