What would it take for people to switch and pay for a search services through a subscription service, rather than data? Google search is used by 87% of computers, with mobile market share of about 94% as of June 2021, according to Statista. There are other options for consumers.
Neeva, an ad-free private subscription search engine founded by former Google executive Sridhar Ramaswamy, became available this week as an integrated search option in Vivaldi, a private and customizable web browser. Is there any opportunity for brands in a subscription-based search engine? The answer is pretty obvious: only if there is a sponsorship offering.
Search results on Neeva do not serve up ads or affiliate links. Neeva runs on a subscription model, making the engine accountable to their users, not advertisers.
While some may balk at the idea of paying for queries on a search engine, the truth is consumers have always paid with their attention, clicks, and private data.
Neeva’s subscription model works to deliver an experience without relying on advertising revenue or selling customer profile data.
Agencies like Aimclear are trying to determine how. “It’s another search engine that promises not to track you,” said Marty Weintraub, founder of Aimclear. “Chrome is a lot more than a browser. It’s a tracking mechanism. It’s a privacy busting beast. Most Americans don’t seem to care that much.”
Jonathan Kagan, vice president at search agency 9Rooftops, pointed out that Margo Georgiadis, Endurance Partner in residence at General Catalyst, and former CEO at Ancestry and Mattel, as well as former president at Google, sits on Neeva’s advisory board.
She believes it’s time for the “next evolution of search.”
Vivaldi is not the only search option in Neeva.
The Puma web browser in June also integrated Neeva. Yuriy Dybskiy is CEO and co-founder of Puma Browser, a web browser with micropayments built in. The company enables payments for creators, app and game developers via Coil and ILP protocol, with access to Ethereum Name Service and Handshake domains.
He previously worked with Lyft, Facebook Parse, Meteor, IBM Cloudant, and a few others.
Other privacy engines that do not charge include DuckDuck Go, and StartPage.