Last week, Ahrefs, the popular SEO toolset provider, announced its intention to build a search engine to compete with Google.
As unlikely as it sounds, CEO of Ahrefs, Dmitry Gerasimenko was not joking when he tweeted the statement; “Ahrefs is working on a general purpose search engine to compete with Google.”
Obviously, this raises some questions. But the first one you want to ask is;
Why Does Ahrefs Want To Build A Search Engine?
The company’s CEO cited two reasons for building a new search engine; privacy and monetization. Let’s break it down, shall we?
According to Dmitry, Google is keeping more site visitors to itself and, as a result, content creators are getting less traffic.
In his tweet, he wrote;
“Google is showing scraped content on search results page more and more so that you don’t even need to visit a website in many cases, which reduces content authors’ opportunity to monetize.”
For a while now, tech companies such as Facebook and Google have acted as gatekeepers to web content, exercising control over what reaches people. Aside from controlling how content is produced, these gatekeepers dictate how content is monetized.
For example, Google reportedly makes a whopping $16 million per hour from search advertising. Since the search engine giant doesn’t share search revenue, sites like Wikipedia will always have to beg for money.
“Remember that banner on Wikipedia asking for a donation every year? Wikipedia would probably get a few billion from its content in the profit share model. And could pay people who publish articles a decent salary,” Dmitry noted.
With its new search engine, Ahrefs intends to wrest the monetization incentive away from Google and back into the hands of content creators. Dmitry believes that this would not only lead to better content on the web, but it’ll ultimately encourage innovation too.
The CEO wrote that its search engine would implement a 90/10 split profit sharing model that favors publishers whose content appear in the search index. Publishers would receive the more substantial 90 percent, while the remaining 10 percent goes to the search engine.
While SEO toolset provider’s understanding of how search engines work is not in doubt, one essential question lingers in most minds;
Will This New Search Engine Happen?
Several search engines have risen and failed, and Ahrefs’ fate may be the same. However, the desire for another search engine has been around for a while now. DuckDuckGo has enjoyed a favorable acceptance in the search market community, perhaps Ahrefs would get a similar treatment.
Either way, the project is an ambitious one, and it’ll be fun to see Ahrefs take on the search engine giant.
You can read the stream of tweets from Dmitry for more details about the project.