WEB.DE and GMX offer journalistic content that reaches more than 12 million users every day. Because their editorial offerings are freely accessible without a paywall, WEB.DE and GMX have a significant impact on society. The latest Media Diversity Monitor reports that these two online portals are among the top 10 media outlets in the German opinion market. In the “Opinion Market Online” category, WEB.DE and GMX occupy first and second place.
In order to live up to the responsibility of providing neutral, careful reporting to readers, our editorial team is certified according to the standard of the Journalism Trust Initiative of Reporters Without Borders and clearly discloses its working methods on a transparency page. In 2019, WEB.DE and GMX became the first large, online-only editorial teams to make a voluntary commitment to the Press Code vis-à-vis the German Press Council.
In addition, WEB.DE and GMX host a climate channel in the editorial segment to draw greater attention to topics relating to man-made climate change and its effects, while also highlighting solutions and ways out of the crisis. The channel publishes around 20 to 50 articles per month.
Email accounts with high data protection and security standards
With our free email portals and the associated cloud storage space on WEB.DE and GMX, we enable people to access Internet services and participate in everyday digital life. In this context, protecting our customer data is a top priority. Our servers are located in Germany. We process emails and data in accordance with the requirements of the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and store them exclusively in Germany in compliance with strict German data protection standards.
To actively help shape the standards for protecting sensitive data in our market environment, we join other German companies in initiatives such as „E-Mail made in Germany“ and „Cloud made in Germany“.
As an email provider, we are also a member of the Certified Sender Alliance (CSA) and the Messaging, Malware and Mobile Anti-Abuse Working Group (M3AAWG). This allows us to play an active role in developing standards and best practices for email sending and email-based marketing. The two initiatives protect users from potential harm caused by spam/phishing and unsolicited newsletters. At the same time, they reduce emissions by preventing spam.
We collaborate with external service providers to continuously improve our security, for example with independent security assessments and with open-source communities such as OWASP. We also work with security researchers in our bug bounty program.
Together with United Internet Media, we are also involved in developing the European identity standard for the European netID Foundation. WEB.DE and GMX function as account providers for netID. Our users can use their email access data as a netID login via the single sign-on function. The Privacy Center allows our users to keep track of their settings and consents at all times. That ensures transparency and control over the use of user information and thus provides data sovereignty.
We ensure the reliability and trustworthiness of our advertising environments by adopting strict guidelines. A key part of this is the protection of minors; for example, there is no targeting of minors. We also severely restrict advertising for individual segments. These include stimulants such as alcohol and tobacco, as well as erotica. There are also guidelines for content. This applies, for example, to advertising that conflicts with relevant values such as equality or diversity.
Advertising that defames social groups and contains propagandistic, unconstitutional, anti-state, sexist or racist messages is also fundamentally prohibited. Statements and designs that glorify violence and war are likewise not permitted.
The „United Internet for UNICEF“ foundation has been a central component of our social commitment since 2006. With UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund, we can count on a globally recognized and qualified partner and increase our impact for children in need. UNICEF supports projects in the areas of education, health, and child protection, for example, thus improving the living conditions of children around the world. In addition, UNICEF provides humanitarian aid in the event of natural disasters and their consequences.
Our foundation helps attract donations and long-term sponsorships by placing appeals for donations on our online platforms and sending them out by mail. Together with users of the WEB.DE, GMX and 1&1 portals, as well as IONOS, the foundation has already collected more than EUR 66 million for children in need since 2006 and gained around 14,500 active UNICEF sponsors. That makes United Internet for UNICEF the largest corporate partner of UNICEF in Germany. All of the foundation employees work on a voluntary basis or are not paid from donations. 100 percent of the individual and permanent donations received are forwarded to UNICEF.
We do not tolerate discrimination. To solidify this position, we signed the Diversity Charter in 2021 as part of United Internet, an initiative to promote diversity in the world of work. By signing, we commit to making diversity an integral part of our organizational culture. Every year, we hold our Diversity Days with keynotes, interactive workshops, book presentations, and employee testimonials.
We consider ourselves to be a diverse company. Our employees all experience the same appreciation and equal opportunities, regardless of nationality, ethnic and social origin, religion or world view, gender and gender identity, age, level of education, disability, or sexual orientation and identity. The goal is to find the area and function in which each employee’s individual potential and talents can best be developed. We firmly believe that the diversity of our team is the framework for creativity and productivity. To unleash this potential for ideas and innovation, we promote diversity and equal opportunities in a variety of formats.
We have set up our own diversity project team, consisting of colleagues who have already worked on the topic as part of previous development programs, as well as people from HR and the sustainability team. Our goal is to establish and promote diversity even more strongly in the company, even though we already embody an open and appreciative corporate culture. We address the various dimensions of diversity through focus activities such as training, promoting gender parity, and using gender-sensitive language.
We aim to be a fair and attractive employer. Our goal is to attract, develop, and retain managers and employees with specialist technical and technological knowledge. To this end, we offer tailor-made formats for further training and personal development. To fill management positions from within our own company, we operate the MyWayTo program to promote young talent. This program prepares employees for disciplinary or lateral management positions over a period of up to two years. Orientation modules and in-depth modules allow the program to be tailored to individual needs.
To monitor the impact of the program, we track the management positions we have filled internally and the employee turnover rate, among other things. We also aim to increase the proportion of female managers in the company. To this end, at least 50% of our vacant management positions are filled by women. Both external and internal candidates are processed through an assessment center.
We design our working conditions and HR processes in line with the goal of sustainable HR work. We have also anchored this long-term perspective in our Values and Leadership Principles. We regularly review our actions and our biases (e.g. unconscious bias) based on analyses and surveys on topics such as diversity, women’s quota, equal pay, and careers. We particularly strive to promote the health of our employees and balance their workloads so we can support their needs in different phases of life. We also regularly train our managers and employees in the area of human resources.
Our occupational health management offers numerous support services and measures for health care and prevention that go beyond the legal requirements of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
We place particular emphasis on health-related topics such as exercise, ergonomics, nutrition, dealing with stress, and strengthening resilience. The offerings include, for example, in-house sports and fitness courses as well as health lectures and discounts at selected sports centers. Occupational health services are available for vaccinations, and employees can request computer glasses and ergonomic office furniture. In addition to our external family service, which addresses challenging mental and physical issues, we launched our psychological first-aid initiative in September 2023. This involves giving colleagues training in psychological issues so they can provide first aid in the event of personal or professional problems.
We offer our employees several different working-time models so they can meet the challenges posed by their professional and personal lives according to their individual situation. We also support their desire to get involved in society in the name of social sustainability, for example by offering paid time off for Ukraine aid and flood relief or involvement in programs such as Fit for Job. Likewise, our experts can share their knowledge during lectures at universities or chambers of commerce – also as paid time off.
We value the opinions and ideas of our employees. For example, we developed our values and leadership principles as well as our competency model in workshops with employees from various hierarchical levels. The “My Ideas” function is a low-threshold service available on the intranet. Any contribution that improves our day-to-day work is welcome there, from more efficient processes and innovations to patent-worthy suggestions. In the Sustainability Open Space, employees are invited to contribute their sustainable ideas and suggestions.