Is DuckDuckGo Owned By Google?

DuckDuckGo (DDG) is privately owned. Indeed as reported by Crunchbase, it received $13 million in funding from several investors, comprising Union Square Ventures (led by Fred Wilson). DuckDuckGo’s business model proposes itself as an alternative to Google’s business model. Therefore while it might be an option for Google to purchase DDG to reduce the competitive pressure from privacy-based search engines, this is off the table as of now.

Might DuckDuckGo be acquired by Google in the future?

To answer this question, let’s go back for a second at how these two business models work.

Where Google makes money primarily via targeted advertising (the search engine collects many data points across various devices also thanks to Android and its Google Chrome browser, as the users navigate the web).

Google generated over $116 billion from advertising revenues in 2018, which represented 85% of its total revenues. Of those revenues over 70% came from traffic via Google’s main properties (Google search engine, YouTube, Gmail, and others). Google’s main properties are monetized primarily via a cost-per-click mechanism. Network member’s sites are primarily monetized on a cost-per-impression basis. Google also spent over $26 billion in 2018 to sustain its traffic on both its properties and as a revenue-share mechanism with its network members (AdSense and AdMob).

So where Google has mastered hidden revenue generation at scale, DuckDuckGo does the opposite:


As contextual data (like location or keyword search) is collected to serve ads, it is thrown on the fly. As you can imagine, this business model might be highly inefficient as it makes it hard for DDG to build so-called “data moats” or data network effects (network effects on the tool as it scales because it gains more and more data from existing users so that it can refine further its results for future users).

This deficiency for DuckDuckGo business model is well paid off by the fact that an exponentially growing number of users are willing to take a tool which might not be as advanced than Google, yet it is privacy-based.

Going forward, as digital advertising is evolving in the direction of more privacy-focused tracking, also DuckDuckGo will benefit from it , thus becoming even more valuable.

In that scenario a potential take over from Google (Alphabet) might not be as farsighted.

Read Next: DuckDuckGo: The [Former] Solopreneur That Is Beating Google at Its Game , How Does DuckDuckGo Make MoneyBullseye Framework, Traction Channels.

Main Free Guides:

Published by

Gennaro Cuofano

Gennaro is the creator of FourWeekMBA which reached over a million business students, executives, and aspiring entrepreneurs in 2020 alone | He is also Head of Business Development for a high-tech startup, which he helped grow at double-digit rate | Gennaro earned an International MBA with emphasis on Corporate Finance and Business Strategy | Visit The FourWeekMBA BizSchool | Or Get The FourWeekMBA Flagship Book "100+ Business Models"