Duck, Duck, What? How DuckDuckGo looks to carve out search market share

DuckDuckGo is a search engine like Google, Bing and Yahoo.  Two BIG questions come to mind: What makes it different and how will it compete versus the titans of industry?  While DuckDuckGo is not trying to emulate the titans, it might be able to carve out a slice of the search engine market share by playing to a niche market.

Duck Duck Go search engine features

No Stalking Allowed!

Let’s start with what makes it different.  Well, if it looks like a duck and walks like a duck then it must be a search engine, right?  Not quite.  First off, DuckDuckGo doesn’t track users like Google, Bing or Yahoo.  DuckDuckGo doesn’t share what users are doing, doesn’t cookie your browser or even save your search history.  It’s all about searching privately.  Anyone using a major search engine is sharing search history with an ad network that follows your movement, so it can target you ads around the web.  Privacy is fast becoming a huge concern for web users.  According to TRUSTe, 92% of internet users worry about online privacy and 83% of users are less likely to click on an ad than a year ago.

Apple, a longtime advocate of internet privacy and critic of Google, has given Safari users the ability to change their default search engine to DuckDuckGo.  In a recent BGR article, DuckDuckGo founder Gabriel Weinberg says “It’s great to see Apple championing privacy by adding our anonymous search option to protect Safari’s users.”  This is a huge moment for DuckDuckGo, considering there will be record breaking adopters of iOS 8 and OS X, due to software updates and record sales for the iPhone 6.

Smarter Search

Another big way DuckDuckGo differentiates itself is by smarter search.  How is that possible?  No one outsmarts Google, right?  Well the answer isn’t so simple.  Google’s algorithm is amazing, because it can quickly rank web links based on 200+ factors using both content and backlinks as a guide, giving the user the most relevant link possible.  In order to do this, Google and Bing spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year to crawl and index the vast universe of web pages.

In contrast, DuckDuckGo Search is built on APIs from over 100 vendors which include: Yahoo!, Bing, Wikipedia, Wolfram Alpha and even Yelp for local listings.  DuckDuckGo’s philosophy is to rely on its vendors to pull in the best possible answer, instead of investing millions into web crawling and indexing.  As quoted from their site “For any given search, there is usually a vertical search engine out there that does a better job at answering it than a general search engine. Our long-term goal is to get you information from that best source, ideally in instant answer form.”

Market Share

DuckDuckGo recently surpassed 5 Million searches per day and is on track for almost 2 billion searches before the year is up.  How does this compare to Google?  Not so well.  Google averages over 3 billion searches a day worldwide and over 1 trillion searches per year.  DuckDuckGo is a mere blip on Google’s radar, but DuckDuckGo is growing fast and could be a potential disrupter with a business model Google, Bing or Yahoo can’t easily adopt.  Now that Apple has put its weight behind the company, let’s see if this duck can fly.

Here is a recent video I did with Tony Edward on DuckDuckGo.



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