Google's tiny, pugnacious search rival DuckDuckGo is using advertising to warn people about advertising. It bought a billboard in L.A. for a cool $7,000 and posted this anatidaephobic ad that says, "Google tracks you. We don't." The issue, says DuckDuckGo founder, coder and sole employee Gabriel Weinberg, is that Google sends along your search query to the sites you visit. That means advertisers and other unsavory people will know you got there by searching "transvestite cuties." I use that example because I'm guessing the objection is that amoral advertisers could find out about your penchants and use them against you. Sometimes I think people overestimate how much marketers and advertisers care about their personal lives. I'm not saying they don't care. It's just that they care about really specific things, which, in the case of all the brands I know, aren't salacious or even mildly interesting to anyone else. Besides, Google only sends information about the specific search that led you a site. You can type "goat sex" 80 times into Google, but when you search for "cool watches" and land on Tokyo Flash's site, Google only tells Tokyo Flash that you searched for "cool watches." It doesn't mention goat sex or that other search you did on monkeys who drink their own pee. And even if it did, Tokyo Flash won't embarrass you by buying up BillHendersonLikesGoatSex.com. Still, DuckDuckGo's queries have jumped to about 5 million a month after getting some attention for its lack of tracking. Can somebody please tell America that advertisers don't wake up in the morning and perv-search terms in order to start some office betting pool on who you'll be dating next? That's what Mark Zuckerberg does.
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