Duck Duck Go Passed 1mm Searches Per Day

I'm a bit late with this news about our portfolio company Duck Duck Go but I am super excited about it so I'm posting it anyway. I'll let a tweet tell the story:



One million searches per day is not chump change. AOL does somewhere around four or five times that every day. And if you look at this public chart of Duck Duck Go's growth, you'll see that they may pass AOL sometime this year.

Ddg traffic

Why is DDG growing so fast? Well first and foremost, their product is getting better and better. I have changed all my browsers to default to DDG and I am watching the service improve before my eyes. And the redesign that launched around year end is excellent. So if you haven't tried DDG recently, you should give it a try.

But it may also be that other search engines are doing things that some users don't approve of and those users are shopping around for a new search engine. If you are in that camp, join me at DDG and see what clean, private, impartial and fast search is like.

#VC & Technology#Web/Tech

Comments (Archived):

  1. JamesHRH

    Apparently, I have to up texting w my wife ( in Europe ) to be first in. I will give it a try!

    1. fredwilson

      where in europe are you?

      1. JamesHRH

        No, she is in Holland, getting on a plane. I am up texting before she is wheels up (4:30 here in CGY).

        1. JamesHRH

          I agree w search customers in shopping mode. No doubt.I tried DDG a few yrs ago & did not see an appreciable difference. Brand strength of The Goog v strong. You must have heard the Bing research story by now? It’s almost meme.

          1. fredwilson

            getting weaker though

          2. JamesHRH

            Product quality deteriorating – undermines brand. There is a lag, but an absolute opening to steal customers being created.All great brands only lose marketshare after failing their customers.

  2. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

    Classical Hockey Stick growth is awaited. I can see part of the hockey stick already drawn.

  3. William Mougayar

    I’ve been using DDG since your earlier post and haven’t changed that. I like its clean set of uncluttered results without the Google bias. And yes, once in a while one has to revert to Google for some searches, but that’s OK. I just did 2 searches on Engagio comparing the 2 services because we had a slew of coverage yesterday. With Google, I had to go to the 6th page to start seeing some new stuff vs. first page for DDG. What’s next for DDG? How do they monetize?

    1. fredwilson

      there are some sponsored links in there alreadyyou probably don’t even notice themdo you know about the bang codes?engagio !g will get you google resultsengagio !gi will get you google image resultsall the bang codes are on the drop down next to the search bar

      1. K_Berger

        Hmm.  I just did a search in DDG on ‘engagio’.  It asked me if I meant ‘engaged’ but I saw no way to tell it I really did mean Engagio.  Three out of the top five results were for ‘engaged’.On Google, it was all about Engagio.Bing asked if I meant ‘engaged’ but gave me a link to switch the results back to Engagio.

        1. William Mougayar

          But these “Engaged” results will gradually go away as our brand gets stronger and expands its online footprint. Last week you would have seen a lot more Engaged results even on Google. Engagio is a new term that didn’t exist before. We only bought the domain 2 weeks ago.

          1. K_Berger

            Definitely.  Just pointing out that in this situation, Google nailed the search I wanted, the others did not.

          2. Patrick Campi

            Hey William, can I touch base with you about the domain-name buy process you went through?

          3. William Mougayar

            yes, of course. go to engagio and register, then click on the envelope next to my name or profile and it will reveal your email to me 1:1 and i will email you. 

      2. William Mougayar

        I love the bang codes, and will use them more, but when they send traffic outside of DDG, does DDG benefit that way?

      3. matthughes

        A Twitter bang code would be awesome. 

        1. fredwilson

          i love that idea

        2. fredwilson

          mattew – !tw gets your twitter search

          1. matthughes

            Wow, that’s awesome.If it was there before I didn’t notice it.

    2. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

      Unrelated to this topic.Good to read about the details of engagio on GigaOM. Good luck William.

      1. William Mougayar

        Hey Thanks Kasi & Jim. I couldn’t help but slip it in 🙂 The AVC Community was a big part of it and was mentioned in every article yesterday. I owe it to you big time, and will write a post about that. 

    3. JimHirshfield

      Congrats again on the news, William. Great coverage on great product.

    4. K_Berger

      William, congratulations on the Engagio announcement yesterday!  And to Fred as well. Looking forward to seeing more great news in the future!

    5. Tom Labus

      Congrats on your financing and good press.

    6. ShanaC

      🙂  Smilies for the announcements…

      1. William Mougayar

        Thanks Shana , Tom and K_Berger.

  4. Rohan

    Will test it out. On a slightly tangential yet related note.’30% use Google to search. 70% use Google to check if the internet is working.’ #trustRandom statistic, I think.. but illustrates a point. I guess it’s not just search they’re looking to replace..

    1. William Mougayar

      That 70% doesn’t know much about caching. A Google page could still show-up as a cached page from your PC and that doesn’t mean the Internet is working. I use Google News to check if the Internet is working 🙂

      1. Rohan

        But of course.. you’re in top 1% monsieur! DDG still need the support of the remaining 99% and then some (like me! haha)

      2. testtest

        ping tool FTW.i ping to check connectivity. ping google to check dns resolution. on a linux/bsd  based system the ping keeps on going; so if you’re in an area with sketchy connectivity you can see the latency, dropped packets, dropped connectivity. on windows it’s the command “ping -t”.  

        1. William Mougayar

          Now you lost me on technical grounds 🙂 That’s something my engineers would do.

  5. John Best

    I didn’t realise DDG was one of your portfolio companies.I’ve had it as default search in Opera for a while now. When iGoogle came out, that was enough to get me to switch permanently. The only thing I’d like is a proprietary image search function, but I suspect that’s probably in the development roadmap.Overall I like it, and its user-focused ethic. I don’t want my search provider to consider the information I’m querying as a “product”. 

    1. fredwilson

      add !gi after your search term in DDG to get the image search 🙂

      1. John Best

        or !bi, for Bing’s.I’m waiting on DDG’s own 🙂

        1. fredwilson

          is bing’s any good?

          1. John Best

            Its not bad at all. I find it gives a narrower range of results. Usually that presents as more focus on the search terms, but it can also miss some of the more fuzzy links.I suspect that’s deliberate, as an attempt to differentiate from Google’s.

  6. LIAD

    The DDG story is all about keeping the faith and staying true to your vision.It takes hard work, time and dedication to achieve growth, especially the hockey stick variety. Failing fast and monthly pivots aren’t necessarily the only paths to success. Would be interesting to know the growth in uniques searching daily on DDG rather than just the total searches.

    1. fredwilson

      that’s a good question about uniques

      1. Gabriel Weinberg

        We currently don’t have that information.

        1. fredwilson

          right. because you don’t track. got it.

  7. Ela Madej

    Wow, congrats!

  8. Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry

    Hey,I’ve been following DDG for a while (I interviewed Gabriel back in January of last year: http://www.businessinsider…. ) and switched to DDG as default in Chrome around the time you invested. A few thoughts on the service/strategy:- The speed differential between Google and DDG is big and noticeable and makes a big difference. This is obviously an enormous hurdle to overcome as Google has incredible infrastructure to pull off being so fast, but it matters.- Queries where DDG is very noticeably inferior to Google: — searches where there’s a real time/recency element. If I search for an article that’s been published recently, Google will find it very easily and DDG won’t. Again, this is an infrastructure problem: Google crawls much faster because it has such scale.– foreign language searches. I use English as the default language on Google and even then when I search for French stuff Google finds it most of the time and DDG almost never. I understand it’s not the most important thing to focus on for DDG right now (and a huge undertaking to get right) but it matters to a lot of bilingual users like me.– sometimes there are slightly absurd results. For example when I want to get to an organization’s website, I’ll type into the Chrome bar “name of the organization !” which will take me to the first result for that query, and in a non-trivial number of times I’ve been taken to an unrelated page. I assume this is getting better all of the time, but still–worth noting. – The main reason I use DDG, paradoxically, is because it makes it easier to use other search engines: !w for Wikipedia (before that when I wanted to go to a Wikipedia page, I would manually type the URL as they have a simple syntax, so if I want to go to Fred Wilson, I would type… into the address bar and hit enter; obviously DDG’s saved me a lot of key strokes), !wa for Wolfram Alpha, LinkedIn, etc. And on tricky searches, I’ll type !g for Google. Paradoxically DDG makes it easier to search Google because if I search for videos I’ll type !gv or !yt for Google Videos/YouTube, !gi for images, etc. which takes less time than doing a general search and then clicking over to the right vertical. This is a very smart move from DDG because it still means I’ll use them more at the margin than if I had Google as a default, even though I suspect most of my DDG queries are to other search engines. – I’m not a privacy paranoid type of person. I’m fine with handing all of my info to Google/Facebook/Twitter/whoever. And I believe it makes my results better at the margins. While the “we don’t track you” stuff might be a good argument for a core of early adopters and that’s important, at some point DDG is going to have to compete on something else (ie quality and features and SPEED) because normal people simply don’t care about that stuff.

    1. William Mougayar

      When you say speed, you mean user experience-related speed? Are we talking milliseconds here? Sorry I didn’t understand the issue there.You definitely have a very critical eye, and saw the glass half-empty instead of half-full, but then you admitted you like to use it because of the ! shortcuts. Very paradoxical and enigmatic indeed 🙂

      1. Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry

        I’m not sure I see the glass half-empty or half-full, I just think honest critique is the best way for people to improve.And yes, when I say speed, I mean user experience-related speed. I mean how fast the page with the search results is displayed. Maybe it’s because I’m in Europe but there’s a noticeable difference in speed between Google searches and DDG searches.And as you note yourself, I like DDG and use it every day. I’m just critiquing it because I think it’s the best favor I can give the company.

        1. Fernando Gutierrez

          I experience the same speed problem in Spain, but last week I was in the US and it was much faster, so it’s about infrastructure for sure.

          1. Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry

            Interesting. Thanks.

          2. Gabriel Weinberg

            Yes, we just started building out our European infrastructure. It’s gotten faster, but still has a ways to improve. Needless to say, we’re actively working on it!

          3. Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry

            Thanks for the comment! 🙂 Again: like what you do and am a user, my criticism is in the interest of helping you.

          4. Gabriel Weinberg

            I really appreciate it.

    2. Mark Essel

      great tips on meta search portaling with DDG

      1. Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry

        Thanks. I’m not sure these features will appeal to mainstream users (99% of people don’t know how to use “” or site: in Google even after all these years) but they’re definitely useful to me.

        1. ChuckEats

          in the beginning, google was the hacker’s choice (particularly w/ code searches); it filtered down from there.

          1. Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry

            I get that a core of early adopter users is important. That being said, Google was also VASTLY, obviously much better than anything else on the market, which certainly helped with the filtering. For all I like DDG, I don’t most people would say it’s “VASTLY, obviously much better” than Google.

    3. Fernando Gutierrez

      You can do queries to different search engines directly from chrome bar configuring the keywords (Options/Basics/Manage Search Engines). I use w for wikipedia and just have to type “w search term” to get to the page I want.

      1. Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry

        Ha, yes. But a) it’s complicated to set up so I haven’t (lazy I know but 99% of users are lazy and should be) and b) when I’ve used it on Chrome the UX is wonky sometimes: you type the name of the site and then “tab” to indicate you want to search that site, but since autocomplete only works some of the time sometimes it’s frustrating. I like DDG’s !bang syntax better.

    4. testtest

      google crawl deeper than other search engines. including bing et al. their data is an economic moat. i’m surprised DDG doesn’t uses more social data to suffice new stories. if can keep track of twitter stories–and do it well–then it’s possible.  newer content is surfaced under the algorithmic signal Query Deserves Freshness.  speed, in usability terms, is perception. so, it’s not just a technical challenge.

    5. LIAD

      I agree.DDG isn’t your traditional disruptive innovation.It seems to be attacking Google head-on with the differentiator being anonymity.Not sure that’s enough.

      1. Todd

        It’s enough for me.Google’s new policy – allowing them to link everything I do on all their sites – scares me. Abuse of that power doesn’t seem to far away.I started using (that’s their shortened-URL that redirects to their https site) about 2 months ago. So far nothing has really stood out as markedly deficient.

        1. testtest

          it’s a shame they can’t get hold of it’s owned by google.

          1. William Mougayar

            @domainregistry:disqus will think of something 🙂

          2. fredwilson

            That’s the URL I wish they could haveCouldn’t be in worse hands

          3. testtest

            it’s a domain name. url has three parts, crudely speaking. 1. the protocol2. the domain name3. the pathcouldn’t help say the above. it gets my goat when i see people calling domain names urls.

          4. Richard


      2. fredwilson

        That’s what I thought tooBut Gabes approach to search is completely different than google and msft

        1. ShanaC

          I’m not sure I get it…

          1. Gabriel Weinberg

            I think it will become move obvious in a bit more time, but here are some of the underlying premises: http://www.gabrielweinberg…. (bottom).

          2. matthughes

            Six months in, I’m not sure if I get it entirely but I like it…I was going to say authenticity but I actually think innocence is a better description.

          3. Richard

            need to change duckduckgo to a “verb” ..what about duckcrawl?I googled XXX and was hit with ads for weeksI duckcrawled XXXX and got better results without being shot at.

          4. Mark Essel

            I was walking with two friends this morning (small business owner and a retiree) when I brought up this post. We were in high gear at a 4.75-5mph clip as I recommended to one friend Woody who enjoys searching for youtube videos and had as a homepage (he needed a change badly). I suggested he switch to DuckDuckGo and sent him a link to a youtube search of Gladys Night. !yt Gladys Nightor…When I explained the importance of disconnected/anonymous search my other friend John jumped in saying he felt really uncomfortable handing over so much personal information to Google, and was looking for a new email and search option.

          5. André DeMarre

            (We’ve hit the Disqus max thread depth here.)Rich Weisberger, maybe “waddle” would make a better Duck Duck Go verb than “duckcrawl”.

      3. Ray Cote

        “Not sure that’s enough.”I would edit that to:Not sure that’s enoughYET!

      4. André DeMarre

        That reminds me of Unthink vs. Facebook. It’s difficult to take on the giant when your differentiator is one of policy. If you don’t offer something demonstrably better, then the best you can do is go after the niche market who cares about the policies behind the service. That approach will probably work better with search than social networking, because the critical mass is harder to acquire when the niche isn’t aligned with social boundaries.Diaspora on the other hand has an edge, but I’m not sure their implementation is right and I doubt it’s the disruption people thought it would be. There’s something bigger coming…

    6. fredwilson

      Speed is the most important feature for every appGreat feedback. I guess you like today’s post better than yesterday’s

      1. Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry

        Ha! Sorry, nothing personal. But yeah, I like DDG better than Americans Elect. 😉

      2. Nikhil Nirmel

        > Speed is the most important feature for every appWow, that’s a counterintuitive and strong statement. It may even be true. I don’t think many startup founders think that server speed is what differentiates them, but if it is indeed that critical, I think that factor should be more widely known. Second, I think speed should also be defined not just as load time but the time taken from the time a user comes to the website to the time the reason they came there is satisfied.

        1. fredwilson

          I believe it is

          1. Tom Allen

            This is a very interesting topic, but I don’t think you are entirely correct. The most important feature for every app is a positive user experience. Speed is a huge and vitally important part of that, but it’s not the whole story. All other things being equal, the faster app will be better, but engineering is never that simple; there’s always a trade-off to be made between multiple variables, and focussing on just one is misguided.I wrote a Ph.D. thesis on the application of this concept to path finding for robotic vehicles. Real-time path finding is already a hard problem because one can almost always invest more computational effort to get a better solution. My research proved that there *always* exists a point where this investment will not yield a better overall solution – such as when you spend so much time analysing the possibilities that you would have been better served by just taking a suboptimal route.By focussing on the overall objective to be optimised, rather than just the speed and quality of the path finding algorithm, my research developed a technique to continuously adjust the trade-offs in real-time – not optimising just the path finding, but optimising the entire system itself.Applying this to app design leads to ‘lean startup’ like ideas; find the true metric to optimise, rather than vanity metrics. Then launch, measure, and iterate continuously. Speed is important, but a positive user experience is more so.#fs

    7. Aaron Klein

      Another thing missing is stock quotes. Many of my searches are for informmation, not necessarily web pages.Great product and great progress!

      1. ShanaC

        But that is where complaints about search ux have been coming in for years

        1. Aaron Klein

          True, but it works really well on Google:…Google is stuck in an interesting catch-22 on that. I think they want to innovate their core product, but that opens them up to charges they are trying to draw traffic away from other sites.I think that’s unfair, but it’s reality, and DuckDuckGo has a great opportunity to build a fresh approach to information delivery on top of web links.

      2. Gabriel Weinberg

        We actually had stock quotes and will be bringing them back soon.

        1. Aaron Klein


  9. leigh

    was wondering how DDG fits into the large group of engaged users portfolio strategy?  i’m missing something ??

    1. Mark Essel

      Good question. They do have a strong core fan base/community but it’s not a network it’s an un-network and tool.

    2. fredwilson

      It doesn’t. We rarely make exceptions. But we couldn’t resist backing Gabe and taking a run at search

  10. JimHirshfield

    You’ve put a lot of thought into DDG. Thanks for sharing insights.

  11. jason wright

    The last paragraph is the difference between today’s post and last friday’s Tumblr “cheapness”. Here we have reference to a commercial service but placed in the context of a broader issue, something to sink our teeth into…if they’re sharp enough. Tomorrow is friday. The anticipation tangible. My wisdom teeth sharpening.

    1. fredwilson

      I still don’t get your hating on last feature Friday. Promoted content is emerging as the next humongous business model on the web

      1. ShanaC

        no fun friday?

        1. fredwilson


      2. kidmercury

        i agree that promoted content is where it’s at, but i see it as very tricky to execute, and i see mistakes as having a significant cost (i.e. trust is hard to re-earn). personally it’s working for me (relative to the alternatives) but i still find it as very tough. maybe it’s just me though.  if you ever wanted to do a post on what you have learned thus far in promoted content and where you think it is headed i think that would be great. 

      3. jason wright

        Fred, I’ve come to view your approach to investing as serving a higher purpose. It seems to have a purpose beyond merely making a fast, medium, or slow buck, and I admire you for that. The Tumblr post was missing that angle of thoughtful consideration linking to  wider issues that I’ve come to expect in your writings – I was disappointed.  Paid content on the web is a reworking of paid advertorials in traditional media, and that badly distorts our view of our world. I just think about what paid content on the web will do to our view of the world.Twitter needs to manage paid tweets very carefully or it will lose credibility as an unbiased platform for open speech and expression. You go too far down that road and there’s no turning back, you’re in the pockets of the corporations forever. The Kid, below, is spot on about trust.

        1. fredwilson

          well i don’t agree. if we want services like twitter and tumblr to remain independent, available, sustainable, free, and open, then we need to see them make money. and i believe promoted content is the most elegant solution to that problem.

          1. jason wright

            Remain independent – from whom?The idea of free – food, clothing, housing, education, transport, travel, computers, smart phones, broadband, cable tv, movies, et al are not free. Why should the web operate in a contrary economic paradigm where things are free? Things that are free are often not worth having. One pays for quality.If we are being open about this ‘free’ is a strategic tactic to keep the competition out of the space, a barrier to entry for a potential competitor.The micro payment model from users has legs. I’d rather see that than a community and platform captured by the corporate interest, which is exactly what has happened with the mass media and the political process, and a travesty of social injustice. Take a look at Manufacturing Consent as an eye opener. I dare you to do that, and then point out where the flaw in that thesis is and I’ll then happily shut up about it.

          2. fredwilson

            If you want freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom to connect and communicate then it must be free. There are many parts of the world where people don’t have money to pay for web services

          3. LE

            “The micro payment model from users has legs. I’d rather see that”Explain how you would implement the micropayment model with twitter.

  12. Khalid

    Hi Fred,I wonna just tell you that i sent you an email. I don’t mean to make any disturbance, please consider that as an entrepreneur persistence.Thank you.

    1. fredwilson

      I appreciate your persistenceI will search for it

  13. Cam MacRae

    This is a great and much deserved result.

  14. RichardF

    Search is ripe for disruption. It’s such an antiquated process in giving us what we are looking for.The problem is that the incumbant is reliant so reliant on adwords it’s difficult for them to improve how they deliver the results to us

    1. Fernando Gutierrez

      Yeah, but Adwords also puts so much cash in their hands that they can do whatever they want in case of necessity.

  15. Humberto

    i have tried it when you previously mentioned DDG (or maybe it was TC). i got super excited by it, but when it came the time to make it the default search engine, I chickened (ducked) and kept google.its way way faster (in europe at least).but i will continue to monitor it once in awhile.i wonder what the user strategy is – besides the product strategy that seems to be costumization for added relevance. Some kind of vertical first? Techies first? Scientists? Abroad first?

    1. ShanaC

      same…I’m not happy with google, but not unhappy enough to switch…(and I barely remember saying that for ask jeeves….wow)

  16. Jimmy Cepeda

    That’s a good motivation for all of us who hope to have a personal site. Those numbers are amazing and I think they are going to be better very soon. regards from: https://www.interapuestas.c

  17. Stellar Ad

    Just another Google really/ Nothing exciting except if you a VC funding it.

    1. fredwilson

      Not exactly

      1. PhilipSugar

         I really like simple graphics like that.  They look so easy to do but are hard to make so simple and elegant.

    2. SL Clark

       Having deleted 100k Gmail messages, I can assure you DDG is *nothing* like Google.

  18. laurie kalmanson

    very nice; i wish them well. i remember when google was the disruptor; turnabout is fair can build loyalty by treating people well; you can lose people  and make openings for newcomers by treating people badlyand now, for a social network that respects privacy?

    1. jason wright

      Yep, the cycle of revolution becoming tradition becoming regression leading to…revolution.

      1. laurie kalmanson

        google, so 1998 …

  19. jason wright

    The name really does invite response.’Suck Suck No’ comes to jovial mind. 

  20. Tom Labus

    Tech always amazes me.There are no permanent seats at that dinner table!

    1. fredwilson

      Unless you are feeding them

      1. Geoff Wright

        haha, great response Fred

  21. Dave Pinsen

    Congrats on Duck Duck Go. I like the new Disqus discovery module too. 

    1. fredwilson

      I want it to point out, not in. Very few users are seeing it so most will have no idea what we are talking about

      1. LE

        “point out, not in”Exactly. To me it just highlighted posts here that I already knew about.But “discover” is good for the blog reader not necessarily the blog owner.Many commenters (me for example) don’t have the time to leave comments in more than one place.  So if you give (some) readers a shiny ball they might develop a new habit.  In practice: Starbucks has a policy of not closing shops totally for renovation if they possibly can. According to the manager who told me this, they found that if they closed the shops they would loose customers as people broke their “stop at Starbucks” habit in the morning. Although I stop at Starbucks everyday (it’s right across from the office and they know me by name) I used to addictively start my morning by sitting there with my laptop and doing email. I broke that habit and now just pickup the coffee and go back to the office.I’ve attaced a screen grab of Disqus discovery

      2. Dave Pinsen

        By pointing out you mean to comments by AVCers on other blogs?

  22. Paul Sanwald

    as a longtime vi/vim user, I like the bang codes. UI is nice and clean, it’s a simple thing but the suggested searches on the right are great, as for the searches I did, they are indeed more ever, I’m interested in the software stack this is using, is there a writeup anywhere?totally offtopic, but a few weeks ago we talked about fitness and boxing. my fight is this saturday, feb 18th at gleason’s gym in case anyone is interested.

    1. fredwilson

      Gleasons is awesome. I will be skiing or I’d come. They livestream their fights. Let me know when your bout is. Good luck!!!

      1. Paul Sanwald

        fred, it’s part of the masters show on feb 18th, it will be sometime between 6-8:30pm EST. I will definitely be putting up a video on youtube afterwards, will send link on twitter win, lose, or draw.

      2. Bconnery

        Still not much snow here.

  23. Paul Sanwald

    as a longtime vi/vim user, I like the bang codes. UI is nice and clean, it’s a simple thing but the suggested searches on the right are great, as for the searches I did, they are indeed more ever, I’m interested in the software stack this is using, is there a writeup anywhere?totally offtopic, but a few weeks ago we talked about fitness and boxing. my fight is this saturday, feb 18th at gleason’s gym in case anyone is interested.

    1. Tom Labus

      Good luck, Paul.How many rounds is it scheduled for?

      1. Fernando Gutierrez

        If everytime he clicks on punch the other guy gets hit three times, it’s gonna be very short 🙂

      2. Paul Sanwald

        3 two minute rounds. short fight, I’m a beginner.

    2. ShanaC

      If your not (aka me), I find that it isn’t so helpful.(also, I’m thinking of taking up boxing…I have some agression to work out…good idea or no?)

  24. Paul Sanwald

    as a longtime vi/vim user, I like the bang codes. UI is nice and clean, it’s a simple thing but the suggested searches on the right are great, as for the searches I did, they are indeed more ever, I’m interested in the software stack this is using, is there a writeup anywhere?totally offtopic, but a few weeks ago we talked about fitness and boxing. my fight is this saturday, feb 18th at gleason’s gym in case anyone is interested.

    1. testtest

      “as ever, I’m interested in the software stack this is using, is there a writeup anywhere?”if you’re interested in such things is awesome

      1. Paul Sanwald

        I love that site! great writeup of tumblr this past week.

        1. testtest

          fucking amazing article. tumblr’s a total beast! 15 billion page views a month. what!

    2. Gabriel Weinberg

      Yup, check out…

  25. William Mougayar

    @yegg:disqus help me understand – do you benefit when you send traffic out to google via the bang code? have you considered having your own news search, e.g. via a white label, check this:… 

    1. Gabriel Weinberg

      We do not benefit in any monetary sense, but we benefit in giving you the experience you need to set us as the default search engine in your browser.We are working on more news in-line, but not a siloed (separate site) experience.

    2. Richard

      William – I picked up, thought it might be useful for you when the time comes.

      1. William Mougayar

        Cool…you want to donate to us for $1? Everybody in the AVC has given something,- blood, time, money, ideas, advice, etc… LE @ @domainregistry:disqus is my domain broker 🙂 

        1. Richard

          I’d be happy to.

        2. Luke Chamberlin

          Off topic but I saw Engagio trending on CrunchBase this morning. Congratulations!

        3. LE

          Hey – the tone of that reminds me of when Steve Jobs said to Shel Israel -“Regis McKenna is my PR flack”http://seems2shel.typepad.c…(PR being another thing I know a bit about).

          1. William Mougayar

            You da man !

        4. Donna Brewington White

          You wheeler dealer!

          1. William Mougayar


          2. Donna Brewington White

            Oui, toi.

  26. perfy

    This is great to hear.  I have been using DDG almost exclusively for the last few weeks.  I even installed an add-on to replace google with DDG in my safari search bar.  The results are good, it’s fast, and point-blank, I don’t trust google anymore.

  27. David Petersen

    Isn’t DuckDuckGo simply using the Bing Search API and modifying results slightly?  Without using their own spiders to crawl the Internet?

    1. Geoff Wright

      Yes. There’s no point in reinventing the wheel, its what goes on top they’re trying to make magic.

      1. David Petersen

        I guess I phrased that pretty negatively.  I was looking for clarification.  Nothing against the method.  Smart way to get around the barriers to entry for search.

    2. fredwilson

      Not exactly. I am pretty sure Gabe had talked publicly about his approach

      1. Gabriel Weinberg

        Here’s our canonical answer:…

  28. Terry J Leach

    Not a surprise, since I switch my default in search in Chrome to DDG and I’ve recommended it to everyone.  Google has a speed advantage over DDG, but the less spammy search results make the trade off well worth the small wait difference. I amount content and spam is growing exponentially and Google is draining it spam. I have to put less mental effort into evaluating the search results with DDG.

  29. markslater

    i am a DDG searcher – big fan me.

  30. Richard

    Can someone point to the Best case scenario for DDG? Wont ads show up here eventually? Not sure why DDG doesnt do more to differentiate the UX, a million is a nice number, but Google has over 1 billion searches per day. I think we can all agree that no one over the age of 35 will ever switch from google to a faster google?  So where does DDG. Go? 

    1. fredwilson

      best case is DDG is to Google what Firefox was to IE

      1. Richard

        Isn’t chrome the new firefox? Google will be disrupted, my guess it will be by the DOJ or by twitter.

        1. andyidsinga

          good point about twitter. I use twitter search a bunch ..not every single day, but for answering questions like “what do people think about X?” its much better than google imho.

          1. Richard

            Based on the improvements i see in twitter, they obviously have a great team. Twitter already is a partner with virtually every site worth mentioning. With just a little bit of creativity, Twitter could embed a search tool within the dashboard.

          2. andyidsinga

            For sure – BTW , I have twitter dialed into google chrome’s search engine feature so I can search twitter right from Chrome’s address bar.I just did the same duckduckgo too.

  31. Aaron Klein

    DuckDuckGo is making great progress but still has a way to go. I’ve tried to use the product consistently but I found myself adding !g to way too many queries because I knew they didn’t have what I needed yet.But that’s a big “yet,” because there is a lot of promise in what they have to offer. I am watching the product improve and testing it regularly.”DDGing” myself was interesting too:…Somehow the algorithms have my web site and my Twitter as the first two results, but someone else’s Facebook. And in the “meanings of Aaron Klein”, the top result is the WorldNetDaily reporter, but they’ve put my blog icon beside his name.

  32. andyidsinga

    I searched for my own name …and i was VERY impressed with the results 😉

    1. William Mougayar

      I know exactly what you are talking about. That’s a great test vs. google’s clutter.

      1. andyidsinga

        Oh I’m totally ok with the clutter …as long as my name is in there – (ego porn surfing? ). plus – I like the fake testimonials – fun times 😉 😉 😉

  33. andyidsinga

    i like that it found my images …thats cool!

  34. Morgan Warstler

    Once more back into the breach. 

  35. Richard

    Is there a difference between search and discovery? For me search is when you know what you are looking for, discovery is when you are looking for something to add to your life. What do I want? I call it searchface. I want to know where a VC spends his time on the internet. Where Francis Collins spends his time? Where Leonardo Dicaprio spends his time? Etc? Couldn’t this be done on a opt in format? ( a searchface button? ) 

  36. Sean

    Congrats Gabriel and Co!Made the switch a month ago – now set as default search on Chrome. Speed is the crucial one right now – It’s taking seconds for queries / not milliseconds. I’m sure it’s at the top of the roadmap. This is the only reason I’m going back to Google right now. Definitely a shame Google have 

    1. Gabriel Weinberg

      It really shouldn’t take that long — where are you located?

      1. Sean


      2. Hartley231

        I’m a big DDG fan and have switched to it as default across all my locations and devices.I’m wondering if SPDY would help on the speed side?  SPDY support is coming to nginx soon (!/ngin….

  37. EQ

    Suggest having the DDG guys get slotting in the Firefox drop-down; Would gladly chose them as an option thru the default search box adjacent to the URL window:

    1. Gabriel Weinberg

      We are working on getting into those menus. Of course, it always helps if real users suggest such to the browsers and operating systems — nudge, nudge 🙂

  38. Brad

    Fred, would love to know what these guys did to get information out to people? I have never heard of them until your post, but obviously others have.

    1. Gabriel Weinberg

      We’ve primarily grown through word of mouth punctuated with a few online sites to help get the word out. See the annotations on… for details.

      1. SL Clark

        Seth Godin brought you a new customer today and here I am commenting on same at AVC today. Cheers, thus far, you’re doing *great*.Any hope in seeing Seth’s suggestions? 😉

      2. Brad

        Congratulations. It is great to see companies do well. I love that you have taken on the Goliath’s of the search world and making an impact.

      3. LE

        Gabe – I’m not seeing the annotations anywhere. What happened at point “I” and point “J”  to cause the usage increase?



      5. Brad

        What kind of sites did you use?

    2. fredwilson

      it’s mostly been word of mouthbut they did take out a billboard in silicon valley

      1. Brad

        WOM, cheapest advertising in the world.

  39. andyidsinga

    I like the little bar on the bottom of DDGs page. Left side says we don’t track or bubble you. Right side has link for browser specific goodies.. thats cool.

  40. andyidsinga

    ohhh.. the goodies page is a must check out for power users (like everyone here 🙂 ):…throw 6 dice … anyone up for search engine farkle?

  41. jonathanjaeger

    Interesting interview with Gabriel on This Week in Startups a while back:…

  42. Jimenez Weerden

    I gave it a try too (by searching my own name and some of my friends) and I must say I’m impressed! Hoping to hear more of you guys soon 🙂

  43. paramendra

    Duck Duck who? First time hearing. 

  44. sbmiller5

    On a similar topic – GMAIL keeps failing me.  Anybody building a more reliable email service?

    1. Cynthia Schames


    2. fredwilson

      it’s been awful for me lately

  45. Derik

    @FredDoesn’t DDG just use Yahoos search engine and reformats the results?

    1. Jessica

      Yes, it is and an entire article over at yahoo describes it.… This also begs the questions of why are so many VCs now chasing to give DDG money when DDG is built on top of Yahoo search.What happens when DDG becomes too big and Yahoo decides to (1) start charging DDG huge sums of money to use their currently free services, or (2) Yahoo just bans DDG all together.(Scary to build a business entirely on someone else IP and technology).

      1. kidmercury

        my understanding is that yahoo is already charging for this, and so presumably they view DDG as a customer:…

      2. fredwilson

        not just built on yahoo boss…

    2. fredwilson


  46. Gytis Labašauskas

    I don’t know if this was mentioned before, but search results based on the given search suggestions should be modified in the real time. When you choose of the search suggestions, results should change, but suggestions bar should stay in it’s place.

  47. steveo

    one millimeter searches?

  48. sinzone

    Amazing to see that the majority of searches is delivered via APIs…It’s becoming a “search engine” as a service.Tue 14-Feb-2012   1,019,602 direct    9,661,723 api     149,393 bot

    1. fredwilson

      if you take, you need to give

      1. sinzone

        Yup!  We’re working with DDG on that side ;-)…



    1. fredwilson


  50. Eric Leebow

    I’ve been using DDG for over 3 years now, and have never looked back.  DDG provides excellent service, and it’s a great search engine that’s very simple.  The one thing a lot of people don’t know about DDG is the bang feature.  Let’s say you’re looking for a movie, just enter !IMDB then the name of the movie, or books !books etc. it’s a great thing because you can use 1 search engine to search many sites.  Before DDG I experimented with a few other search engines, and found it to be one of the most interesting ones.  If you do a lot of research, this search engine comes in handy.  They also have great mobile apps.

  51. davidhclark

    I respect DDG for having the guts to go after search. I hope it works out for them, and I love it that the founder is commenting here, but I don’t think it’s going to work unless they make a lot of changes. In my opinion, there needs to be more differentiation. When thinking about an average person using the product and seeing what their thoughts would be, I would think they’d think something like “Oh, it’s like Google but _________.” As of now, the benefits aren’t compelling enough, but hopefully they’ll get there. I love how clean it is and that I don’t have to worry about privacy. I’m a visual guy. And it looks too much like Google. If you’re going to disrupt a ginormous market, you have to do something ginormously disruptive. However-maybe Google will screw up really bad and everyone will jump ship to DDG. Best of luck.

  52. davidhclark

    Forgive me for going on a big tangent but reading this article gets me going. I’m building a mobile social search/data mining tool that is amazing. And very different than anything out there (not a competitor to DGG). But we’re having issues with figuring out the best way to go about building it. It’s a huge project, and we need to raise money to build it right and in good time, but it’s really hard to raise money without a working product with users…I haven’t tried raising money yet, but we will as soon as we can.If anyone here in the AVC community has any thoughts or advice, please share!!! So here’s where I’m at:1. I’ve had v.1 of the product designed (just screenshots) and tested it with potential users. Literally everyone said they’d use it, and about 90% said they’d use it every day. These are average college students. Our product solves a very clear problem.2. I have a senior director and lead architect from on my team with tons of experience in search and ecommerce. The challenge is they need more free time.3. I’ve got an advisor on my team who not too long ago was an exec at Google who has reached out to help me because he likes the idea so much. He said Google tried to do something similar in the past but didn’t figure it out. He also told us just yesterday actually that he thinks we should build a shallow version of the product so that we can get users, and then raise money. Our problem is we feel uneasy about shipping a product that’s half ass. I understand the value in a MVP, but it’s hard.I just feel that since we’ve already been validated by users and we’re disrupting/creating a huge market and the upside to our product is huge, some VC’s will be willing to invest in us without having a fully functional product. But I also get it that it may be better to bootstrap and launch a dumbed-down version of the product. My team says that’d be really really hard though. hmmmmmmmAdvice? What do you think? 

    1. fredwilson

      You haven’t been validated by tens of thousands of real users in the wild using the actual product. Until you test the idea in that way you don’t know what you have and neither will investorsI agree with the former Google exec

      1. davidhclark

        Cool. Thanks a lot for the feedback!

    2. jason wright

      Is it patentable?

      1. davidhclark

        It would be difficult, but it’s possible. Why?

    3. Cynthia Schames

      @davidhclark:disqus Why can’t you build a subset to ship, as opposed to “half ass”?  I think your former Googler was trying to tell you that MVP doesn’t have to mean crap (I’ve written on that subject).  It can just mean Minimum. FWIW I think you shot yourself in the foot a bit by saying that your informal market research was done with screenshots only.  That just means you’ve put together a shiny, pretty thing, not necessarily one that actually works.  That’s the piece VCs are interested in: does it work, and then, would people use it. At least, that’s my take. 

      1. davidhclark

        Thanks for the input. Yes, very true that VCs and everybody wants a working product/MVP over everything, it’s just that my team has always told me it’s such a big undertaking that it will take forever to build unless we raise money and hire engineers. I’m making necessary changes to get a MVP built without raising money. 

        1. Cynthia Schames

          @davidhclark:disqus good!  I’d love to hear more about your project, if you’d like to chat sometime. Ping me @cynthiaschames on Twitter?

  53. John Revay


  54. Joshua Bolin

    Absolutely love this post. When in NYC for Disrupt my fiancé turn to me after an especially critical critique by Fred to say ‘I wouldn’t want that guy to invest in one of our companies’ to which my response was this is *exactly* the type of investor you want. Hits you between the eyes when needed but pats on the back when kudos are deserved.But more importantly (1) VC writes a note to his community about a portfolio company (2) users react by giving feedback, newbies give it a shot and everyone debates pros and cons (3) enterpeanuer interacts with his users/clients (4) everyone feels good for helping/ being enlightened (5) VC can see that with additional capital a cool service has the chance to expand internationally by investing in infrastructure (6) service has the chance to earn market share (7) other search providers take notice (8) everyone in search tries to innovate against one another (9) startup ecosystem wins (10) general public winsThanks Fred: you are sharpening more swords than you know.

    1. fredwilson

      Your fiance probably didn’t like the hard time I gave the BillGuard founder Great comment

    2. Cynthia Schames

      @b1be682f5dd1f6e76ab0a35177425edd:disqus  that last paragraph was so true.  Especially the last line.  

  55. Prokofy

    I never even heard of this. You mean a search instead of Google?! I have to see this.Meanwhile, Fred, why aren’t you on Pinterest? Why aren’t you writing about Pinterest? Everybody’s on Pinterest. Well, all the girls are anyway.It’s the reason why SOPA was invented.

    1. fredwilson

      pinterest is great. but i don’t find a need for it in my social media needs. my daughters and wife all use it.

  56. Youssef Rahoui

    They’ve just got a nice article in Le Monde (with whom I have a meeting next week, BTW), the french New York Times: Hats off!

  57. Druce

    I almost feel sorry for Google.They have a tenacious competitor in Facebook who got where they are by going places Google wouldn’t go. Doing stuff like this.Facebook collects far more personal information. That means… they can charge more for ads. If Facebook gets better rates, all Google’s media sites for AdWords and display will be better off on Facebook’s network.Meanwhile, people are spending more time in social, more discovery is moving from search to social.So Google is forced to bet the farm on G+, or see their whole business disrupted.And that makes them vulnerable to attacks from more private services like DDG. I think with all this about your phone uploading your contacts to everyone and their brother, ultimately, privacy regs are the only way to go.I just don’t think a market solution, of people claiming to position themselves at different points on the privacy spectrum, is feasible or desirable.

    1. fredwilson

      that’s very well said DruceGoogle is damned if they do and damned if they don’t

      1. Druce

        had a bit of a lightbulb moment that and similar enterprise services are very previous hedge life would not have been responsible to allow the PM’s clickstream to be tracked by third parties the way people are trying to do. Too prone to abuse.(imagine for instance if an ethically flexible person at Google had access to an A-list VC’s clickstream)I’m not sure that there are good enterprise tools to do this, seems like a market opportunity.

  58. LE

    Probably just as easy or less error prone to just ping etc.Easier to type.Any site that doesn’t block pings. Anyone tempted to say something like “it’s not nice to ping…” it’s de-minimis. Get over it.How do you know if a site blocks pings? It won’t respond that’s how you know.Nothing magical about or reason that would be more reliable of a test than any particular site.Here’s 5 pings (note the “-c” option on a Mac Osx to using terminal (under applications->utilities))ping -c5 http://www.avc.comPING ( 56 data bytes64 bytes from icmp_seq=0 ttl=45 time=93.856 ms64 bytes from icmp_seq=1 ttl=45 time=93.944 ms64 bytes from icmp_seq=2 ttl=45 time=95.043 ms64 bytes from icmp_seq=3 ttl=45 time=93.398 ms64 bytes from icmp_seq=4 ttl=45 time=94.733 ms— ping statistics —5 packets transmitted, 5 packets received, 0% packet lossround-trip min/avg/max/stddev = 93.398/94.195/95.043/0.604 ms