Due to the surge of internet users around the globe, online businesses emerged in the process.
I have made articles to help you sell online from getting more visitors to earning a lot from it. Another way is to create your search engine.
A search engine is defined as a website where you can enter a keyword or phrase in its text box. Then, you can find a list of sites that are related to it.
I will discuss one of them named DuckDuckGo. This article will involve exploring its origins and analyzing its business model.
Another type of website that search engines directly affect is blogs. If you want to learn the reasons why you should write one today, check out the short video below:
An overview of DuckDuckGo
In this section, let us learn how this search engine came to be. Aside from that, we can also learn how to use it too.
The website was founded in 2008 by Gabriel Weinberg. Aside from this website, he also co-authored two books: Super Thinking: The Big Book of Mental Models and Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth.
Two years before that, he sold NamesDatabase for $10 million. The social media website was bought by classmates.com, which was under United Online. As of today, it has not been updated since 2008.
The entire operation was self-funded until they were able to earn $3 million in 2011. Seven years later, they entered a partnership with OMERS and got $10 million. Using this money, they were able to keep the website alive while it was gaining attention.
After receiving the money in 2011, the company was able to grow to 68 employees. Before then, there were only ten employees that were working with Weinberg. It is expected that they will hire more employees in the future due to its rising popularity.
Since then, its share in the mobile search market in the U.S. is at 1.27%. They were able to get 50% more search queries since its inception in 2008. Finally, it was able to earn around $25 million from its yearly 24 million searches.
According to WNIP, the website was able to get 49% more organic search visits across all types of devices. 64% of that was credited to mobile users. This reflected not only their rise in popularity, but a shift on privacy and how collection is collected on the internet.
Aside from the rise in searches, it was predicted that they could have a surge in annual revenue as well. Medium reported that they would later reach up to $150 million a year. This is more than four times it earned now.
In this section, let us explore howthis search engine stands out among its competitors. You can also learn how to use it by yourself as well.
How DuckDuckGo manages your privacy
In 2008, its search results were generated by using various other search APIs. Doing this reduces the information they need from the user. Then, they let go of tracking search history two years later. Removing this feature made them stand out even more against its competitors.
Unlike most search engines that store your search history and personal information, their goal is to deliver search results without making use of these. The company was aiming to avoid luring its users into a “filter bubble” using this information.
A filter bubble is when a search engine shows a result based on this information. For example, if you used one which modified your results while you were researching candidates in the next election, this will influence your decision greatly with the rest who fell into the same bubble.
Aside from the main website, DuckDuckGo is also released as a browser and mobile extension. While using either version, they can give a privacy grade rating between A to F. This will also help you learn how much a website is tracking you.
Also Read: How Google makes money
There are two ways to use the search engine.
The first way is to directly go to DuckDuckGo and use their search engine from there.
As an alternative, you can access their website by installing their extension in Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, Opera, or Safari. They also published themselves on the Apple Store and Google Pay Store.
DuckDuckGo’s available settings
The first tab in the settings is its general preferences that you can edit. From infinite scrolling to telling them about your experience, this is where you can change them. Aside from saving these locally, you can save this to the cloud.
If you want to change how the search engine looks to you, you go to the theme tab. This is where you can choose between six different appearance options. Aside from default, there is basic, contrast, dark, grey, and terminal. You can save these settings to the cloud as well.
For more specific options, you can go to the appearance tab. As shown below, you can change various parts of the website, from its font size to showing the full URLs in search results. If you want to save these custom appearance settings, you can save it to the cloud.
The final tab has four different settings that have something to do with your privacy. It includes visiting an encrypted version of DuckDuckGo to disable redirection for older websites.
DuckDuckGo’s available syntax options
Search syntax refers to what are the possible phrases you can enter into its search bar when looking up results from a search website. Aside from the usual search operators, you can use the following to filter your search even further:
- Exclude (-) or include (+) a word in the search result
- Adding category at the end of the phrase (e.g. images, videos, news)
- Adding a backslash at the beginning of your search entry will help you get “I’m Feeling Lucky” results from DuckDuckGo
- Specify a preferred format with filetype: or f:
- Site-specific searches by using site:[domain] or s:[domain]
- Toggle Safe Search (!safeon or !safeoff)
- Specify a region (region:[region code])
Shortcuts you can use in DuckDuckGo
The following is the list of keyboard shortcuts you can use in this search engine:
- j/k or up/down arrows – navigate through individual results
- Return or o – open the highlighted result
- Cmd/Ctrl + Return – open highlighted result in the background
- v – open highlighted result in a new tab
- Return – when you press this after the result page loads, you can get to the top result link right away
- d – perform a search from a highlighted result
- left/right arrow – switch between tabs of search results
- m – focus on the search results
- Front slash (/) – jump to the search bar
- t – go to the top of the page
- s – accept “did you mean” suggestion
What is DuckDuckGo bang search?
This particular type of search is defined by using a phrase that has an exclamation point at the beginning of a search identifier. It can be used to search using a website’s internal search engine.
They categorized at least 13,505 websites under the following:
- Games (General)
- Social News/links
- Real Estate
- Big Box/Department
Instant answers in DuckDuckGo
Similar to Google’s translate or currency exchange feature, if you look either phrase up, they also have a library of search shortcuts on this platform. The full list can be seen here, which includes some of the following unique features:
- 2048 (game) – play 2048 on DuckDuckGo
- xkcd – read the latest xkcd comic on the platform
- Shruggie & Friends – creates a copy-and-paste friendly version of the shrug kaomoji ( i.e. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ )
- BaconIpsum – generates a set number of BaconIpsum paragraphs for use as dummy text
- Braille Translation – translate text to and from Braille
DuckDuckGo’s business model
After learning how DuckDuckGo came to be and what it offers to its users, let us learn how it earns its money every year.
Analyzing how DuckDuckGo earns
They thought that they should find a way to make income without infringing on their user’s privacy. This is done in two steps: advertising and affiliate marketing.
They gain ad revenue by inserting ads on your search results. For example, if you entered “buy book” in their search bar, they add an advertisement for a website that sells books online as the first search result:
If you are interested in being one of the many websites that they can advertise, you would have to do the following steps:
- Create a Microsoft advertising account.
- Sign in to Bing ads.
- Click campaigns.
- Click on your ad group’s name.
- Go to the settings tab.
- Go to ad distribution.
- Make sure that the search network option is checked with all searched networks.
- Click save once you have made any changes.
With that said, most of DuckDuckGo was able to create advertisements through Bing and Yahoo. Even though it has a relatively small size compared to its competitors, this can be an advantage to businesses. A smaller size means that there is less competition to rank onto the top search results.
This type of marketing strategy involves earning money while promoting someone else’s product or service on your channel.
In DuckDuckGo’s case, they can earn a commission from partner businesses promoting their service. This is apparent when using their bang search feature, especially when searching for products through Amazon or Walmart utilizing this feature.
While using their bang search feature, they made sure that no data will be exchanged between them and these third-party businesses. All the links are organic links, and it will not influence their ranking or relevancy in any way.
In the example earlier, if you clicked in the section I have encircled below and bought the listed item, it is your way to help them earn money to keep their site open. This is on top of hiding your sensitive information from these sites at the same time.
After more than ten years, DuckDuckGo is able to establish itself as a unique search engine. Without relying on storing their user’s information, they are able to create a platform where users can get results without falling for a “filter bubble.”
With that in mind, they were able to continue as a search engine in two ways. The first way is through advertising with the help of Microsoft. Meanwhile, they also gain profit through commissions of users buying products recommended on their platform too.
Their presence not only makes them a frontrunner for a non-biased search engine but also reduces costs in storing data at the same time.
Did this help you learn more about DuckDuckGo? Read my other articles about how other websites earned money:
You can also comment below to let me know which website I should review next!