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4 Weeks with DuckDuckGo (mahdiyusuf.com)
91 points by b14ck on May 6, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 121 comments

I was discussing this with a colleague recently and I figured I'd mention it on HN the next time DuckDuckGo came up.

I feel somewhat silly saying this, but DuckDuckGo is not that great of a name. I love the engine, and have gotten some great results from the few times I have used it, but I really, really wish it were not named DuckDuckGo. It seems tacky to me and it's hard to say. There's a support article that encourages users to "duck it". No thanks. I swear I would become a regular user of this product if it were named something more professional.

I know tech products often have whimsical names, and it's usually positive or at least tolerable, but something about "DuckDuckGo" rubs me the wrong way.

I have to agree. I know it's stupid, I know it's childish, I know that as a techie I really should know better than to judge a search engine by its name.

But every single time the topic of DuckDuckGo comes up, I find myself thinking that it's a bad name. And I'm not the only one - every time this topic comes up, at least one other person mentions the name thing.

I'm not saying this to be mean, and I'm definitely not saying this because I think I'm "right". I'm only saying this because I truly believe that changing DuckDuckGo's name would make it more popular, and it deserves to be popular.

Google had a funny name in 2000. And Yahoo! had a funny name in 1994. I'm sure once they get some cash they'll buy ddg.com from Donoho Design Group LLC and that'll be the end of it.

I think you're saying two things, so I'll address each.

1. "Google" and "Yahoo!" seemed funny in 1994, but we're used to them.

It's possible. This is what most people answer about DDG. I think this is wrong. Google and Yahoo!, while funny names, sound "cool". DuckDuckGo doesn't. My memory isn't great, so I can't be sure I'm right about this, but I'm pretty sure that the first time I heard "Google" or "Yahoo!", I had a much better reaction than the first (and every) time I hear "DuckDuckGo".

I also think it's not smart to cling to the "people will get used to it, Google was the same" defense. If it's true, sure. I think it's not, and it's just misleading and true-sounding enough that DuckDuckGo keeps going.

2. The domain name itself is a problem (long, annoying to type, etc.), and once they get ddg it will be better.

I agree on this point, although I do think the name is still an important point, not just for the domain. It's a brand.

I'd like to reiterate that I'm not saying this things to be a critic, or just to be mean. I really value the work of DuckDuckGo, I think it's great that there's good competition to Google, and I'm a fan of Gabriel Weinberg. I'm only saying this because it's an issue that keeps coming up, and I really think it has a bad effect on DuckDuckGo.

"2. The domain name itself is a problem (long, annoying to type, etc.), and once they get ddg it will be better."

Actually, you can already use www.ddg.gg, which redirect you to the HTTPS version of DDG.

They own the DUCK.CO domain, but use it as a community forum. I think they should use that one as a shortcut to their main product, but probably they don't want to cause confusion.

The funny thing is that the registrant of DUCK.COM appears to be Google when you do a whois lookup:

    DNS Admin
    Google Inc.

I remember reading about it on TNW that it came from an acquisition. While most of the domain names Google owns don't redirect to google.com, this one is an exception (you'd wonder how it relates to search in any way). Google wants some free traffic from its little enemy?

I actually knew that, but ddg.gg seems to never stick in my memory.

On the other hand, how often do you type any search engine into the URL field? It's either bookmarked or it's automatically set as your search engine.

Actually, the use case is more for someone like me - I remember that I want to try DDG once in a while, so I decide to visit it, and then I can't remember the shortcut and am annoyed that I have to type in the whole name.

Obviously serious users of DDG don't have any problem with it.

Duck duck go, go go?

I rather wished that DuckDuckGo embraced more of their whimsical side, and due to their name having 2 ducks, added a second duck to their branding scheme.

Name it something more professional like Google or Yahoo or Bing.

This same comment is often thrown up here in response to DDG's main criticism. Maybe it will work this time? Probably not because all of those names are better search engine names than DuckDuckGo.

I hope he just changes the name. No one will be upset by this move.

Here are my reasons for not liking the name:

- 3 is too many syllables (for a search engine name, which I think should roll off the tongue quickly)

- Difficult to use as a verb

- It sounds like a Japanese game show :)

+ But it's easy to remember though.

+ Longer names are more visible.

(i was shocked that MS didnt take the name Microsoft Live Bing Home-Professional DotNET UltraGold Edition)

First time i used google i was thinking they misspelled goggles.

As I recall, google wasn't happy with people using the term as a verb for search.

Also, I assumed the name was a play on the children's game: Duck Duck Goose.

I've just taken to telling people that "I asked a duck."

"Just duck it"

The name is too long.

Google is just misspelled 10^10. I don't see how that is "professional" more than google just built its brand out of thin air.

I can definitely give credit to Google for inventing the word though. So few people try making companies without their names having some second meaning besides "my company".

10^100 I believe

It's easy to say google however. Yahoo and Bing are easy too. Compare this to spelling "duckduckgo" especially for non-English speakers.

Really? You're not going to use the product because of its naming.

I understand possible apprehension at bragging about it and proselytizing, but whatever.

I do think it's hard to sell to non-techies, though.

I find Googles' invasion of privacy a big turn off. I have long since stopped using Facebook for exactly this reason. I am not quite at the point with Google where I say I don't trust them, unlike Facebook. I regularly check out DuckDuckGo but its search results are not quite there yet for me, in comparison to Google. At this stage the gap is narrowing, both as a result of my increasing concerns over the invasion of privacy from Google and the increasing quality of DuckDuckGo.

It is only a matter of time before I say goodbye to Google forever....

I also found that to be true; but Google results are very much superior in my opinion for time being.

But I am not sure what privacy concerns people have, that being said I am not too worried about that sort of thing.

Actually, if you like DuckDuckGo but sometimes want google search results, you can use Startpage, which provide the same results that google, but "privately" (like scroogle).

You just have to add the iBang !sp in DDG.

Google's invasion of privacy will only get worse, as it becomes increasingly difficult to get off their teat.

"Do no evil" will soon become a rediculously bitter irony. Just wait.

New user motto, 'Use no evil.'

I tried DDG for little more than a week about a year a go and it made me realize how much I use the search suggestion feature in Chrome. The lack of that feature using DDG really annoyed me. Often I don't know the exact spelling of the thing I'm looking for or the best way to phrase my question (English being my third language), and the suggestions I get in chrome just by typing a few letters in the address bar is really great. And often times I'm just looking for how to spell a word and with the suggestions I don't even have to leave the page I'm on.

You might like:


Adds in a browser search engine option that targets duckduckgo, but uses google for autocomplete/suggestions.

Wow, thank you for pointing this out to me. I think it's time I give DDG a second chance.

And there's no good reason not to do the encrypted install.

Just installed it. Works well.

The DDG + Google Suggest Plugin would be of interest to you: http://ddgg.nfriedly.com/

It gives you suggestions from Google but runs the search on DDG.

Last week I was searching for a: Sabian 18" HHX Chinese cymbal. I was considering buying one for my kit and wanted to see some reviews, video samples, prices etc.

DuckDuckGo: The top three results were American Ebay search results (I live in Canada), a drum shop in Memphis (15 hour drive), and various other online stores like discountdrumequipment.info... looks legit.

Google: The first page of results had links to the official Sabian product pages, Youtube videos of people playing it, and the most impressive thing was a 3 day old Kijiji ad (still popular in Canada) with the exact cymbal I wanted for a good price in a city just 45 minutes from me. I responded to the ad, drove the 45 minutes, and purchased it.

DuckDuckGo's stance on user privacy is admirable, but Google is going to be my primary search engine for a very long time with results like that... it's accuracy still impresses me.

One of my favorite things about DDG is the bang, and my absolute favorite bang (when I use one) is !g. Because the URL for the resulting page is just the search, without all the cruft.

  !g googol

  direct via google:
Whenever I want to send a google search to someone, I do it via DDG. Although I usually send DDG searches, to help promote DDG.

This appears to be a direct ripoff of open shortcuts from yahoo search.


Good thing they didn't patent it, so others can use it.

Just configure a keyword for your browser, you also get a clean url.

The writer appears to be the wrong audience of !bang. As a physics student, I find !w tremendously helpful. Image searching is also much faster since it all can be done in the search bar rather than requiring the mouse. !wa for wolfram alpha is again great. It's far better for sites in which there is no better alternative than using their search bar, rather than the type of usage the article seemed to employ.

You can set up this sort of thing at the browser level to work directly with the site of interest (Wikipedia in your case):


You can set up the same sort of thing in Chrome by going to Settings -> Manage search engines, then editing the middle column to have just one or two letters of your choice.

Keyword bookmarking is also very useful: http://lifehacker.com/196779/hack-attack-firefox-and-the-art...

In fact, at this point, the number of times I have to manually type in a URL (when using my own computer) is probably fewer than 10 per day. I've never understood why people make such a big deal about !bang when instead you can search the sites directly with a keyword search, plus you're not limited to those DDG supports.

You can manage your search engines in Chrome to get the same !bang effect. Slightly better in my opinion, because you don't have to type the awkward '!' and you don't have to go to a website just to search another website.

For example, if I have the URL http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=%s tied to the 'wa' keyword, I can now search Wolfram Alpha from the address bar by typing 'wa'.

The best thing is you can even configure Chrome to do the same thing for local files. My Racket repository is always in ~/code/racket. The "rkg" keyword (for racket-git) is set to file:///home/andy/code/racket/doc/search/index.html?q=%s, which allows me to easily search all of the latest racket Git docs in Chrome in just three letters + Tab.

Thats only because the search for wikipedia is good; but for example !python isn't as great. It is nice for convenience but relying on site's internal search is kind of a cop out, albeit smart for their purposes.

Ok, !python, in particular, sucks. So don't ! the python. Everything else is a plus though. !hoogle is awesome.

If you can't use it for all sites you want to search, then what's the point? I'm sure python isn't the only site with a bad search.

It just seems he used a useless search on purpose. The !w for wikipedia searches and the !v for youtube searches are as awesome as the !python is lame.

Or he is a Python developer(I know I work with him). Searching the python docs or the Internet for some module is a pretty common use case.

True, but I think DDG is smart to pursue the bigger market of "people who want to find stuff on wikipedia, youtube, and google image search" and wait for DuckDuckHack to come up with a plugin that does skillful python searches.

Should plugins really be necessary? What would a plugin bring to the table that searching "python whatever" doesn't?

I really have to ask if your point is that because a feature isn't universally useful it's automatically pointless?

I think that the approach that DDG is taking is wrong. Relying upon individual sites search engines isn't going to lead to uniform results because they are always going to vary in quality.

I don't see that they realistically have an alternative.

DuckDuckGo won't ever be able to compete with Google as a general search engine. Google already pretty much solved that problem, and even if they haven't they have a huge head start and a much bigger bankroll. If DuckDuckGo is going to succeed on it's search principles it's going to be as a curated search engine. That's a game where they can still compete with Google.

I completely agree with you about the lack of uniformity in search results. Curation is hard. It requires that a good source exist, that the curators are aware of it, and that it's amenable to being added to your system (technically and legally). Only one of these is under the direct control of the curators.

The reason the Python search sucks in DuckDuckGo the people running the curated Python search have a crappy search engine. Obviously either a better choice doesn't exist (probable), the DuckDuckGo curators don't know about it (very likely), or the better source isn't technically or legally accessible to the DDG curators (unlikely but possible).

Unlike the problems of a crawling and building general search index (where even to enter the market you need to have a massive infrastructure investment), these smaller problems of curation are attackable by a smaller team with limited resources. To improve the search results for !python they won't need to re-engineer their entire crawl/index infrastructure, they will simply need to pick a better third-party source once they are aware of it existing.

But look at a query like "!hoogle (a->b) -> [a] -> [b]". That's a search on the type of a function, and I'd have to go to hoogle first, then search it from there. This adds value greater than the drawback of not using !python, or hitting the back button and deleting the ! when I forget

I think the bubble trend is dangerous. For a while, I was comfortable with Google knowing so much about me. But since they're using that data to decide what I need to know, I decided that it was time to ween myself off their services, including Business Gmail.

What I find interesting, if not sad (sorry), is that it was clear, obvious, simple, like a punch the face that Google would use the data.

Yet you and billion others decided to be comfortable with it. Today the trend is clearly changing and privacy starts to become important. People not getting/losing jobs over it and other such problems certainly don't help.

But still. Faith in humanity certainly doesn't fare very well these days ;-)

You're right. They were bound to use that data. I just assumed that it was for serving up more targeted averts. I'm not against making money. I just don't want to see what happened with newspaper and TV happen to the internet.

I use google mostly for "How to do x in y framework", and I can get a good response 75% of the time, and that goes up to about 85% with some better phrasing. I tried ddg for a week, but I used g! so much that I felt a bit silly.

I've found that you can get that extra 10% of relevance by including the year in your query.

The fact that DuckDuckGo is even being compared to Google shows how much they have accomplished already ... it also shows that domain names do not matter AT ALL.

i don't think it shows that domain names don't matter. it just shows that DDG is good enough to overcome their terrible name. who knows where they'd be with a better name.

Google had the same problem. I recall showing Google off to people (when it wasn't a household name) and they'd comment on what a stupid name it was and how they wouldn't remember it.

Similar "stupid!" name outrages occurred over Vista, Xbox, Wii, iPad.. but they got absorbed into pop culture anyway and no longer seem weird. C'est la vie :-)

to be fair, i think HN is pretty much the only place that the comparison is being made, and most of the support comes from DDG's support for 'hackers' and because a lot of people here really don't like google and microsoft.

Bingo, 99.99999% of people on the street would not know what DDG is - maybe even a higher % outside of SV.

"most site’s internal search engines suck, returning results that are somewhat hit or miss. "

If I want to find a movie, I type !imdb Avengers

If I want to find a recipe, I type !allrecipes pizza

If I want to play music right now I type !grooveshark AC-DC Thunderstruck

If you know where to look use bangs. If you think Google does a better job, there's a bang for that too type !g

I think all of those !bang searches above work just as efficiently as is (minus the bang of course) for me in Google. I'm not switching to some new search engine anytime soon.

Bangs? is that like using "site" in Google?

Using Google:

If I want to find a movie, I type site:imdb.com Avengers

If I want to find a recipe, I type site:allrecipes.com pizza

If I want to play music right now I type site:grooveshark.com AC-DC Thunderstruck

googling "site:imdb.com ..." uses google's index, restricted to imdb.com; DDGing "!imdb ..." uses imdb's internal search.

I almost never bother with sites' internal searches, as google's "site:" feature almost invariably works better, so I wouldn't be inclined to use DDG's site-search bang-lines myself. YMMV, I guess it depends on how good the site in question's internal search functionality is.

Heh, I always use Google instead of most site's internal search engines. Have you ever tried using MSDN search before? Even with the advanced filter options, the results are awful, awful, awful compared to what Google pulls up.

See also the mind-bogglingly dreadful search provided by Amazon.

I dread to think how many human hours have been wasted because of sub-optimal Amazon searches.

I really want to love DuckDuckGo, and will usually give it a try for a day or two every couple weeks - but Google is just a superior product.

A pretty balanced review of the two search engines. I have had DuckDuckGo as my main search engine for almost a year now. I still find myself using the google bang (g!) for a significant percentage of searches. However, I don't find typing the extra 3 characters in my search query to be enough of a chore to warrant switching back to Google as default engine. From experience, I usually have a strong premonition when a particular query will be more appropriate for Google to handle, so I don't waste time hitting DuckDuckGo first.

I tried using ddg as my default search in chrome but had to switch back pretty quickly, not because of search relevance, but because of speed. For me every ddg search takes roughly 2-5 seconds to show results, as opposed to Googles <1 second.

I tend to do many searches in quick succession, so it sort of breaks my train of thought.

I suspect this has more to do with my internet connection/location than ddg, but for now it still makes it frustrating to use day to day.

Search quality is more important than privacy, and Google is better at most of my searches.

Also, Google crawls and index's new content within 1-3 minutes. DDG takes 10+ minutes.

I have to disagree with you there. Google may reach a point where I'm no longer comfortable sharing my information with them. If that happens then I'll be switching immediately. I don't think it's a foregone conclusion yet though.

I would expect that the more a search engine knows about me the more relevant my results will be. I have yet to see a compelling argument why that isn't the case. Since I use a search engine for the sole purpose of getting the result I'm looking for as quickly as possible, I am more than happy to make the trade off.

Finally, someone in the tech world who agrees with me... Is it really a bad thing that Google knows you like x product and shows you things related to it instead of completely irrelevant?

Yes, actually. I don't think you understand just how pervasive Google's presence is on the internet. Install Ghostery or similar sometime. Then watch where Google Analytics shows up. This will be some rather surprising places, including porn sites and things you might find yourself feeling rather sensitive about.

Remember, not only does Google have records of every search associated with your IP, but they've spent a lot of work trying to differentiate and distinguish people as their IPs change. They also index all email you receive using their services or if your place of employment uses those services.

In sum, this is actually a very detailed picture to paint of someone. It's not a matter of simply not using Gmail or Google, they've infested the internet with bugs that still provide detailed information of where people have visited and it's actually a bit of effort to slip under their radar. More effort than the average person will ever spend, anyway.

And it's not like you can have them remove what they already know about you, you just have to write that off as a matter of record now. If you still think this is a good thing to hand this all over to a company that owes you absolutely nothing and whose existence largely depends on holding this information about you...

"Then watch where Google Analytics shows up. This will be some rather surprising places, including porn sites and things you might find yourself feeling rather sensitive about."

I'm not a huge porn surfer but when I do find my self in certain corners of the internet, I use private browsing mode and a vpn. I doubt Google is using that as part of my profile.

The rest you say doesn't bother me as again it is a trade off. I trade information to get good search results.

Imagine a service by Facebook / Google / Whoever Inc. where you can purchase a slice of a user's info / history.

"Brad seemed to really know his stuff in that phone screen, let's go ahead and purchase his past 6 months of search history before we bring him in for an interview". (sub in Facebook profile, etc.)

I'm not saying this will happen. I hope it never does. But there are definitely incentives in place right now to make this a reality, and I haven't event touched on big brother's back door access.

I have to ask, what sort of things are you searching for that you require it to be indexed in 3 minutes?

The only thing i can think of is news which i generally get via twitter links these days.

And in that case, you can use !twitter to go directly from twitter via DDG


Its either some use case that everyone needs im ignorant of, or one so small its not a market worth chasing.

I've spent approximately the last 4 weeks with DDG, as well, and I haven't decided yet if I want to keep it as my primary search engine.

For the most part it works well, although, I periodically g! just to make sure I'm not missing something important.

The thing is, I don't particularly mind Google building up a profile of me, keeping track of my browsing, email, and prior searches. I mind them doing it to show me ads.

I strive to avoid needless purchases and prefer to keep as few items as possible (I've whittled my wardrobe down to couple pairs of pants and about a week's worth of shirts, undies, socks). I want to keep a simple, regular grocery list of bread, chicken, etc, and so avoid the coupons lest I be enticed to buy a fancy cereal or something. I know that Google constantly inundating me with products more and more relevant to my interests will lead to a life of higher spending.

DuckDuckGo is better in that regard (usually only one ad in the results) so I'm happy. But if I could pay a yearly ad-free fee to Google I'd do it in a heartbeat.

In terms of privacy, before you embrace DuckDuckGo as a "good guy" and Google as a "bad guy", please be aware of a more-or-less universal truth: you are a good guy, until you become big.

After all, Google's motto is "don't be evil". I think it's a bit naive to compare DuckDuckGo to Google at this point in time, where they have different statuses.

Yes, we can compare. Doesn't matter if Google is old and DDG is young. It does not change the fact that people have a need for good privacy terms and in this case, privacy is THE feature that DDG is offering.

But to follow up on his point, if DDG were ever to become Google's size they would have little choice but to abandon their privacy approach as well... it's just not possible to make a profitable search engine with competitive quality without machine learning algorithms that use user data.

It's simple.

For brute force 'rgrep /internet' google has the scale and the technology to be way ahead of everybody else. But when I already know roughly what I want will exist, I apply duckduckgo.com, because they're less raw processing and more intelligently automated quasi-curation.

Agreed. I use DDG as my default search engine, because most of the time my searches are for the form "find me the web site for X" where X is a thing in the world. I fall back to Google when DDG doesn't give me the result I need (rare, but it happens) and when I need to learn about a concept. For those amorphous "tell me about X" queries, Google is unmatched.

I think speed is a pretty big issue, too. I can't bring myself to use DDG for really quick searches, for URLs I can't remember etc. because it's just not fast enough. DDG makes me wait between 5 and 10 seconds before I see anything, whereas Google is almost instant.

I love DuckDuckGo, even if a good half of my searches end up beginning with !g.

Love the bang syntax for site-specific searching. I have set up my browser before to do this, but now it's far more convenient to just set my browser's default engine to DDG and !bang syntax search.

Google has provided this for years with the "site:" feature (e.g. search for "lists site:python.org"). In addition, Google uses its own results, since as the article correctly mentions "most site’s internal search engines suck".

> Google has provided this for years with the "site:" feature

Which is something completely different, and is also something present in DuckDuckGo.

But chrome and firefox provide it for years, without giving up your queries to a 3rd party search engine.

In this context, all search engines are "3rd party".

If you want to search amazon, or the python website, why give your query to ddg? Especially if you don't have to when you use browser keywords.

In a word: curation.

Amazon is probably always going to be the most relevant search engine for their site, but the current choice for python searches may not be.

An example similar to python but that I have first hand experience with is Perl's CPAN searches. There are two search engines for CPAN, http://search.cpan.org and http://metacpan.org. DDG's !cpan originally defaulted to the first one, but at the time it's results were not as accurate or informative as the second one. Upon appeal the DDG people switched the default to http://metacpan.org providing everyone who used the !cpan results with what they felt was a better result.

"site:" query in Google searches Google index and filters results by domain name, while DDG actually delegates to the actual site and uses the site's search engine, which very rarely is of an acceptable quality.

These are good points, though I think ddg really shines in it's focus on the query, and not trying to be too clever.

Google tends to put too much weight on regional proximity and browser language settings, sacrificing the relevance to the query. I guess their approach works for a majority of people and queries, but there are so many times it just feels wrong.

E.g. on a simple query : http://imgur.com/ezKUm (I am located in France, so french results come first. the two windows are in incognito mode for fairness, it's worse when logged in)

I've been using ddg as my default choice for about 7 months now.

They have really improved in the last 3-4 months. The results related to programming are better than googles (imo).

"I certainly don’t mind a search engine using my previous search history to help me find better content."

I actually do. This, in fact, is a form of control over the information you get. Since I do not like that, I stick with DDG despite all the inconveniences.

Google should give people a way to opt out of the bubble.

> Google should give people a way to opt out of the bubble.

Just sign out and clear your cookie every so often, or use an incognito window.

I also use DuckDuckGo on a daily basis and it's great. Far better than google in my opinion. And how, with DuckDuckHack, it will only get better...

I like DDG and I'm using it for more than 6 months, and will never go back to google.

For me, just couple of queries was enough to see that results were bad.

Back in 1998/9 I was Director of IT of a tech company in the valley. IT, as always, was resposible for deploying all corp machines with the std image.

I was following what was happening in the valley at the time - and everyone used Yahoo!.

I went through and replaced all browser homes with the new and scrappy Google.com as the main search page.

I deployed this on all new machines as well, and I educated users on why this new, minimal site was better.

They ALL started using Google from that point on (~400 employees)


This is the same thing that needs to happen here.

Get an IT manager to set the default page to DDG and educate the users.

(CAVEAT! -- users are far more informed now than then, back then people hardly understood the internet's potential, let alone WTF a search co was -- so telling the avg user "google is bad, DDG good" will be more challenging than then...)

The problem is that Google came out and destroyed everyone in terms of search results relevance. Duck Duck Go won't steal the market until it does search better. The average joe that will cause the shift doesn't care if Google is tracing their history to target ads at them, and doesn't realize that information snooping is a slippery slope.

While i'm a big fan of privacy. I think DDG's biggest advantage over G is the lack of bubble. Which gives users better Results.

Us techier people knows that it's a more complicated, but there's no need to bother users with grey areas. "I upgraded the Search Engine for everyone, it's a bit better now"

Google changes so much these days that most users wont notice it's not G anymore.

Google is better only with ads turned off. Otherwise DDG and Bing beat Google's ads anytime. Try surfing Google without an ad blocker to see what I'm talking about, they've gone way over what's acceptable.

Either way I go the extra mile to give the underdog a chance.

Google has gone so far over the line with ads it's ridiculous. I didn't even realize it until recently when I disabled my ad blocker for a moment.

I'm amazed Googlers can look at that every day at work and not feel like their company has lost it's way.

Just checked it now with ad blocker off on my 13" macbook air screen. The organic results are barely above the fold... barely. Offensive.

I don't use AdBlock and I haven't consciously noticed an ad in a long time. In fact, I'm having a hard time finding queries with an ad at the top at all.

My reliable go-to query for maximum ads is [electric heaters].

[Credut cards]

To be fair though, most people asking queries like this actually do want ads!

The one query that literally ALWAYS has lots of ads is 'flowers'. The query that always has product ads is 'dslr'

Care to post a screenshot? I just disabled AdBlock and looks legitimately the same.

Here we go.

Original - http://imgur.com/AGM7I

Ad-blocked - http://imgur.com/Sj7pe

This is from my laptop screen. The first non-ad result is barely visible on the top fold of the page.

Thanks to that key word goes to zach from a comment in this thread. The results are pretty astonishing. I'm disappointed on barely how little visual difference exist between an ad and a legitimate result.

It is a commercial query though, organic results are often less relevant.

;) Google decided that companies that pay them more (between price per click and CPM) are more relevant? Color me surprised. Google is also on a jihad against extremely useful sites that do things like price comparison and reviews. Guess why?

Ad placement also depends on quality: http://support.google.com/adwords/bin/answer.py?hl=en&an...

Ad placement, within the ad boxes, is partially determined by a "Quality Score". Actual placement depends on (quality score x bid).

There's a lot more to it than that. If somebody clicks your ad and then peel out within a few seconds then obviously your ad didn't do anything for them so the next time somebody clicks, your price goes up. Pretty soon you write a better ad. I know it isn't popular to say this but sometimes when I'm looking for a product to buy, ads are relevant. And the better the ad the more I appreciate it.

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