DuckDuckGo is a private search engine that is well-known for its secure browsing, but many people are hesitant to make the switch from Google. If you are one of these folks, then you might be wondering if they are pulling a fast one on unsuspecting customers.
They claim that they won’t sell your private information to advertisers every time you enter a search query. But is that really the case? If they aren’t selling your private information, how does DuckDuckGo make money? Let’s find out!
DuckDuckGo’s Business Model
DuckDuckGo is not a huge search engine. In fact, they only have about 1.5% of search traffic worldwide.
However, you don’t need a huge market share to make a comfortable living in search engine land. This company has raised $100 million dollars since its inception in 2008 and has been profitable ever since. In fact, the company was able to pay off all of its investors within two years after being founded. This means that there were no outside investments made into the business.
That is pretty impressive when you consider that most companies can’t do that. So, what exactly did they do?
Gabriel Weinberg spent several years patiently bootstrapping DuckDuckGo without relying on outside capital to fund his venture. Union Square Ventures decided to invest in Weinberg’s company because they wanted to embrace the web-based, open-source business model that was overtaking packaged software.
So, how does DuckDuckGo make money?
They Sell Search Queries, Not Your Identity
Unlike Google, DuckDuckGo will not share your personal information with marketers. As a result, you can conduct daily searches with the confidence that your email account won’t fill up with new (or repeating) spam messages. In addition, you have less of a chance of someone stealing your identity whenever you go online to research information or make a purchase.
DuckDuckGo is a Privacy-Focused Search Engine.
They will not track your every movement when you enter a search query in their search bar. The reason is simple: search engines don’t need to know your search history or your exact location because they do not need to sell this information to marketers. So, there is no need for them to use hidden trackers to collect your personal data.
Not only that, but they constantly monitor their search engine for any signs of a search leakage to ensure that their customers have a safe and private searching experience. They will alert their customers about the number of privacy invasion attempts that occurred during their search sessions. This makes them one of the most prominent players in this space.
Their iOS and Android mobile apps provide you with the same privacy features as the desktop browser extensions. The iOS mobile app received an overall rating of 4.9, with close to a million reviews. The android app received an overall rating of 4.8, with over 1.2 million votes. You can conduct daily searches from anywhere in the world and have confidence in knowing that your personal data is safe.
Advertising Revenue vs Organic Traffic
It’s important to note that while DuckDuckGo doesn’t sell personal data like Facebook or Twitter does, it does collect certain types of information: IP addresses, browser type/version, operating system, referring site, etc. While this information isn’t personally identifiable, it could potentially allow third parties to track your browsing habits across multiple websites.
This is where privacy comes into play. The fact that you’re able to use DuckDuckGo without giving away too many details about yourself shows that the company cares deeply about protecting your privacy. In contrast, sites such as Facebook and Twitter gather tons of information about us so they can target ads specifically tailored to our interests.
Search Ads and Keyword-Based Advertising
DuckDuckGo relies on search ads and keyword-based advertising to generate income. Once you enter a search term, they will display Bing search ads related to your query. They will earn a commission every time you click on an ad.
How much does DuckDuckGo make each time a user clicks on one of these ads?
The company makes $0.0025 per click from the advertisements shown on its results pages. This means that if someone searches for “car insurance” using Google or Yahoo!, it would cost them about $2.50 to see those two companies’ sponsored links at the top of their page. If they clicked on any other link, however, they’d be charged only once—for clicking through to the advertiser’s website.
In addition, advertisers pay more when users click on their ads than what they’re paying now. For example, if you were searching for car insurance, you might have been willing to spend as little as $1.99 to get your hands on some relevant information. But if you saw an advertisement for car insurance with no price listed, you may not even bother looking at it because you know how expensive it can be. That’s why most people don’t click on ads unless there’s something specific they want to buy.
So, by showing up first in organic listings, DuckDuckGo earns revenue without charging anyone anything extra. And since they show up before paid ads, they also avoid losing out on potential customers who aren’t interested in buying things online but still end up seeing their ads anyway.
DuckDuckGo’s revenue is generated via keyword advertising and search engine optimization. SEO refers to techniques designed to improve traffic flow to a particular web property. It includes everything from optimizing content to making sure that all of your URLs have keywords.
Keywords are words that describe products or services. When you perform a search, your computer sends signals to various search engines, telling them which terms you searched. These search engines return a list of websites based on the keywords you entered. When you visit a website, the search engine uses algorithms to determine whether that site should appear near the top of the list. So, if you typed “best laptop,” chances are good that Dell will come up higher in the rankings than BestBuy.com.
If you’ve ever used Google, you already understand how this works. You start typing a word into the box above the keyboard, and the search engine returns many possible matches. As soon as you select one, the rest of the text disappears, and you’re taken directly to the corresponding webpage.
When you type a word into the DuckDuckGo search bar, the system displays similar suggestions below the main field. However, unlike Google, DuckDuckGo doesn’t automatically load the following result until you press Enter. Instead, it waits for you to finish entering your query before displaying the second set of suggested queries.
eBay and Amazon provide other sources of income for DuckDuckGo. They receive affiliate revenue every time a user clicks on their display ads. Their non-tracking affiliate partnership ensures your privacy because it allows DuckDuckGo to use a “Nofollow” algorithm which prevents links from being tracked by third parties like Google Analytics or Adsense.
Thanks to the algorithm, the advertising company can’t see how many people click your link addressed through NoFollow. So far, they have been very successful with these partnerships. Currently, they earn $1 billion per year in affiliate commissions and have a higher market share than Bing.
Which Search Engine Is Better For Privacy – Google or DuckDuckGo?
Hands down, DuckDuckGo is the search engine you want to use if you care about your privacy. Customers appreciate how DuckDuckGo alerts them about the number of privacy invasion attempts that occurred while they conducted their searches. They also understand how websites are not allowed to track their previous searches and interests.
Unlike Google, you can visit a site without being inundated with ads that prevent you from reading the content. You may find a few, but DDG tries to remove as many as they can. The same goes for popups and other annoying advertisements. If you don’t like what you see when visiting a page, close the window.