A Private Search Engine?
That's often the refrain when I advocate for our portfolio company DuckDuckGo. Most people think Google does a fine job (they do) and don't feel the need for a private search engine.
But in the past few weeks, it has become clear to some that private means private from everyone, including the government. If a National Security Letter shows up at DuckDuckGo, there won't be anything to hand over to the Feds because DuckDuckGo does not save search behavior on its users.
That's a big deal, as evidenced by their traffic surge over the past few weeks:
If you would like to change the default search engine in your browser to DuckDuckGo, you can do that here.
I went to a talk a few years back given by Stephen Arnold (www.arnoldit.com – he wrote a book a while back on Google and was a search expert), where he claimed that it would be nearly impossible for any other search startup to overtake Google, because of the sheer investment scale. They invested so many billions over the years in accumulating and storing Web knowledge and indexes, that it would take an absurd amount of money to index anything close to it.Usually, situations like that are overturned by the emergence of new technology that enables a new business model with which one can compete (at a “good enough” level) at a fraction of the cost.Has there been some material advance that allows DuckDuckGo to access “good enough” indexes of the Web for a fraction of cost?
They don’t crawl the web. They leverage all the service specific search engines to build a meta search engine
Search engine aggregator with anonymizing front-end?
Service specific search engine aggregator. Think Wikipedia search. Amazon search. Foursquare search. There are so many of them now
https://en.wikipedia.org/wi… nice simple explanation – I used DDG to find it !
crawlers as parasites
feeding off the interweb, which is becoming a zombie. antidote required.
Separately, since Google’s business model is entirely built around the revenue garnered from those “non-privacy” activities, how does DDG expect to earn revenue? Would be very interested to learn.
Yep, that’s my big question.
If they have a revenue model that actually makes sense in the context of anonymity, I would feel much more confident about their future.In the meantime, simplest step is: VPN+anonymized browser
They currently run Yahoo ads and get affiliate fees for ecommerce. But they don’t need a ton of revenue to make money because they are lean.
Lean or not, if they make $2MM/year with a few employees, they are viable but a miserable exit for a VC. Since they are VC-backed, they must have *big* plans (= lots of revenue) for a serious exit.
That’s not true. This can grow into something very profitable over time as more and more people care about privacy.
Which part? That no VC will back a company with a target ofr a few $MM in revenue even at 99% operating margins? (man, I’d like to own that company).I doubt any serious investor backed them without some idea of how to make lots of money.
We backed them and we are the only VC involved. I doubt they will ever need another round. Its a very efficient operating model. And if only 1% of all global internet users cared enough about privacy to use DDG, they would have a huge business. Search is a great business but you need a defensible angle to compete with Google. You need to do something they won’t do.
Affiliation for ecommerce, if done properly (almost like a price comparison or native ads) is the way to go. Endless market with endless verticals, though it involves effort (getting a decent taxonomy that’s MECE for one).
So then yahoo is going to cookie the user and ddg is simply a delivery mechanism for Yahoo’s surveillance/personalization technology. If privacy is what is really being sold, I think the end user needs to pay for it.
Small point, but Bing’s ads, not Yahoo’s.
That’s not a small point. Big miss on my part. They must have moved over at some point. It just goes to show how ignored ads are. I use DDG dozens of times a day and did not notice
I’ve been using duck duck go and I’ve grown fond of the simplicity and speed (though at times it seems slower than google).What scares me about DDG is that it probably won’t stay this way. I believe (correct me if I’m wrong) that its still far from profitability. In the journey to profitability (stand-aloneness), maybe it will have to get to know more of its “users”, because users searches are DDG cogs.So maybe they’ll remain prvate and ruin the product with loads of generalist ads, or ruin the privacy with profiling and tracking.Or, 3d avenue, come up with a different “monetization” model. Either way, not knowing even the slightest direction of their plans completely ruins my long-term perception of the product.This is where I struggle to 100% accept your vision of “Product, then Business”. They have to be developed side by side, and permanently so. To me (heavily personal opinion ahead) companies who develop Users first and then start eroding the experience to cater to Customers (who likely are different people), are just feeding cattle for slaughter. I think very long term they run into problems as newer pastures come to life (with farther slaughter houses). Google, Twitter, 4sq, Tumblr, are all in it. “market place from day one” businesses are much more dependable (amazon, eBay (oops), etsy)
I don’t know for sure but at current search volumes they are probably making profits already
Well that solves most of my questions. Though I’d love a statement like “we will never track” nothing beats a good deed like the promise of future good deeds
I think they make that promise alreadyhttps://duckduckgo.com/privacy
Well, it is pretty thorough, but it does not promise anything to the future. Like Facebook that promises one and only one thing “Facebook is free and always will be”.
u r the only VC, why aren’t u sure?
because i don’t know how the current surge in growth affects revenues. i will find out at some point. i’m not in a rush.
in a parallel universe there may b a guy like u, in India.
BTW, what are the events marked I, J and P on the graph?
The legend is here:http://duckduckgo.com/traff…AnnotationsA – DontTrack.usB – SF billboardC – DontBubble.usD – TIME’s Top 50 WebsitesE – USV investmentF – In OperaG – reddit challengeH – In Linux MintI – Visual RefreshJ – Data Privacy DayK – In UbuntuL – 4chan promotionM – Washington Post profileN – CNBC interviewO – On the Media featureP – Bloomberg TV interview
As we know charts like this can be misleading. My nephew’s weight increased by 35% this past week. He’s also three weeks old and was born premature.Nobody cares about privacy. It’s like 9/11 truth: people should care but they lack the maturity to do so and feel powerless about the whole solution. Real change Is going to start with a federation of small networks, not a single large scale network.Also, personalization is needed for advertising based revenue models to truly succeed and remain defensible. As usual, the biggest threat to online advertising that Google faces Is from amazon’s growing advertising services, which are some of amzn’s fastest growing components.
Wrong, wrong, and wrong
Hahaha! This might be my new favorite reply you’ve ever given. Im extremely confident.in my view (though I always am, even when im wrong, so that doesn’t mean much) but the part that is most obvious is that no one cares. Half the people are dumb enough to view snowden as a traitor rather than a patriot. That says it all right there.
.One more example of what a classy joint AVC.com really is — the ability to disagree without being disagreeable.Real comity and respect.Well played.JLM.
Fredland has always been about beefing with sportsmanship
We could add it to Fred’s “The Godfunder” shirt quotes?
Kid, I think more people are caring about privacy. But it doesn’t have to be a mass movement. Like Fred said, if 1% of world search cares about privacy, then……Getting to the 1% is tough. But, if there are more events like the NSA one we just had, it will spook some people. Really, all it takes is the right newsperson to promote DDG, and it could go viral.A lot of search is just habit. I switched to DDG and encouraged my Twitter and FB friends to do the same. My reason isn’t just because of tracking, but because of monopolies. To cripple Google, all people have to do is choose not to use them.
i think DDG is almost half the size of AOL in terms of searches per month. who knows if this growth spurt continues but if it does, they will pass AOL this year.
people are creatures of habit. hard to change their habits. Google search is a habit.
I agree that habits can be hard to break, but it also depends on the person. In my case, it was very easy to quit using Google; I just stopped going to its URL’s and started using alternative sites. Some of them have been quite pleasant; the nice thing about using many search engines instead of just one (Google), is the variety of answers for any given search.Of course, there is/was Dogpile and other metasearch engines.
that could give aol a good scare
One-third, as my article pointed out, and if you are only comparing DDG worldwide to AOL US. But AOL worldwide probably doesn’t add that much, and it would be impressive indeed if they pass AOL.
I bet they do north of 100mm searches in the 30 days after the NSA thing broke
The true privacy advocates are going to lean towards startpage.com or something they pay for. Ddg is still showing yahoo ads which is another way of saying they are a delivery mechanism for Yahoo surveillance technology.If there is truly a small market for privacy buyers, that market will want a whole solution: OS, browser, search, email, even mesh networks.I dont think ddg understands who their customer really is.
“whole solution”, how much money, do u think, that “may” cost?
Depends how its done. Though im extremely confident it can be built for much less than what a lot of valley companies raise.so I don’t think funding is.thr obstacle.
It can be done for much much less. cant compare to the valley, no VC would fund any idiot who is “trying” too take on google. The obstacle is revenue. How would u deal with revenue?
revenue is the same as it ever was:1. ads2. intermediate transactions3. charge end users a membership fee/tax
ppl don like ads n wont pay, use ad blocks. intermediate transactions have an extremely low CPM. anything else?
You’re assuming privacy-oriented customers won’t pay, that ad blockers can block native ads when the browser is made by the ad network, and that transaction intermediation is not lucrative. I think all these assumptions are false.
Not assuming, have products. Native ad rates are abysmally low, too few ppl bothered abt privacy. transactions r low. tryin 2 find an other way b4 i promote my products. suggestions?
If people don’t like ads, then how does Google make any money? Obviously, someone is willing to pay Google money for ads.
People generally don’t like adverts. That is the reason adblocks exist. Adblocks generally do not work on google search. People pay for ads on google search, predominantly.
@Vineeth Kariappa “no VC would fund any idiot who is ‘trying’ to take on google.” I wonder if the VC’s who funded Google when AltaVista and Yahoo were kings of search thought the same thing.. Google, to be sure, is a different beast; very smart, wayyy ahead of the game, and knows how to stay ahead of its competitors while innovating at the same time.But no company is immune from problems. Look at IBM; once people thought it was invulnerable, but then it faced problems.
google’s first round was not by traditional VCs. Stanford supported them too. By the time they took VC funding, they had awesome numbers. The point I was trying to make was VC funding is almost a “no”, is there another way?
When I look at the definition of the target customer segment much higher up in this thread (the quote from TechCrunch Disrupt 2012), strongly agree with your second paragraph. Privacy is similar to Security in one aspect – they are both only as good as their weakest link. Not sure if the whole soln (search, email, browser) has to be created by the same company. Thanks.
agreed the whole thing doesn’t need to be created by a single company. i think the way forward might be if a federation of companies agree to certain terms — an operating oath of sorts, for which they will be kicked out if they break it — and agree to partner with each other.
Furthermore, the whole thing does not have to be done right away. Google wasn’t born as an Internet behemoth; it grew that way. The 800-lb gorilla or 1000-lb elephant. Maybe it needs to go on a diet.
Zoho is trying to provide a broad spectrum of products in an ecosystem like Google’s.Zoho does not offer search, but does offer mail, calendar, etc.
I stopped using Google search in 2009, partly because I was wary of Google’s seemingly endless appetite for data, which affects privacy, and also because I was tired of its results. I started using several third party search engines, many of which are eaking out a living in Google’s shadow.
It’s human behavior to not care about issues that we have no control over BUT, I believe people will demonstrably care given a chance to have control over this issue. DDG win. On the other hand, there is the the power of the state to invade privacy whether or not there is compliance on the part of the corporate entity that retains the data. In fact, according to some leaked documents the government is targeting the use of encryption and masking technologies as probable cause for further investigation. So, to my mind, in the end it will be a battle over the perception of privacy and not privacy itself. I suppose that is a step forward from the resignation to a lack of privacy we now feel. As for a value prop, it is predictably and admirably contrarian ; )
Danny Sullivan argues here that DDG’s growth isn’t all that tied to privacy, but he likes them.http://searchengineland.com…
That’s a great article — thanks for sharing
i care. don’t you care?
I care but not in the way that most people who claim to care, care. Most people don’t bother to think to deeply about the bigger picture and why all of this tyrannical stuff is occurring. If you don’t ask the bigger question,I don’t think you’ll solve the problem and I don’t think you care enough.but in any event, people who care see an extreme minority.Google is still top dog and is going to remain such until they are attacked by a startup that is truly applying disruptive theory properly.
i feel like i don’t have the geeky skills to care bc if you really care and start to think about it, then you have to do something about it and that feels super technical and complicated to me.
I think the challenge is more political than technical. The US government can already require companies to implement whatever technology the government wants them to implement.
We had an idea at some point to have personlization sit with the user vs. the advertisers system. It could work, but you’d have to get everyone from a grassroots perspective do it first to get the controllers of the systems to care — although it would be pretty disruptive ….
Doc Searls has been pushing that for a few years. Google him… Err,I mean Duck him.
“Nobody cares about privacy”People are innocent. Internet is new and we just discovered the fire (or the uranium?). Wait a few years.
The only.thing that will give people the necessary political will is poverty. It is the same thing everywhere. People need to lose money before they gain the courage to stand for what is right. The internet has exposed tons of problems yet people still show the same apathy and vote for the same crooks each time, then humorously mock the intelligence of their elected officials while ignoring who are the geniuses that voted them in.Like Tyler durden told us: “it is only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.”
You don’t need courage to switch from iOS to Android. It’s a consumer decision. The same for switching web services.Sure, at the end they can vote the same people/parties. But the government can’t limit your alternatives.
unless it is cable. or telephone companies. or food choices…..etc.
The government can limit your alternatives and does so all the time — that is a big part of why wealth is so concentrated. It is true that switching from android to ios or vice versa requires no courage but it is also true that such a switch does almost nothing to create real change.
I agree that this issue has deep implications and even need a revolution or an “extreme evolution” but in this case the market can solve this specific problem.
we are poor. we’re so poor in a way when it comes to income inequality that it stopped being about losing money a while ago (the middle class can think like that)…now it is trying to make do, and free for data is useful, even for the poorhttp://www.nccp.org/topics/…
we are getting poorer, and thus you are seeing things like occupy wall street. but apparently that is not enough to motivate people to work towards the revolutionary change that is needed. revolutions come when people don’t have food. and then, they are sloppy revolutions, characterized by anger and violence rather than civility and high morals.
The decison to use ddg to hide from the govt is shamefully foolish. We have the 4th amendment in our pockets, i suggest that we begin to use it. Use ddg if you want some privacy from google (though i dont see google as a problem) or if it gives you better results, but accepting lack of privacy from the govt and hacking around it is sad.
Well the fourth amendment has basically been overruled via subsequent legislation. I agree though that only a political battle and political reform is the solution in the long run.
sarcasm aside, 5k to 2 M page views in a week, is great.
mazel tov.And I wouldn’t say that – I just don’t think humans think of privacy in the way computers handle privacy. Two very different ideas
@kidmercury:disqus : “Nobody cares about privacy.”I agree that few people care about privacy, which is why DDG won’t dent Google’s search share by much. But some of us DO care about privacy, and search engines like IxQuick, SmartPagel, etc.
agreed. something i mentioned elsewhere is that i think that a company that really wants to cater to the privacy audience should focus on delivering a whole suite of products/solutions: browser, email, search, hardware, mesh networks, etc. i think such a company should also focus on charging the customer rather than advertising, as the goals of digital advertising will always clash with the goals of privacy.
I would argue that DDG’s future is more dependent on the fact that it provides a better search experience than for its privacy. Gabriel even said that last year. I agree.The biggest stumbling block to its growth is making it easier for users to switch, or even start with DDG from day 1, like making it the default search engine out of the box.The other thing that has to “Go” is the name itself. C’mon. Stop playing childish marketing. If DDG wants to grow to an adult, it needs to stop being called a baby name.
now might be the wrong moment to change the name. i agree, it’s not a good name, but to change now would be confusing.
Why is it too late?It would be an amazing branding campaign with a lot of increased awareness.
depends on their penetration — for a mass media brand in Canada alone you’d need about 10 million dollars for an advertising campaign to make a difference in the awareness and recall numbers ….
But you know that a DDG name change doesn’t need mass media branding. You’ve been too immersed in your work with your big brand customers :)They are still tiny comparatively, 60 million searches/month vs. Google’s 13 billion. All they’d have to do is change the name and let that go viral on the Internet. They are an Internet brand, not a household consumer brand.
100mm run rate and growing fastBut who is counting? 😉
I’m rooting for them, but they are earning their growth the hard way. They deserve even higher numbers.
google, yahoo, msn will buy them, when they r a threat.
Only if they sell out.More likely, the other search engines will acquire the unique features of DDG.I wish DDG would make a private email system, with all the features of Gmail or Outlook.
2 versus 55k employees?Who is counting though?
But it took Google more than a decade to reach that level of 13 billion searches. DDG has only been known for a short time, although it has been around for a bit.
it’s not too late, but this moment might not be the right moment. the DDG name is in the mainstream media like it’s never been before. the graph reflects this. it’s about timing, and getting the right new name.what shall we call it?
TheNSAWillNeverKnow.com is likely only a marginal improvement.
It’s a fun name. Much like Yahoo!’s, who didn’t seem to have trouble becoming a multi-billion dollar company with a ‘silly’ name.DuckDuckGo is a great name for branding, period. It just takes some people time to accept it will have two meanings.
Maybe DuckGo, but there are one too many ducks in the name. I’m all for originality. Yahoo stood for yet another hierarchical organizational oracle.
More people can relate to DuckDuckGo
actually it stood for ‘officious’ oracle’ :-). Google itself sounded a little fun/whimsical name (and variant from googol – some whimsy there) if you transport back to the late ’90s and compare it to prevalent search engine names like AltaVista, Excite. The thing, though, is also to be able to verb it – like ‘google’ it…or even ‘tweet’ something which is not exactly the brand name, but close. You could have some fun with ‘Go, Duck” or ‘Duck, Go’ but one- word names typically travel better as verbs.
I wasn’t sure if it was officious or organizational. Thanks for the correction. I should have Ducked it 🙂
Per my reply to Fred above, you could use DuckIt
i personally like duck.com but sadly that domain is owned by Google
And it auto-forwards to Google.com. That’s mean of Google. Has DDG tried to buy it from Google? Google should sell it to them for $1.(even DuckGo or GoDuck are parked domains waiting for a sale)
Why should Google sell it to them for $1? That’s silly. I’m not sure if they owned it first – I doubt it was in response to buying up a competitor’s possible short-URL version of a domain, and it being mean – if it’s done purposefully or in a malicious manner, then yeah, but lots of companies point their unused domains to the company’s main URL.
Well, I said that tongue n cheek. It would be a good will gesture for sure.
Certainly would be considering they’re direct competition
I’ve worked on trying to get duck.com from google. Not by buying but by trading them something they might want. So far they haven’t been interested but had considered enough to discuss at a reasonable level the items offered. It’s not a non-starter. And it’s definitely not a monetary issue. Only way it will ever happen is if someone has something that google wants enough to trade for it. Otherwise they will sit on it.(Google has it as a result of an acquisition a few years ago. )The key to this is using some leverage against google or finding something of value they want or need to get the name. It’s that simple (or hard).
Wow. Interesting. I still don’t understand the tiny value that Google gets from a Duck.com redirect to Google.com. But they probably have hundreds of domain re-directs.
what does GOOG want/ need in exchange? any hint?
If I knew well then…
do they even know why they acquired duck.com?
To keep DDG from using it.
depending on the relevant dates that could be viewed as a bad faith action.
Google wants your data and your soul.
Actually, “GoDuck” is a bit too close to the rally cry of “Go Ducks” of the University of Oregon. There’s a pretty active and vocal booster there.I agree that some tweaking is appropriate. How about DuckNGo.com ? There’s a bit of “Tuck ‘n Roll” in there. 😉
You could use “duckthe….” but I’d keep it simple straight and not move too far toward dissing the fed.
Did google buy it after DDG launched?
Don’t think soI believe they had it long before that
This shows it was created in 1995 and Google owned it since 2010.http://www.hosterstats.com/…
Has DDG tried to acquire it from Google?
I just bought uckday.com (hopefully you get the joke) and will happily give it to ddg if they want it 😉
why? what could they do with it
how abt duckf##k.comVb
DuckDuckGo wanted that domain name, duck.com, but could not afford it. Then Google bought it to redirect to its site. It is things like this that I find ironic in Google’s behavior, when there was once a time when Google represented the anti-corporoate idealism of the Internet. How it represents that corporate realism.
I struggle with the name Yahoo! For the most part I have tried to avoid using it for anything. One client uses it for IM and so I use it with them but it grates on me. Maybe I am a fogey.But I am a fan of Marissa. (Soon she won’t need a last name. And she is becoming a brand herself. Hmmm… Marissa! ??)
funny I have a soft spot for Yahoo, I’m routing for Marissa
Yahoo! is a bit too stimulating for me too, however most people aren’t as sensitive as me to things like that …
Feels like my mom’s internet. Same genre as AOL.Maybe should change it to just Yah.com
The name originated as “Yet Another Hypertext Online Organizer” but it also has a negative connotation of referring to a dimwit. Nevertheless, I like Ms. Mayer’s efforts. I wish she could totatlly revamp the site. I also wish she could upgrade the mail system to be as good as Gmail or Outlook, but with privacy that they don’t provide. But, of course, Yahoo is also on the PRISM list.
I actually agree. I think the name is a problem. And @mattamyers:disqus is not wrong — but the market has changed a lot since Yahoo created it’s brand.
It’s like a catch 22. Yes the name wouldn’t matter if you had the brand, but the name itself is impeding the growth of the brand. Definitely things have changed since Yahoo. We’re not early days anymore. The digital noise level is way higher.
Really what else are you going to call it though … it’s a search engine, with a unique value prop of privacy. Sure, it’d be good if they owned duck.com – but even that, unsure if that’s worse than duckduckgo.com.
what kind of name would you suggest given that Google literally could mean, “I search on the internet”
Here is a simple fix, if ddg marketing message is hiding from govt, Amend the name to DUCK, GO.
Would be a good marketing piece to have a cartoon drawn up of this somehow with their mascot ducking under something.. good viral piece perhaps.
FFGOV is a brand and message
I assume they have access logs. They also use ad networks to display ads. If you combine both things, don’t you have the search history for a given IP?
DDG would have to answer this one
Our access logs don’t store IP addresses, see http://duckduckgo.com/privacy/. Additionally, we don’t run third-party code on our front-end that isn’t proxied through our back-end so that your ip address is never exposed.
Good points.It would be really silly and a gross misrepresentation and oversight if they allowed third-parties to track users.
In Europe, tracking your IP is not permitted. It is considered personal, like your address or telephone number.
.The issue of privacy is going to become a HUGE issue not only for those who are currently connected but for those who are making their first such decision. Those who provide such privacy — real or imagined — will be HUGE winners.We know less than 1% of what is going on on the issue of privacy.Snowden is both a traitor and a useful idiot. Maybe even a patriot?It is a measure of how dangerous he is that they could not bring him in quickly and peacefully. You have to know that they were turning Heaven and Earth to get him. This was the freakin’ CIA, folks.A nation needs secrets but it is very questionable as to whether they need this much information.The biggest secret that has thus far has not been discussed in detail is simply that the NSA and its kindred brethren have access to technology, computing capacity, search and storage beyond anyone’s ability to comprehend even those in the game.These guys have hundreds of Cray computers and the best minds in the business and the complete and total cooperation of the tech community either directly or via trickery. You don’t think Google has been undertaking NSA assignments?If you give a bunch of 20-somethings such capabilities they will not ask for permission to deploy them and see what they can do. This is just native curiosity and when finally revealed will be earth shattering.The old farts do not understand how far afield they are from America law. Why? They spend all their time breaking the laws of every other country in the world. You think they even know the American laws? There are not ten people in the US who understand what they are doing and American law and all ten of them are on the NSA side.Do you think the NSA does not have Barack Obama’s college transcripts? Guess again.The more important question is really — and why have they not been revealed? Because the holders of this info are using it in some other manner.This shit is going to be big. The capacity for the gov’t to do bad things — knowingly or ignorantly — is beyond belief.JLM.
A rant from JLM. I like it.
“useful idiot”. Pure JLM aphorism.So many smart people often do stupid things.”We learn the most from fools … yet we pay them back with the worst ingratitude.” — Nassim Taleb.
.Think about this for a second.You are about 28 years old.You have a degree in CS and have been hanging around computers since you were 8 years old.You have access to a Cray computer.You work for the NSA and have access to all the info that Prizm implies: foncon, email, Internet, every big Internet company and who the Hell knows what else.And you are going to be restrained by some mythical law you have never heard of?Not bloody likely.You are the head of the NSA and you have folks like this working for you and you cannot possibly restrain their youthful enthusiasm and natural curiosity and you truly want to pursue and identify terrorists.Someone brings an idea to you and you are not going to pursue that idea as an “experiment”?When you are a hammer, everything looks a nail and you beat the shit out of those nails by your very nature.Give a spook a chance to snoop and you expect him to “follow the law”?Spooks break laws for a living. They can’t help themselves.JLM.
I didn’t know what foncon meant.So I Ducked it & it yielded better search results than Google who buried it. It’s a slang for phone conversation.
.When you read an intercept — transcript of an intercepted phone call — it is described as a “foncon” and then lists the parties.Old School spook shit.JLM.
Spooky indeed. Are Skype calls & IP-based telephony interceptable?
.I imagine the Internet is pure child’s play. Every message ever sent is cycling through a series of nodes that constantly are copying it and transmitting it.The NSA does not even have to capture it in real time, it is being stored at these nodes as it is being passed along.JLM.
It’s not an “ask permission first” culture.
I hope you are right (I run @PrivacyCamp and the weekly #PrivChat with @EPICprivacy) but I think the evidence of people looking for privacy is with the rapid growth of Snapchat in the past 6 months, not DDG.What do you think of this article?Duck Duck Go’s Post-PRISM Growth Actually Proves No One Cares About “Private” Searchhttp://searchengineland.com…The reality is that yes, there are a ton of technologies that can help people protect their privacy.The problem is that they are complex to use and they break the internets as we have come to know them (obviously DDG is not that).I happen to agree with Schneier that most people will trade Privacy for Convenience.http://www.schneier.com/blo…Shaun DakinFounderPrivacy CampFounder#PrivChat
Note that some of this breakage is bad for security reasons – cookie someone to get a purchase through is not a bad privacy idea per say
Knowing people who did not come on 9/11 may slant my thinking but It would seem to me that our “intelligence agencies” do need a degree of bloody secrecy. This is espionage for god’s sake and not for the front page.People in other more internally hostile parts of the world laugh at us for our political hysterics. There is no one going to come in the middle of the night and haul you off to some prison where they are going to kick the living fuck out of you for the rest of your short life.The NSA has been doing this in some form since the 70’s. There is something else at play here that is on people’s minds.
“There is no one going to come in the middle of the night and haul you off to some prison where they are going to kick the living fuck out of you for the rest of your short life.”Tell that to the Guantanamo Bay folks? It might not be true – but these are the true life examples they’re letting their population know they’re willing to treat people. It’s a single step to “it could be me for who knows why.”
Any response to this?Still trust DuckDuckGo?http://www.alexanderhanff.c…
Anyone can go on a witch hunt and try to make a company look bad. People do that all the time to get some attentionIts fine. It happens. But I know DDG’s founder and team and they take their commitment to privacy very seriously. I trust them and I think other should as well.
I agree, but I also know this author and while he does go overboard sometimes he knows his stuff, really really well. He is based in the UK and understands US and EU law.The big question (beyond DDG) is how does the NSA “scandal” impact ALL US Technology as Non US Companies and Governments decide to route all their internet traffic around the USA.What does that mean for the US tech sector to have lost that trust because of the US Government’s surveillance of their citizens.If I was a US tech investor this situation would be what I care about.Forget DDG. Think entire regions of the world refusing to do business with ANY US company because they are under US Govt laws and that means their data could be taken at any time and any place.This event at Brookings last week was a mind blowing one.http://www.brookings.edu/ev…”Recent disclosures about the National Security Agency’s (NSA) Internet surveillance practices have sparked national debate as to how to balance online privacy rights with national security protections. But, the most important impact may be felt most beyond the United States’ borders: officials from around the world are increasingly calling for a re-examination of their nations’ relationships with American-based institutions and technology companies. Has the legacy of an open, global Internet been irreparably tarnished by the recent news concerning the NSA’s surveillance activities? How has trust in the multi-stakeholder Internet governance model suffered? And how might online surveillance programs such as the NSA’s impact Internet governance?”
This already happens — for example, at my last gig we weren’t able to use US based cloud services because of incompatible privacy law.
That’s why my partner Brad and our colleague Nick have been working with Iceland to rewrite their laws to provide an Internet Freedom clause. It is not easy to convince legislators in other parts of the world to change their laws but if they do they could start a trend that could eventually force the US to behave differently. This is a long ball play and would take years or maybe decades to play out but we are spending a fair bit of time on it. We have been influenced by Paul Romer’s work in this area http://www.chartercities.org
.The notion of a particularly friendly and well organized Internet nation — literally like an island city state nation — is very, very attractive.This is real disruptive thinking.JLM.
I advocate for the same thing. The time has come for a real global Netizen movement and identity that’s global, has no border, is well organized, empowering individuals, enabling innovation, fighting bad regulation, etc.We come together here on AVC as global netizens. It’s a microcosm of what can be even more pervasive.
That’s Brad. He is the big thinker in our partnership. Albert is the genius. John is the financial mind. Andy is the man of the people. And I am the marketer. We are the San Antonio Spurs of the VC business. Everyone has a well defined role and plays it like a pro.
.So who is Coach Pop?I want to run the new Iceland CIA, NSA and Army.I will work very cheap because I will be blackmailing everyone.I have those college transcripts.JLM.
I would like to be coach pop
.Well, since you own the team, you can be whatever you resolve to be.Bonus question, who said: “You may be whatever you resolve to be”?Answer: Stonewall Jackson while teaching math and artillery to the VMI cadets just prior to the Civil War (War of Northern Aggression in some parts).It is etched into the Jackson Arch at VMI.JLM.
Brad = Tony parker (runs the point)Fred = tim duncan (face of organization)Albert = manu ginobili (when ginobili was good….euro connection here)Andy = kahwi leonard (underrated)Presumably john is coach pop
i think Andy might want to be Danny Green
that’s understandable. though i’m very bullish on kahwi leonard. i think he is going down the charles barkley/dirk nowitzki path. super quick big dude, high basketball IQ, gonna rebound like it’s nobody’s business. once he develops a post up game he’s going to give people nightmares.
this is the first time I have ever heard you refer to yourself as a marketer – what gives?
I’m not sold on the charter cities idea. I think it takes more than just set up the rules and follow them to create an innovative economically producing culture
Other countries are the same. Project echelon.is the original nsa surveillance program and it was designed to facilitate enable intelligence agencies to share info with each other. The UN will eventually do their standard scam of creating a global surveillance grid and cut countries that don’t participate out off international trade opportunities.
Yep. Even if the 4th Am was respected, we spy on eu citizens for the Europeans and they spy n Americans for us. Easy to get around.
.It really does not make any difference what the reality of the situation is — they now own the perception.Perception becomes reality.The notion of privacy is going to be huge.Would it be unfair to say that bitcoin is another initiative that is driven in no small measure by the notion of privacy?This notion of privacy is, IMHO, going to be one of the Big Ideas of the Internet. As big as email.JLM.
Re “Would it be unfair to say that bitcoin is another initiative that is driven in no small measure by the notion of privacy?”Right now, the public discussion seems to be weighing in more toward the “anonymity” aspect. I think a lot of future discourse on bitcoin is going to examine the notion of “privacy” relative to “anonymity”. Two sides of the same coin – but not the same. Thanks.
.Agree two sides of the same coin. Distinction with no real difference. If I am private, I am by definition anonymous.I think the issue of privacy (anonymity) is going to be a huge consideration.JLM.
It seems clear to me that CALEA can require any US company to implement surveillance technology
I think there’s a bigger theme going on here. It’s the trend for “Alternative everything”. There’s probably a better name for it.The Internet is about alternatives and choices, and now we’re seeing increased usage with alternative products and services. We could say it started with Amazon as the alternative to physical retail, but the current wave is much bigger, broader, and long lasting.Kickstarter, AngelList, Netflix, Bitcoin, Hailo, Uber, DDG, etc. are ALL alternatives to incumbents. The bigger the incumbent was, the larger the opportunity.If the Internet gives you an Alternative, take it.
@wmoug:disqus (see you are letting your hair grow a bit 🙂
Been following the private networks and data trends since I had my start up (bc it was a key benefit that at the time, no one really cared about except the uber geeks) — but your data is suggesting that’s changing. But still amazes me how many people DON”T care about this. Interesting to see it play itself out.
I’m going to be polite…There is a lot of total “twaddle and hooey” being thrown about DDG and privacy.At the end of the day DDG is trying to differentiate themselves by offering better (perhaps not perfect, but better) privacy by default. Thus it behooves them to do all they can to achieve this.The very fact that they are TRYING to offer default privacy to some extent has real value. If they ever fail to do so, their differentiator evaporates – that would be silly. So assuming a modicum of intelligence (assuming the contrary looks absurd) they will TRY to respect your privacy.Sounds like a win to me.BTW – Best search experience is however the real winner in this mudpool
Fred, i really want to love DDG [they have to change that name…] but they miss a killer feature that Google has that is for me what keeps me sticking to Google: auto suggest as you type. Yes i know it s partly executed thanks to data they collect, but they could build trees of suggestion out of objective contextual/time based/ geo based rules. It saves so much times and on the go (ie mobile) this is the best search experience…
They know it. And there are other features they are missing. They keep plugging away and making it better. Someday they will make it good enough for you
can’t wait. i think they have to find something where they can be better at search than google rather than just the privacy thing. Even after what happened i believe the vast majority of users won t care, specially new generations where everything is default by public. Or they have to really double down on private search and create a totally lock down environment where search is private, safe, secure but still shared with others (That would be carefully selected: other peers like students, friends, ….). Right now i see DDG as “as good as” and i think this is not enough (at least for me)
They aren’t trying to be better than Google. They are trying to be more private and good enough for those who care about privacy to switch
do you think this value proposition is strong to enough to build a very successful search engine? (of course the graph indicates they are growing, but i am referring to massive scale)
It depends how you measure success. The success of http is not financial, nor was controlled fixed wing flight *hat-tip to the Wright brothers*.Success can just be existencial (I have no idea of the DDG motives but in some senses they are changing the world)
i think it is sufficient to build a very profitable and valuable niche search engine
why aren’t they selling to libraries as part of the setup.
I’m not sure that the auto-suggest is such a killer feature. Google got some backlash on it (in Germany) because it could be misleading, and also gives the perception that there is collection of data somewhere.
Have patience. Look at what Google looked like in 2004 and compare it what it is now. Who knows, maybe DDG will develop their own mobile OS, docs, email, “Now”, etc.
Found this attributed to Fred…”We didn’t invest in it because we thought it would beat Google. We invested in it because there is a need for a private search engine. We did it for the Internet anarchists, people that hang out on Reddit and Hacker News.”Fred Wilson, 2012 TechCrunch DisruptConference in New York+ 100
That’s the investment thesis right there
“there is a need for a private search engine”That privacy might be a false sense of privacy long term. They are under the radar now as they grow that might not last.I can think of a few ways the government could get to the data, they could write laws that require a company to maintain logs, they could hack the systems, they could intercept traffic, they could place honeypots so when you searched you brought up a honeypot and they logged you that way (not perfect but would certainty work to gather info). They could put pressure on ddg’s upstreams to restrict data. That’s just off the top in a minute. ISPs keep track of IP address assignments and provide to law enforcement.In short the fact that ddg doesn’t do this now doesn’t mean that they will always be able to act this way especially since let’s face it they don’t have the resources that google has to fight the government should the government decide they want this info.
I think the idea of private search engine is interesting – privacy being private to the world, or that my search is unique to me.Google and DDG seem to occupy different ends of the spectrum in that regard
can the growth rate be reliably extrapolated to arrive at a number for queries per day in June 2016?1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, 1024, 2048, 4096, 8192, 16384, 32768, 65536, 131072, 262144, 524288, 1048576, 2097152, 4194304, 8388608, 16777216, 33554432, 67108864, 134217728, 268435456, 536870912, 1073741824, 2147483648, 4294967296, 8589934592the number of new cells from each new division cycle of replication from an original single cell seem inconsequential, until division cycle 30 is reached. after that it’s an unstoppable plague, or a beautiful and resilient new organism.
I have stopped using search engines altogether and I find myself spending more time at the public library doing my research from books. I think the librarian may have a crush on me because she seems to follow me everywhere lately! Its flattering!
Why the library? What mysterious aura dies it hold over you
man, that’s social!
The NSA has got it’s tentacles everywhere!
they definitely have logs over who’s checking out controversial books. there are some great kook stories about this.
This came up years ago!!
Not that I’m knocking the library, but the time lost here sounds immense. I simply don’t have enough free time for this to work for me in any meaningful way.
c’mon now he’s just going for the librarian
Well some people do like the librarian look… 🙂
Stealing books is the only way to not leave a “search history”. Stealing glances is what the librarian is doing – (I think ;>)
She thinks you’re stealing books!
I can’t say the library could replace the internet for me (for Stack Overflow, alone). But I love the library. It’s the original co-working space 🙂
I’d need it to be open 24/7. I get my best research done in the wee hours.
I hear ya. I’m a night owl, myself. I keep telling myself I’m gonna change and be one of those people who gets up with the sun. Never happens.
Internet cant touch the power of killer library for Anything more than 10 years old.
What a great comment. AVC community for the win! We have a shiny new map room at the Boston Public Library. Aren’t we lucky?
Just don’t check anything out …. 99/100 the NSA knows all about that too …
DuckDuckGo’s initiative to not store data is definitely a start…but their search engine doesn’t compete with Google yet in terms of the algorithm and how it brings up search queries. I just searched a few things in DuckDuckGo and I can’t really find anything that I would normally find on Google.With regard to the name, the search term ‘duck duck goose’ only gets 75k global monthly searches, so I’m not sure how effective the name is. But then again no-one knew the name Google before it got big.
Maybe they’re focusing on the kinds of results, right now, that would appeal to the extremely privacy-conscious user. Maybe they’ve got some data on that (but I am *totally* speculating).
Google’s algorithm also has changed. And Google didn’t start out being the best search; it grew it. Also, Google was (and still is) backed up by smart, forward thinking people working for it.DDG is just getting started . . . and is doing so in a very mature field.
Great reminder how a great product and idea can just tread water waiting for the catalysts. very inspiring. you can be early its just about managing cash and the cap table.
Story of many a startup (painful experience survived) – If market timing or technology or pain perception are showstopper issues it’s only a question of stay lean, stay on top and stay patient.
Seriously useful reminder but when we (me) think back on that time it can just feel like a big mess. Now’s the time. Oh wait not. Okay now’s the time. Encouraging to hear the success stories.
Thank you for introducing DDG to us last year.I don’t leave home (page) without it.
Congrats on growth of DDG, but per all the comments regarding the privacy thing… isn’t the real issue about privacy regarding messages?I do think “Duck” is a good word to use in name because of the twist if you do Duck It, Ducked Up, Duck The and so on.
The problem is that start up companies are open until they aren’t, share platform API’s with developers until they don’t and protect your privacy only until they fail at doing so.
That’s true but read this pagehttps://duckduckgo.com/privacyThis is DuckDuckGo’s whole reason for being
IF CORE BUSINESS IS BETRAY YOU?THEN ONLINE SERVICE WILL. #GOOGLE
It seems to be relatively simple to defeat Google’s ability to track you.i. Don’t use gmail.ii. Block Google cookies.iii. If you do need to interact with Google service with login, use a different browser from your normal one (I use Chrome for this purpose).But I’m probably out in the .000000000001% in terms of privacy. I also block Facebook cookies (and never use the service) and use OpenDNS’s encrypted service.I’ve added DDG to my Firefox search box and will give it a try.
REMOTE DESKTOP INTO OFFSHORE SERVER RUNNING VM FROM LAPTOP BOUGHT WITH CASH AT PAWNSTORE OVER PUBLIC WIFI.EVEN THEN, WEAR HAT AND FAKE MUSTACHE, JUST IN CASE.
maybe scrape off your fingerprints too
I’m thinking about a pair of facial recognition defeating glasses..
this also means not interacting with anyone who uses gmail, not using an android phone — and perhaps not messaging anyone who has an android phone? you’ll also need to spoof your IP address.
Sure, you can always make the perfect the enemy of the sufficient. My solution provides as much privacy as switching to DDG. Having my email to Gmail users does Google no good if they can’t connect the information to my search queries. As for IP address, I don’t believe that is a useful tracking tool since my Internet facing IP address is assigned using DHCP and changes regularly. I can accelerate that rate by power cycling my router.
I recently joined SF Privacy Engineering Group. http://www.meetup.com/sfpri… First event I attended featured head of privacy strategy for Google! Subject was designing privacy strategy into product design and/or function rather than wordy privacy policies. Idea wasn’t to cut the policies just that it’s too easy to crib a standard policy or off-load to legal. Takes a lot more thought to embed the principles in a business and/or product. Interestingly, attendees that evening were about half lawyers and half engineers.
So how does privacy and duck thread together to form a search engine? There must be a good punchline there somewhere…
Duck Duck Go is a good alternative to google.In my opinion search should not be owned by a company but should be owned and operated by the Community. We can think of this in a way as a Publicly owned and operated Utility. The entire process including the: The code base as wells as the hard ware should be Open and Transparent very similar to the way that Linux and Mozilla operate.
Speaking of privacy and governments/companies control, TBL just said this from a conference in Monte Carlo. It’s a good warning.”Companies and governments in different places all over the world trying to take control of the internet in different ways” is a much bigger threat to its development than fears over any one company having an online monopoly.”http://www.businessinsider….
But DDG is missing out on a ton of signals that Google uses to improve search. It’s not just about privacy; it’s about providing amazing search results.
very true. DDG and startpage are built on top of engines that are not privacy-oriented. if the whole world switched to DDG and startpage, ironically DDG and startpage would get worse because they don’t have enough data to sort properly.
Very true. I *would* like to use DDG, but the difference in result quality was unbearable all the times when I actually tried to use it. If I throw a few sloppy words at google, it knows what I mean, given the context of the areas I’m interested in and what I’ve searched for recently; but DDG in quite a few times floods me with results that match the keywords really well but don’t have what I need in the first page… then I try to refine the query and still no answer… then I give up and google the same thing.
I don’t buy that DDG is private – I will buy in the idea that it is indirect, and therfore gives me more cloaking. The data sent in the search is still stored in the search engines that it meta searches in. It may be DDG, but over time, these other search engines could piece together stuff about DDG users in general, and even perhaps based on cookies in/cookies out for the affiliate stuff stuff about me.
@fredwilson — DDG could rebrand as “Reeler”. When we search we’re casting our lines out to catch the fish across the Net. DDG is the mechanism by which we “reel” that information in?Also there’s this definition of the reeler mouse:”The reeler mouse presents a good model in which to investigate the mechanisms of establishment of the precise neuronal network during development.”All search engines are architected to be akin to finding shortest and most efficient path in a Neural Net.Variations would be “Reelin”, “Reelit”, “Reelme” etc.The “reel” has connotations of “real” (as in “Keeping It Real”).
what’s the bartender’s email address?
there is usually a contact fred link in either the bottom of the page or at the top right…
Despite promoting end user privacy, Duck Duck Go (and a similar search engine Startpage.com) fail to employ a server side feature known as Perfect Forward Secrecy which increases the security protections in HTTPS/SSL/TLS. Without Perfect Forward Secrecy the leak of a single piece of data would let a spy agency that wiretaps the Internet backbone see everything inside the SSL/TLS encryption wrapper for all users of the website in a totally undetectable manner. We already know of two agencies that are wiretappng the Internet backbone. Not to pick on DDG, almost no one uses Perfect Forward Secrecy. The irony though is that Google does use it. For more, seehttp://blogs.computerworld….
DDG is still in its infancy/toddler stage. They may implement it later.
I have said this before. Please, Please get them to add auto-completionIt just makes it more convenient. Lot of times this is the reason I go to google. Keeping a log of just the queries will not destroy privacy. Keeping a log of who did which query will hurt privacy.
Just downloaded the new DDG mobile app. It’s really well done, and clever idea to combine stories with search results.https://duckduckgo.com/app/
I also had no idea until today that Duck Duck Goose meant anything – A childhood game – So how do you play it ?
Fair enough – as a Canadian who grew up here, Duck Duck Go was a fun game. 🙂
A favorite of the kids at our school project in Ethiopia.Sit in a circle. Whoever is “it” walks around the outside of the circle, patting each player on the head saying “duck.” At some point, instead of “duck” they say “goose” and take off running.The “goose” must jump up, follow and try to tag the first player, who tries to make it around the circle to take the goose’s seat before being tagged.
Ah! Sweet memories of primary school!
the possibilities are endless. here’s one example: user is logged in to any yahoo service — tumblr, yahoo mail, flickr, etc. they’ve been cookied accordingly. user searches on ddg — cookied again. the stage is set to connect these data points and develop as robust of a use profile as possible. big data is the name of the game for the behemoths so this is the trajectory they are on. granted, it is all a race to third place behind google and amazon, but nature of the game amongst the current titans in the current framework has already been determined.also, what is the exit plan for DDG? presumably not selling to anyone, as everyone else is playing the big data game.to try to promote themselves as a privacy search engine is naive on multiple levels. first, there is not much demand for it. second, all the people passionate about privacy use startpage.com. remember, kooks have been on the privacy bandwagon way before the mainstream jumped on board. the leading privacy advocate, katherine albrecht, uses and promotes startpage which does not track IP addresses (unlike DDG). granted, startpage sucks, but i don’t see how the users who want privacy are going to choose DDG over them. the privacy users are not swayed by usability or marketing.ultimately, though, every company is beholden to its customers. customers are best defined as the people who give you money. who gives DDG money? advertisers. what do advertisers want? the answer is obvious……real privacy solutions will charge the end user and will understand they are dealing with a very niche audience.
It’s Bing. And if you click on a Bing ad, they’ll know you did a search at DDG, exactly what you searched on, your IP address and assign a cookie to you, which can be used to associate you with having searched for that term, if Bing so chooses. It’s a relatively minor issue. Unless you’re clicking on ads all the time, you’re not going to build up much of a search provide. The ads shouldn’t be doing any type of monitoring of what searches you do on DDG even if you don’t click. However, Bing has a fairly decent idea of what people in aggregate are searching for on DDG. It would have to know that, in order to serve ads.
Increasingly so, but perhaps not originally so.
Oh I take it back. Seems like ddg does not store ip address and is pretty minimal about their affiliate stuff. Im surprised, their actually pretty thorough. Still not a fan of this model and think it is doomed, but I at least have to say that they are thorough enough to be kook approved.
One wrong down, two to go. I am a patient guy
lol i really wish there was a way to bet on charity for this. it’s also unclear what my three wrongs were; it honestly looks like you are disputing whether my nephew’s weight increased by 35% this past week. which may be wise as it is is probably the one i’m most unsure about! 🙂
I will take that one for sure!
With little or no domains left,, how abt duckf##k.com
There are lots of domains left, just need to be creative.