Disappointed with

Direct quote from their site:

“When you type in a search, we can show an ad just based on that search term.”

The attached image shows an ad that has nothing to do with my search term, and worse still, is VERY spammy. 👎 DDG.

@kev did they step away from their previous privacy goals? They used to not use ads or track what was searched

@jordan31 @kev They've always displayed ads; they've got (or had) a deal with Yahoo where Yahoo trusted them to proxy all the ads themselves, so they wouldn't have to leak the IP address / advert relationship.

Don't know when they started tracking, though. Somewhat recently, it looks like they stopped sending the *contents* of selections home; now it appears to just be which search result it was on… but there's still no way to control this in the settings. 😞

@jordan31 they’ve always used ads as far as I can remember. They just don’t track with ads, instead using contextual ads based on the search term.

@kev never happened to me with Qwant ... and adblock, anyway

@kev You're disappointed because you get an ad you don't care about? 😕

The only thing that quote means is that it doesn't base itself on anything else than the search term, not that it has to be related to your search

@Matter I’m disappointed because I got a spammy ad that has no relevance to the search term. I have no issues with them displaying ads - we all need to make money, but this makes them look spammy and amateur.

@kev You should want ads that don't concern you, since they won't influence your decisions. Better this than something you might be interested by...

@Matter I disagree. If an ad is relevant to me and doesn’t track me, I’m happy to click it.

Advertising isn’t bad. Tracking is.

@kev Well, I guess we must disagree then, I think all forms of propaganda, including advertising, are terrible.
Advertising in particular is responsible for exacerbating the excesses of consumerism, and thus climate change.

@kev I think some forms of advertising can be ethical, but most of it isn't.

@kev @Matter I think the problem lies in the fact of getting a relevant ad means you must be tracked. Or how would they know what's relevant to you.

@Matter here’s the quote expanded. They specifically call out that ads are related to the search term.

“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.”

@kev I don't think that's a promise, the important part is that it's not based on your behaviour. And the ad you've shown doesn't seem to be, so everything's good :)

@kev I guess there's no contextually relevant ad to that search term so they show another ad that has a high click through rate in general so they can optimize their revenue

@markosaric hmmm yeah, maybe you’re right. Screams “SPAM!” and makes them look amateur though.

@kev true. i assume they have to start showing some revenue so they do these things because that brings them more money. it's always like that when you get venture funding, eventually they'll start asking to see some actual numbers back...

@markosaric yeah, true. Feels like selling out a little, but I understand that they have a business to run.

@kev probably the best way out for them to satisfy the investors without selling out the users, is to actually sell to apple or someone like that but i don't know whether they chase that option...

@kev @markosaric Isn't that a problem of them letting such ads through though? The actual mechanism is a reasonable way to show ads on a search result page, and is, as far as I understand, what Google used to do back before they became an adtech company?

The ad shown in the sceenshot is terrible regardless of whether you were targeted via your search terms, not targeted at all, or based on whom you have been chatting with on facebook.

@loke @kev yeah google made their first many billions with contextual ads only.

from what i know duckduckgo is not in control of the ads they show on their search results. if you want to advertise on ddg you go to microsoft and buy ads on microsoft network which also displays on ddg...

@markosaric @kev But surely it's in Microsoft's interest to not accept such ads either?

@loke @kev depends on what interests you have in mind. these ads get clicks.

@markosaric @kev Fair enough. But ads is no really MS's primary business. When it's not what keeps you afloat, you can afford to have a higher standards?

Ads may seem to be not the primary business of MS but they show ads on bing, Cortana, Xbox, outlook web UI ... If you asked them, they probably would say that they have ads here and there.
I would argue that advertising is one of the main businesses of MS. Ads are in start menu for God's sake.
@loke @markosaric @kev

@kev I recently ditched DDG. I see and hear a lot of people talk about Qwant but I've yet to try them myself. Swisscows is supposed to be good also but have some limits to results from my understanding. Currently I'm running a searx. I've been keeping my eyes on Mojeek tho, it's one of the only search alternatives I know about that actually crawls and indexes pages themselves.

@jmizzle207 I won’t be ditching DDG any time soon. I love what they’re doing, it’s just disappointing to see something so spammy in the results.

@kev I guess I haven't completely ditched them, I still have them set as my browsers search engine on PC and Android. I've been toying with searx with simple search on mobile for a while now tho and comparing.

@jmizzle207 I used Qwant for a long while, but it's just very slow. Don't know why.

@jmizzle207 @kev From my own experience with Mojeek, it renders English page fine but when it comes to non-English page, it gives unexpected or unsatisfied results. If you only search in English, Mojeek is a legit choice imo.

@kev I just started to use my own searx instance because I’m kinda paranoid.

@yonatanb @kev I use qwant their are based in France, so that searx sounds interesting, I will take a look on it

@kev If they sell any ads that are based on search terms, it's likely someone bought this ad spot based on the term "tiktok". The assumption being that if you're looking for "tiktok", there's a *good* chance you're an iDevice user, and likely to get excited at seeing such clickbait. Sadly, while stupid from the outside, it's an easy way to grab unsuspecting people with as little effort as possible.

They need some better vetting at DDG. There's no excuse for letting such an ad though for any keywords whatsoever.

@kev DDG is trying out which principles they can drop and I don't think they'll survive that experiment.

As @markosaric said, DDG sells ads through Microsofts Bing Ads platform. Someone put a scam on Bing Ads with buzz word tags to reach many people. I don't see this as DDG's problem but as MS's problem.

If MS gonna automate adding ads on their own and their partners' platforms, they should have put a sophisticated filtering mechanism in place to catch scamming attempts.

Fun fact: I used MS's SMS Organizer to filter scam SMSes in India. It has a great filter.

@kev well then... Is DDG heading the way of Google...
@Marc Grondin well as everything free on the internet running at global scale sooner or later will become.what it tries to fight against in the beginning.

Do you use iphone?

In any case, this spammy type of ads are bad.

@kev I just took a quick look on duckduckgo and didn't see any message about showing me an ad based on a search term. None of my searches have ever shown a ad relevant to that search. If I ever saw a relevant ad it would be bye duckduckgo.

@kev thanks. What they are really doing there is not tracking. I usually zone out ads so as far as I know I never get an ad based on my search. I could be wrong.

@kev >

What are they gonna do, stab me?!

@kev I used DDG for years but recently have been finding the experience less desirable. Searches seemed to not give the same quality of results as I had found in the past. I have started to use Searx more now.

@kev They’re no different than any other search engine. They may be trying to be better, but their business model inevitably leads to them manipulating us with ads and misleading search results, or getting replaced by people who do.

@kev maybe that ad listed tiktok as a keyword match?

@kev Another vote for searx from me. It's dead easy to set up for self hosting, and very hackable. (It's written in Python.) The project is quite active, I've made a few PRs and had the fist merged after a day.

@kev you should report the ad by using the feedback button

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