Everyone on the web knows about Google –the search engine giant is so ubiquitous that “googling” has become a part of our standard dialogue. And, thanks to Microsoft’s advertising budget, many consumers are now seeking out Bing as a search alternative. But what about smaller and quirkier? Have you heard of DuckDuckGo for example?

This peculiarly-named search engine is generating buzz, largely centered on their promise of total search anonymity. Their privacy policy bluntly states, “DuckDuckGo does not collect or share personal information. That is our privacy policy in a nutshell.” Their illustrated guide to why this is important for consumers is located at the website http://donttrack.us and the baiting page headline simply reads, “Google tracks you. We don’t.”

DuckDuckGo Billboard[Image copyright DuckDuckGo.com]

While many of us have experienced something akin to the scenario illustrated (the one search term that seems to follow us in targeted ads around the web), I am not entirely convinced that private search automatically equals a better web experience. Most businesses will agree that the search terms used to find their site are an important part of creating the content that users want to see. Less info means less targeted content, meaning consumers have to work harder to find what they want to see in the future.

DuckDuckGo is obviously marketing to a specific demographic of user with this approach but privacy features aside, they do present some innovative ideas for search. The ability to use !Bang commands to perform searches on other domains (e.g. ‘!amazon bikes’ will perform a search for bikes on Amazon’s website) and a robust settings menu to tailor the search experience are a refreshing change of pace.

While DuckDuckGo may have an appeal to privacy advocates and/or for searches of a dubious nature, it remains to be seen whether they can win over enough consumers for general search traffic to be sustainable. In the meantime, the search giants should take some inspiration from DuckDuckGo’s inventive feature set.

As various sources around the web report increasingly-useless search results via the Google engine, Net Applications runs a few side-by-side comparisons with Bing to explore the quality of search results.


/*Mobile internet usage is exploding as can be seen in several NetMarketShare reports. The Browsing by Device Type report (see below) shows that mobile internet usage has now grown to 2.6% for August 2010. It was 0.94% for August 2009, so has more than doubled in a year’s time. It could easily [...]


/*Number increased 159 percent in Q2, compared to the same time in 2009, says Irvine-based WebVisible.
By Kristen SchottPublished: July 20, 2010 02:37 PM
Small businesses spent 159 percent more on Internet advertising in the second quarter, compared to the same time last year, according to a new study conducted by WebVisible, an Irvine-based online marketing firm.
The [...]


/*Consumers and advertisers are failing to connect effectively online
There is a definite need among small business owners to both better understand current consumer behavior and embrace their own online behavior when considering their advertising spend. In these economic conditions, small businesses know more than ever that efficient forms of advertising will save time and money. [...]

Nearly 9 out of 10 people use search engines to find local businesses from which to shop – more than 1 billion local searches every month. Local business owners who market themselves on search engines are in the best position to sustain and grow their companies. No matter the age of your business clientele, search engines are the primary resource used to find your business.


/*Small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs) have a myriad of choices to advertise today, ranging from online to offline options, word-of-mouth referrals and even branding.  Clearly, the most effective and free advertising is to prominently mark your name and number on your service vehicles, leave flyers and cards or refrigerator magnets after customer jobs are completed, [...]


/*A recent BusinessWeek article looks at Apple vs. Google, providing an excellent look at how Apple may be in the best position to take on Google at their core – advertising.  With 300,000 iPads sold the first day it was available, it looks like this may be the year where the level of growth in [...]


/*The Internet currently dominates the way we communicate and find information. It used to be that business owners would dedicate most of their advertising budgets to:

Yellow pages

Results were often difficult or impossible to measure, but at a minimum you made sure people could find you by being in the yellow pages.  Now, with more [...]

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