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Cyberscape Media

May 12th, 2023

There can’t be many people that have made a life-changing career shift thanks to a crashed satellite, but that’s exactly what happened to Dr Neil Williams.

As part of the team working on the polar orbiting environmental satellite CryoSat, Neil was hit hard by its failed 2005 launch. He took time out from working as a contractor for the European Space Agency (ESA) to reassess things, focusing on a side hobby to keep his mind occupied and to earn a bit of additional income; affiliate marketing.

To his surprise, within a few months, the hobby turned into a highly successful business, and within a year or so he was earning far more than working for ESA in Darmstadt, Germany.

Having been forced to live away from his girlfriend, who resided in Bath while completing her PhD in Science Studies, Neil realised that this was his ticket to a better life, so he quit his job and returned to England to focus on building his affiliate business, Cyberscape Media.

Together with his now wife, Dr Ciara Muldoon, the pair grew the business, raising the profile of national and international online services through a mix of SEO, pay per click marketing, and the creation of affiliate websites.

Cyberscape Media’s success has been such that the couple have been able to focus on other interests too, most notably the creation of a charitable search engine called, which is powered by a feed from Microsoft Bing. SearchScene gives 95% of its profits back to charities around the world – far more than any other search engine. It also offers beautiful wallpaper scenery on its homepage that changes each time you reload the page, hence the name SearchScene. The couple hope that this will not only capture the imagination of users internationally, but that it will do so in a way that makes it a serious challenger to Google.

Already, in just the 12 months that it has been running, the search engine, which will be launching an app for Android and iPhone soon, has funded the planting of over 52,000 trees through the Eden Reforestation Project. It’s also provided 4,000 people with clean drinking water through Oxfam, 840 warm blankets for children and babies through UNICEF, 348 life-saving malaria treatments via UNHCR, 108 water hand pumps through Water Aid and adopted 112 endangered animals via WWF.

“We hope that this is the start of something huge”, says Dr Williams. “Each year search engines make over $100bn of profits from search ads. Just imagine the difference that could be made if that money were used to help charities committed to reducing world hunger, protecting the environment, and tackling climate change."

“Even if just a small fraction of the world’s population shifted from using Google to, we could help thousands of good causes globally."

“Best of all, it costs search engine users absolutely nothing, as all the money raised comes from advertiser click-through fees. And it takes money away from search engines like Google, that are renowned for focusing on profit.”

Helping Neil and Ciara on their journey has been Simpkins Edwards. Living in Exeter, the couple wanted a local accountant with the skills and knowledge to help them run their business successfully. Key among their requirements was an advisor that could provide analysis of their accounts as well as proactive guidance to assist with their tax affairs and the extraction of money from the business tax-efficiently.

“We wanted an accountant that could drop in to see us, to go through the books and assist us with ongoing advice,” says Dr Williams. “When we met Jon Williams, we knew that there was a good fit. We signed up to Simpkins Edwards’ quarterly service, whereby they maintain our books and handle our management accounts, and we haven’t looked back."

“Jon and his team handle our VAT submissions and assist with the annual preparation of our accounts and corporation tax returns. Jon also helps us personally with our income tax, guiding us on the most tax efficient way to extract profit from the business including advice on remuneration and company cars. Whatever query we have, Jon and his team are always there to help.”

Dr Williams adds: “With Simpkins Edwards’ assistance, CSV bank statements are imported into Xero. These are then reviewed by Jon and his team against expenditure and tracked against quarterly income, providing us with in-depth commentary and analysis reports which are vital to forecasting and performance reviews."

“Paired with detailed advice on the correct VAT treatments linked to the territories in which we operate around the globe, Simpkins Edwards gives us the certainty that we’re not only tax efficient but that we pay our taxes responsibly. That’s a huge relief for us and it allows us to focus on helping the public kick the Google habit. Now, users are just one click away from making the world a better place, simply by switching to SearchScene.”

To switch to the charity-first SearchScene search engine on Chrome, Firefox, or Microsoft Edge just visit:

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