DuckDuckGo, by contrast, has been profitable since 2014 "without saving or sharing your search or browsing history when you view our search results or navigate to other websites. We’re proud to have a profitable business model that’s not dependent on exploiting your personal information."
The company make its money from private ads and affiliate partnerships on its search engine. Those search ads on DuckDuckGo are based on the search results page the person is currently viewing, rather than being targeted based on personal information. Those ads are also clearly labeled and take the form of sponsored links that appear adjacent to search results. What that means is that if someone is searching for a product, for example, shoes they will be shown ads for shoes.
"We are profitable based on these non-profiling search ads alone, though we have always been on the lookout for other ways to reduce our dependence on advertising that are similarly anonymous," the company says.
While those ads are DuckDuckGo's main revenue source, the company also makes money through a non-tracking affiliate partnership with eBay, meaning that if someone visits eBay through DuckDuckGo, and then makes a purchase, the company receives a small commission.
The company stresses that this is all done anonymously, with no personally identifiable information exchanged between DuckDuckGo and eBay.
"The reason we can do this in an anonymous way with eBay, though not with other retailers, is because eBay runs their own affiliate networks," DuckDuckGo explained.