What is PrivacyWall?

What is PrivacyWall?

I recently noticed a new search engine, PrivacyWall, which came to fame when it unexpectedly won placement in many European countries during Android’s Choice Screen Auction, along side better known rivals Bing and DuckDuckGo. It was surprising to see such a small name being able to secure placement alongside such large names, so I decided to do some digging to learn more.

PrivacyWall deems it self a privacy oriented search engine similar to more well known rival DuckDuckGo. There are a few points of differentiation, as I did not see a single ad show up on PW during my run throughs.

Who runs PrivacyWall?

PrivacyWall is run by Jonathan Wu according to QZ.com. Prior to launching the search engine, he ran a startup called Social Game Media. In fact, PrivacyWall’s FAQ page makes reference to this–calling itself a division. While the company is incorporated in Puerto Rico, Social Game Media appears to be operationally based in Silicon Valley.

Captured 10/19/20, PrivacyWall a division of Social Game Media

Does PrivacyWall have it’s own search engine?

No, the results appear to match Bing search results. Bing offers a very easy to use search engine API that allows startup to offer their own branded search. I checked a view results and they were almost identical to Bing’s results. Occasionally there were some differences, but I think it was mostly due to the little modals and cards that clutter Bing results.

In general, the results are very usable. I don’t know how to test how true their anti-tracking mantra is, but they seem to have minimal cookies and there were no 3rd party trackers that I could identify.

The top results on this common search match Bing perfectly. Google’s results on this same search (not pictured) diverge substantially, as Twitter is ranked #2, KWWBeauty #4 and E! doesn’t rank at all on the first page.

How do you get your website added to the search engine results?

It seems like you need to appear in Bing to be able to be visible. If you are having issues, open a ticket with Bing. I’ve done it before and they actually respond to you.

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