The Greatest Myth About Web Search Leaked Out

Every day over two billion queries go through Google. Those queries feed Google and make it more intelligent but also make it more profitable. Below the breakdown of Google‘s revenues and how much of them come from advertising:

Google 10K Report – in millions 2014 2015 2016
Total Revenues 66,001 74,989 90,272
Advertising Revenues 59,624 67,390 79,383
Ad / Rev % 90.34% 89.87% 87.94%

Almost 88% of Google‘s revenues come from advertising. That isn’t either bad or good. Many companies today rely on advertising as the main source for their businesses.

However, you may not be aware, yet by default when searching through Google you’re getting tracked, and personal information is getting shared with websites you land on, in a vicious cycle called search leakage.

That is what makes you a victim of advertising by companies that use retargeting to sell their products or services. Ok, what’s wrong with it? After all, if those companies are providing you with relevant products or services, you may need. However, often those advertisings are:

  • invasive: if a person has used your computer for a couple of minutes you will know their preference because a retargeting advertisement will pop up within the websites you’ll navigate
  • ineffective: you often get suggested to buy things you’ve already purchased
  • disruptive: if you need to focus on reading an article you end up distracted multiple times

That is why 615 million devices use Adblock, and 11% of the global internet population is blocking ads on the web (source: pagefair.com). That is why it becomes impossible for you to get anything done when surfing the web. In fact, each time you get distracted it may take up to 25 minutes to get back your focus (source: lifehacker.com).

For how much Google wants to make sure the user experience, therefore the quality of results is high it is undeniable that with almost eighty billion dollars pouring in each year, keeping those ads going is crucial for its business model. That is why attempts to suppress ads – like the AdNaueam case – are an obstacle to Google’s bottom line.

Yet if Google wants you to think that it needs your data to offer excellent results or to make money, this is a myth we’ve been induced to believe, about web search!

Why tracking users is not necessary 

As Gabriel Weinberg, CEO and founder of DuckDuckGo – a search engine that focuses on privacy and that does not follow you – tells us,

It is a myth that search engines need to track you to make money on Web search. When you type in a search, we can show an ad just based on that search term. For example, if you type in, “car,” we show a car ad. That doesn’t involve tracking because it is based on the keyword and not the person. 

In other words, when you input a keyword in the search box, if that keyword is transactional (think of you searching “I need a car insurance”) then the search engine may offer you an ad as a result.
search leakage
This isn’t only simpler but also better. In fact, the search engine is giving me what I need here and now, without relying on my search history, which may be dated. Therefore, you got what’s useful and necessary, instead what’s irrelevant. Also, when a search engine is not tracking you, you’re avoiding the so-called search leakage.
Or the fact that a search engine passes your info toward other third parties, like governments and marketers.
Other search engines, like DuckDuckGo, instead do not track you to avoid search leakages. So that you only get what you need and are sure your data isn’t given to other third parties.
If you still haven’t done it, start splitting you searches among what has been your default search engine, to DuckDuckGo.

 

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Published by

Gennaro Cuofano

Gennaro Cuofano, International MBA. Creator of The Four-Week MBA Community and Content Marketer/Business Developer at WordLift