How does DuckDuckGo make money… and how much?

DuckDuckGo is a search engine with radical Clear value proposition.

While its competitors collect your data and search history for targeted ads, DuckDuckGo uses a different business model designed for privacy.

So how does DuckDuckGo make money? DuckDuckGo makes money through keyword-based advertising, affiliate marketing, and their tracker radar tool.

We will delve deeper into each of these revenue streams in this article.

What is DuckDuckGo?

DuckDuckGo is a privacy-focused search engine, browser extension, and browser app.

As the search bar proudly states, you can search the web without being tracked.

DuckDuckGo was designed to be a solution to many of the annoyances that Google search causes users:

  • The fact that Google search can be manipulated with search engine optimization
  • Concerns about how Google tracks your search history and collects personal information
  • The onslaught of personalized ads following you across the web

Google used to be primarily considered a technology company, but today Google is widely recognized as an advertising company.

It is still the dominant search engine, giving the highest bidder access to billions in sales. But more and more people are becoming aware of it social damage of this targeted advertising.

As these online privacy concerns continue to grow, searches on DuckDuckGo are also growing.

Annual growth of DuckDuckGo traffic.

There are now an average of 100 million searches on the platform every day, and the trend is rising.

In fact, in early 2022, a record number of daily searches were made, making DuckGoDuck the 10th most popular search engine in the world today.

100 million daily searches on DuckDuckGo.

These figures add up to 2.6% of the United States search engine market and 0.67% of the world search engine market. But these numbers also stand for a 46% growth in 2021.

During this rise, DuckDuckGo has managed to hold on to his Privacy Policy.

It states that whenever they record something, such as how many searches are taking placethe data remain completely anonymous. And that will probably never change.

Who owns and funds DuckDuckGo?

DuckDuckGo was booted from the basement American entrepreneur and MIT graduate Gabriel Weinberg in 2008.

In 2011, DuckDuckGo received funding from Union Square Ventures and some angel investors. To date they have attracted 18 investors with a total funding of $113 million.

DuckDuckGo founder Gabriel Weinberg.Source: Money Inc.

It remains a private company with Weinberg still being the company’s CEO and likely majority shareholder. The company falls under its parent company, DuckDuckGo, Inc., based in Paoli, Pennsylvania.

How does DuckDuckGo make money?

DuckDuckGo has a few different methods of generating revenue.

Keyword-Based Advertising

Like other search engines, DuckDuckGo’s primary business model revolves around advertising.

What’s different from the rest is that DuckDuckGo doesn’t bombard you with ads for products you searched for last week.

It delivers ads related to what your search query is about.

When you search for camping gear, you see these types of ads.

Keyword-based advertising on DuckDuckGo.

And because no user data is stored, not even your IP address, you will not receive a personalized search result.

Each search is as if they are meeting and serving you for the first time. Well, that’s privacy.

So if you exit the tab or change your search to airline tickets, you will receive these types of ads.

Keyword based ads on DuckDuckGo.

Click on any of the ads and DuckDuckGo will make some money. This is how keyword-based search ads work in a nutshell.

It Yes, really is a basic model that other companies like Google also benefit from. It is simple that DuckDuckGo stops there and does not collect your data or personal information to sell to advertisers for additional profit.

Another difference is that DuckDuckGo doesn’t have its own ad buying platform like Google Ads. Instead, they act as partners of Microsoft’s advertising network.

This gives marketers who buy Bing ad space the opportunity to also appear on DuckDuckGo.

Buy ads on DDG with Microsoft Ads.

affiliate marketing

DuckDuckGo also earns affiliate earnings from Amazon and eBay. This is one of the creative ways the company avoids being solely dependent on advertising.

When you visit Amazon and eBay through DuckDuckGo and buy something, they can earn an affiliate commission.

They are careful to say that this is a non-tracking affiliate partnership and all information shared remains anonymous. They also say that this is not the case affect their search results, only appear organic like any other link.

DuckDuckGo’s search uses its own web crawler along with the help of 400 other sources such as Bing, Yahoo, Yandex and Wikipedia to bring you results.

DuckDuckGo’s CEO hasn’t commented on how much this generates. But when you consider how fast Your daily search count is growing, this could be a huge revenue stream for the company.

tracker radar

Ever search for something on Google and get bombarded with related ads on every website you visit?

I bet you do and although it’s great for them Website owners who benefit from ads, it can get a little tiring as a seeker.

This is because major platforms like Google and Facebook have hidden trackers on many of the most popular websites. These trackers allow them to collect your information and, of course, to follow you with targeted ads.

In response, DuckDuckGo released a dataset tracking and monitoring these hidden trackers.

tracker radar constant searches the Internet for foreign properties on websites. It tracks how they use the browser API, how often they set cookies, and more. It then compares this data to its other insights to determine tracker behavior.

This allows users to create comprehensive and up-to-date tracker block lists.

Common trackers found by Tracker Radar.

The open-source code for this dataset is freely available to the public on Github.

DuckDuckGo makes money from the tool through royalties when companies get it for commercial use.

Is DuckDuckGo profitable?

According to a post on DuckDuckGo’s official blog, spread privacy, it has been a profitable business since 2014.

DuckDuckGo managed to swim against the tide of other search engines and build a great business.

And they did an excellent job in marketing.

I’d bet real money they studied Al Ries and Jack Trout’s The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing because they seem to tick all the boxes.

  • They have focused on a growing audience that cares about user privacy.
  • They have positioned themselves as the private search engine of choice.
  • fFrom the time they rented their first billboard in 2011 to now, they have been very clear with their message.

This list goes on and on.

DuckDuckGo's first billboard.

DuckDuckGo remains a private company, so they keep their actual numbers pretty secret – nnot just how much money they make, but also how much they spend.

But in an interview with PhillyMag, CEO Weinberg announced that the company had 2020 sales of over $100 million.

Since that quote, her search traffic has continued to increase.

Growth of DDG traffic.

How much is DuckDuckGo worth?

It’s safe to assume that DuckDuckGo has reached unicorn status.

Setting a rating for a private company is difficult. One could argue that it’s worth whatever someone is willing to pay for it. But it’s helpful to compare the numbers with a publicly traded company like Google to make an educated guess.

For comparison, during the same time that DuckDuckGo claimed to have made $100 million, Google made around $181 billion. And Google’s parent company, Alphabet, is valued at around $1.7 trillion.

That’s about a 10-fold multiple. With this benchmark, it’s safe to assume that DuckDuckGo is worth at least $1 billion.

A short summary of DuckDuckGo

We’ve got quite a bit covered. We crossed over some of the ways DuckDuckGo makes money and some of its privacy features.

Between ads, affiliate partnerships, and the tools it can provide, the privacy search engine appears to be a thriving business.

If the trend continues, more and more people will be looking for a search engine that protects personal information. TThis is where DuckDuckGo, the self-proclaimed “internet privacy company,” will continue to excel and reap the rewards.

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