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How DuckDuckGo makes money selling search, not privacy


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I can't get away from DuckDuckGo's billboards. All along I-15 in Utah, DuckDuckGo's billboards proclaim peace, love and privacy (here's an example of a DuckDuckGo billboard). Despite negligible browser market share, DuckDuckGo has been profitable since 2014 and generated over $100 million in revenue last year. This is despite StatCounter pegging DuckDuckGo's mobile market share (its strongest platform) at .04% in June 2021.

 

It turns out you don't need to have hegemonic market share to make a comfortable living in search engine land. Nor do you have to sell user privacy. Who knew?

 

DuckDuckGo: selling search, not identity

As much as we may resist the idea of being tracked online, we're often told it's necessary to give us personalized results. DuckDuckGo CEO Gabriel Weinberg disagrees:

 

It's actually a big myth that search engines need to track your personal search history to make money or deliver quality search results. Almost all of the money search engines make (including Google) is based on the keywords you type in, without knowing anything about you, including your search history or the seemingly endless amounts of additional data points they have collected about registered and non-registered users alike. In fact, search advertisers buy search ads by bidding on keywords, not people….This keyword-based advertising is our primary business model.  

 

Furthermore, Weinberg contends, no one needs the volume of data tracked online to deliver a great customer experience or make money. "The fact is, these companies would still be wildly profitable if, for example, they dropped all of these hidden trackers across the web and limited the amount of data they keep to only what is most necessary."........

 

https://www.techrepublic.com/article/how-duckduckgo-makes-money-selling-search-not-privacy/

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V.T. Eric Layton

I use DDG as my default, but quite often I find the results are not sufficient and I end up going to Google. :(

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5 minutes ago, V.T. Eric Layton said:

I use DDG as my default, but quite often I find the results are not sufficient and I end up going to Google. :(

 

I really only have to do that once in a while.

 

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7 hours ago, V.T. Eric Layton said:

I use DDG as my default, but quite often I find the results are not sufficient and I end up going to Google. :(

 

I used Startpage for years but I've read it's not as private as it used to be. AFAIK it basically anonymizes Google results. Now I use DDG, with Startpage as backup in case I want different results. Still less snoopy than Google.

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I switched to startpage after google moved the 'advanced options" way at the bottom. I used the advance options (formerly at the top where all the words are) a lot. I like to limit the time frame on searches. There is little point when trying to help someone if the page gives outdated information. Firefox info written in 2014, is no help on the current v 90 FF.

Startpage has the time and the language at the top of the page.

Perhaps there is some sort of trick to limit the time frame to the past year. I don't know what it is though.

 

Of course, sometimes I'm forced to google because the results on DDG and startpage just don't give good results.

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V.T. Eric Layton

Yes, I also limit many of my searches by date. However, two annoying things I've noticed about DDG are that it doesn't seem to honor terms in "quotations" as it should, nor does it honor time limitations on results; at least, not as well as Google does.

 

StartPage is a project from a group in The Netherlands. It professes to be the MOST secure search online. I haven't used it enough to know if results are worthwhile. Maybe I'll change my default Search for a while and see how StartPage works.

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