DuckDuckGo search traffic soars 600% post-Snowden

DuckDuckGo search traffic soars 600% post-Snowden by Lee Munson.

From the post:

When Gabriel Weinberg launched a new search engine in 2008 I doubt even he thought it would gain any traction in an online world dominated by Google.

Now, seven years on, Philadelphia-based startup DuckDuckGo – a search engine that launched with a promise to respect user privacy – has seen a massive increase in traffic, thanks largely to ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden’s revelations.

Since Snowden began dumping documents two years ago, DuckDuckGo has seen a 600% increase in traffic (but not in China – just like its larger brethren, its blocked there), thanks largely to its unique selling point of not recording any information about its users or their previous searches.

Such a huge rise in traffic means DuckDuckGo now handles around 3 billion searches per year.

DuckDuckGo does not track its users. Instead, it makes money off of displaying key word (from your search string) based ads.

Hmmm, what if instead of key words from your search string, you pre-qualified yourself for ads?

Say for example I have a topic map fragment that pre-qualifies me for new books on computer science, break baking, and waxed dental floss. When I use a search site, it uses those “topics” or key words to display ads to me.

That avoids displaying to me ads for new cars (don’t own one, don’t want one), hair replacement ads (not interested) and ski resorts (don’t ski).

Advertisers benefit because their ads are displayed to people who have qualified themselves as interested in their products. I don’t know what the difference in click-through rate would be but I suspect it would be substantial.


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