Google was founded in 1998 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin while they were PhD students at Stanford University. It started as an academic project founded to help the world. Google search engine was made to make sense of vast data available over the world wide web. It grew like a rocket and engulfed the internet data market. More than 90% of search traffic comes from Google now. Google is definitely the internet gatekeeper of our life today.
Image Source – Search Engine market share
The problem with Google
Google was a gift to humanity. Searching data over the internet was always difficult. Because of Google our internet life is so convenient now. But are we missing the other side of the coin? Since the launch of Google search, the company has grown leaps and bounds and the rapid growth has triggered huge no of acquisitions, new products and partnerships. Google has become extremely powerful. Data is the new oil. Google realized that in 2001 when they started to do trial & error experiments with user data logs for predicting clicks on advertisements. Google tasted success and they started to do mass marketing. Henry Ford experimented with Model T at Ford in 1903. That was the early days of the automobile industry. He mass-marketed Model T successfully whereas automobile was a niche product at that time. Henry Ford was successful and he created history. Google data scientists also realized that human experience data can be extracted at no extra cost. A new capital accumulation model was developed. Data became capital. Dividends came on the way as all the corporates jumped onto the data to reach their consumers. Google was collecting data surplus to predict consumer behaviour. Now the surplus data is limitless. More surplus means more accurate prediction. Thus surplus data collection became surveillance. We are living in the era of surveillance economy. We used to use commodities but today we are commoditized. Surveillance economy is penetrating each and every moment of our lives behind the veil of the technology. The ultimate goal is behavioural modification so that we can consume the targeted products. Again, Google is the pioneer in this.
"With great power there must also come great responsibility" – Spiderman proverb
What is Presearch?
Presearch did their ICO in 2017. It was born from the realization that Google was attaining monstrous power. Google’s market dominance was already killing competitions. The alternative of Google can’t be another Google. Could there be a decentralized alternative to Google? Presearch saw the day of the light with this thought. A new, open, community-driven search engine was a necessity in the internet search industry where the market leader dominated more than 90% market share and created a monopoly.
Presearch is not totally decentralized. The original whitepaper says that the long-term objective of the project is to turn Presearch into a community-driven and managed platform. They want to shift to decentralized, node-based infrastructure gradually. PRE is the native token of Presearch. They’ve already launched the version 1.0 of their peer-to-peer token marketplace. The second phase of the marketplace will provide full peer-to-peer functionality with a connected escrow service. This marketplace will enable people to buy tokens and run sponsorships. The ultimate objective of the project is to operate without fiat anchors and create a crypto ecosystem where value transfer will take place through PRE tokens only.
Presearch Chrome extension – Also compatible with Brave browser
Revenue model of Presearch
The primary revenue driver for Presearch is advertising. The payment of the advertisement happens in PRE tokens. The core ad unit is the ‘Token Sponsorship’. This unit is the real estate unit of Presearch. The clients of Presearch purchase advertisement credits for use in the search platform. Presearch ads are non-targeted. These ads are displayed to Presearch users when they search. The Presearch users earn PRE tokens for viewing ads.
Image Source - A non-targeted ad is displayed to Presearchers when they earn PRE tokens for searching
”While advertising isn’t typically something to be excited about, we feel very differently in this instance. Presearch is closing the loop on its token economy, and ensuring the future viability of the project for many years to come.”
Image Source – Presearch Advertisement unit
Keyword Staking advertisement
Keyword Staking is a unique feature of Presearch. It enables token holders to ‘stake’ their PRE tokens against specific keywords. With the help of this system, the sponsor ensures that their ad is displayed when people search with a particular keyword. Keyword ads provide good conversion as the searchers already indicate their ‘transactional intent’ through the keyword when they search through a search engine. This ‘directional advertising’ seems to be very lucrative for the advertisers as they already know the need of the searchers.
Image Source - Keyword staking in Presearch
Addressing transparency issue faced by the advertisers
Google is making huge money by their cost per click model. The pricing mechanism is hazy. Only Google knows how they are managing auction of the bids. In the case of Presearch, the bidding process is transparent and visible on the blockchain. None can artificially fudge the bidding amount. Sounds good.
Image Source - Presearch user base growth
The benefit of the users
Presearch users get PRE token rewards when they search. The tokens are tradable. PRE is already listed Kucoin, Probit, HitBTC etc. These tokens are purchased by the advertisers to target searchers entering certain keywords. So if the popularity of Presearch increases, the token value will appreciate. Once a user collects 1,000 eligible PRE, he/she can withdraw the tokens to his personal wallet or exchange wallet.
Presearch comes with a promise of no data harvesting and tracking. They are challenging the monopoly of Google while nurturing decentralization. Presearch has recently published a revised whitepaper. They call it ‘Presearch Vision Paper’. 2020 can be a roller-coaster ride of Presearch. The vision paper is exciting. A community-powered decentralized search engine, which rewards the users for searching and protects privacy, is a winning concept. Presearch’s latest innovation is the ‘Search Nodes’. The nodes can put Presearch into the ranks of best blockchain projects. Is Google dominance over? Not yet, but the days are numbered for sure. Presearch’s success will ensure the emergence of more decentralized search engine projects who will bring more privacy and power to us. Let’s wait for the celebration until that time.
Sign up to Presearch (Mobile app/browser extension) and get some free tokens
<To be continued in the second part>
Note: The images (if not cited) are created by the author from free vectors.