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DuckDuckGo Pitches Private Searches

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DuckDuckGo Pitches Private Searches

Yahoo, Google, Microsoft… DuckDuckGo. Is it possible that this uniquely named start-up search engine may make a dent in the field? Considering the track record of attempted competitors, it doesn’t seem likely. However, DuckDuckGo is giving it their best go with a simple sales pitch: they don’t sell your information.

According to a report at Search Engine Land, DuckDuckGo has launched a new advertising campaign that doesn’t pull any punches. Their billboards, banner ads, and other marketing tools all feature one simple line. “Google tracks you. We don’t.”

One of the more advanced marketing tools gives a less abbreviated version of the story by telling the story of someone searching for the term “herpes,” and reminding people that your standard search engines provide all kinds of referral data — including the browser, location, and sometimes other registered details of the user. This much is certainly accurate, but the ad goes further by making a claim that association with a user account could cause the search details to “show up in unwanted places like insurance, credit, and background checks.”

Is that true? Well, no, search results aren’t a part of those checks. However, DuckDuckGo does a good job of reminding us that your web history, when associated with your user account, is something that’s saved on record — and can be legally pulled by the authorities.

The pitch is then as direct as can be, telling users that DuckDuckGo doesn’t store your internet data or associate it with a user account, so you can dodge all the risk of having it come back to haunt you. Really, though, it comes off as little more than a scare tactic.

DuckDuckGo has been around since 2008, when it had just one full-time employee. That number hasn’t changed, but if the advertising campaign makes any real impact, maybe they’ll be able to hire a second.

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Rob D Young

Rob has been insatiably obsessed with Google, search engine technology, and the trends of the web-based world since he began ... [Read full bio]

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