Do Oxfam, Amnesty and World Vision support petrol consumption?

Some unsolicited email spam (not to me) from Littlelot, who replace your Android or PC wallpaper with advertisements:

Aside from the problems of this email being unsolicited, they also have a problem of giving away gasoline. This seems out of line with what I would hope are the ethics of the listed charities below:


A glance at the sponsor pictures above may give a hint – there is nature, children, bicycles, animals and festivities – but no cars or roads or other environmentally challenging issues.

Giving away gasoline also seems out of line with the values of many of the early adopters for these sorts of products. The applications themselves take over your PC and mobile devices:

It refreshes your desktop background and mobile lockscreen every day with wallpapers from brands relevant to your profile and interests.

But imagine seeing an advertisement for a fuel company on your homescreen if you were a member of the Green Party (I’m not) or someone who cares about climate change and liveable cities (I am). I’d accept that Z Energy, who are genuine about health, safety and the environment, but am extraordinarily doubtful about any other local fuelco.

The company used to be called Donate your Desktop, and it didn’t really work. Last year they raised $200,000, a surprising feat in the face of no real traction. They also changed their brand, upgraded the website (I believe) and improved their apps. While the new name and website feel like improvements, with just $4,451 raised for charities to date (the company clips 25% of income) it’s very early days.

What to do

It’s hard when you are a start-up, but decisions made early on can have an enduring impact on how your company is perceived. The decisions should be made based on the values of the company, and in the early days these have to come from the founders.

This incarnation of the company seems a lot better than the first, but I would counsel the company to heed their own advice to themselves across everything they do:

“If we wanted people to love our product, we had to give them cool wallpapers from brands they like – even better if we could actually put them in control.”

LittleLot have been very good at generating publicity to date (yes, this is more), but have yet to demonstrate that they can deliver on the promise. Ultimately I’ll always struggle with ceding control of my desktop to another company or to “brands”, and the challenge is to see whether a critical mass of people will.

But I suspect many could be interested, if the apps are good enough, in a one-wallpaper across all your devices product – a decent screensaver app, differentiating by the all-devices approach and perhaps source of the photos. Time will tell.


Published by Lance Wiggs


One reply on “Do Oxfam, Amnesty and World Vision support petrol consumption?”

  1. One issue may be that they don’t seem to be leveraging the built in support base that charities have. Rather than go to magazines and changing branding (honestly I prefer their previous name), I’d be going to charities throughout the country and letting them know how I could serve them as it’s clearly in their best interest to promote the company.

    Why would you just limit yourself to those charities on the site? Why not schools for example? Big market there.

    Ultimately if I were to download this I’d be much more interested in supporting my charity rather than the “choice” of desktop. Also ads shown need to be relevant for the advertiser, but is this really a big concern for the user?

    The whole thing feels like they are disconnected from the consumers who will download their product. Hopefully they do better this time around.


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