DuckDuckGo (also abbreviated as DDG) is an internet search engine that emphasizes protecting searchers' privacy and avoiding the filter bubble of personalized search results. DuckDuckGo distinguishes itself from other search engines by not profiling its users and by showing all users the same search results for a given search term.
The company is based in Paoli, Pennsylvania, in Greater Philadelphia and has 116 employees as of November 2020. The company name is a reference to the children's game duck, duck, goose.
DuckDuckGo was founded by Gabriel Weinberg on February 29, 2008, in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. Weinberg is an entrepreneur who previously launched Names Database, a now-defunct social network. Initially self-funded by Weinberg, DuckDuckGo is advertising-supported, but the user has the option to disable ads. The search engine is written in Perl and runs on nginx, FreeBSD, and Linux. DuckDuckGo is built primarily upon search APIs from various vendors. Because of this, TechCrunch characterized the service as a "hybrid" search engine. Weinberg explained the beginnings of the name with respect to the children's game duck, duck, goose. He said of the origin of the name: "Really it just popped in my head one day and I just liked it. It is certainly influenced/derived from duck duck goose, but other than that there is no relation, e.g., a metaphor." DuckDuckGo was featured on TechCrunch's Elevator Pitch Friday in 2008, and it was a finalist in the 2008 BOSS Mashable Challenge.
In July 2010, Weinberg started a DuckDuckGo community website (duck.co) to allow the public to report problems, discuss means of spreading the use of the search engine, request features, and discuss open sourcing the code. The company registered the domain name ddg.gg on February 22, 2011, and acquired duck.com in December 2018, which are used as shortened URL aliases that redirect to duckduckgo.com.
We didn't invest in it because we thought it would beat Google. We invested in it because there is a need for a private search engine. We did it for the Internet anarchists, people that hang out on Reddit and Hacker News.
DuckDuckGo was self-funded until Union Square Ventures and angel investors invested in DuckDuckGo in October 2011. Union Square partner Brad Burnham stated, "We invested in DuckDuckGo because we became convinced that it was not only possible to change the basis of competition in search, it was time to do it. In addition, Trisquel, Linux Mint, and the Midori web browser switched to use DuckDuckGo as their default search engine.
By May 2012, the search engine was attracting 1.5 million searches a day. Weinberg reported that it had earned US$115,000 in revenue in 2011 and had three employees, plus a small number of contractors. Compete.com estimated 266,465 unique visitors to the site in February 2012. On April 12, 2011, Alexa reported a 3-month growth rate of 51%. DuckDuckGo's own traffic statistics show that in August 2012 there were 1,393,644 visits per day, up from an average of 39,406 visits per day in April 2010 (the earliest data available).