DuckDuckGo is a relatively new search engine that’s making user privacy a priority. It’s stripped down, no-nonsense approach to Internet searching is making it popular with Internet purists. Whether the young search engine can compete with Google has yet to be determined.

What Makes DuckDuckGo Different

Personalized results are one of the top attractions for big name search engines like Google and Bing, but that’s not a service DuckDuckGo offers.

The upstart search engine company does not track IP addresses; serve up personalized ads; or offer too much more than just plain, old searches. Their stripped down search results page and lack of web clutter are drawing obvious comparisons to an early Google.

While a truly minimalist search interface is welcomed by many web users, it’s DuckDuckGo’s minimalist privacy policy that has privacy advocates swooning.

By default, DuckDuckGo does not collect or share personal information.

That’s the whole policy.

Site founder Gabriel Weinberg isn’t crazy about search engines sharing data with law enforcement and that’s part of why he started DuckDuckGo in the first place. In a recent interview with, Weinberg elaborated on what makes his search engine stand out:

The problem is that [people] have never had a choice. They don’t perceive that they have a choice. If you say: yes, you can go to this privacy search engine, they feel that they’re sacrificing something for that. But I don’t want to hamper my search experience. We’ve been trying to offer high privacy and a comparable or better search experience [than Google].

So far, Weinberg’s plan seems to be working. As recently as May of this year DuckDuckGo was clocking in around 1.5 million searches a day.
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Monetizing Privacy

DuckDuckGo’s challenge, like every other website, is making money. Unlike Google, DuckduckGo is saddled with the additional challenge of monetizing search results without the benefit of personalization and add-ons like blogs and e-mail?

So far the company is using sponsored links and contextualized advertising. Those revenue streams turned into a around $115,000 in revenue in 2011.

What Does It Mean for Affiliates?

In a recent article about thinking beyond Google, author Kevin DeSantis looks at some of the SEO advantages of optimizing content for DuckDuckGo.

He points out that a lack of advertising and clutter makes DuckDuckGo results a lot easier to read and digest. And because it doesn’t use previous searches as a guideline, users get a more organic results. This could be good news for smaller affiliates who have trouble competing on Google.

Have you used DuckDuckGo? Share your insights with us on our SEO Forum.


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