Change.org did all it could to persuade people that it was no ordinary business.
From its dot.org domain name to its declaration that “our business is social good” to its certification as a B Corporation, Change.org positioned itself as a progressive force. It promised to run campaigns for “organizations fighting for the public good and the common values we hold dear—fairness, equality, and justice.” That’s no longer its mission.
And therein lies a story that has stirred up a brouhaha on the left, exposed the company’s business model — which depends more on selling advertising than promoting change–and cast doubt on the faddish but fuzzy notion of what it means to be a “social enterprise” or a “social entrepreneur.”
You’ve heard of Change.org, right? It’s a popular and fast-growing website for petitions, some of which have packed a wallop. By collecting signatures and media attention, Change.org helped persuade Bank of America to roll back debit card fees, stirred up outrage when a Target worker described how predawn black Friday sales ruined employees’ Thanksgiving and got editors at Seventeen to agree not to use photoshopped models in the magazine. [click to continue...]