- Jan. 1, 2021
-- Lynn Bentley, Knobull's President announced, "Our academic search engine will have a different future when our business model develops further. Knobull has focused heavily on user privacy, including but not limited to, publicly refusing to track users."
It is very much in line with this "privacy first" position that several leading sites have by choosing not to make money from advertising, which involves exposing customer usage data to third parties. Instead, it will simply provide secure services to privacy-conscious students. By not following Google's footsteps, Knobull does not have to engage with the search giant on its terms.
When Bing was launched, it had features Google did not have at that time. This included a "hover preview" of search results as well as a specialization of sorts in travel, shopping, local businesses, and health searches. In terms of quality of search results, Microsoft's claimed similar or better output to Google's.
This aspect of search engine history plays in favor of companies like Knobull, which does not need to differentiate itself from Google. In fact, Knobull's academic search results need to be "just good enough" to be adopted by 5 % of the student user market. Because Knobull is the only one in this industry segment that filters out commercial results and promotes security, they are carving out a totally new niche.
The Knobull customer base is a coveted one thanks to its better than average buying power, and by making it easier for users to avoid search ads, Knobull might just create a shift in the advertising industry as a whole. Bentley continued, "In addition, we plan become Affiliated with companies like Amazon and Walmart to earn commissions on their products sold via links on our Resources page. Like another privacy first search engine DuckDuckGo, this will be an attractive source of revenue."
Bentley concluded, "Google's dominance on internet search will not come to an end with our entry into the foray, but it would definitely weaken in the face of increasing consumer preference for privacy. Given that Google's business model differs dramatically from ours, it is likely that the search giant would have to learn to uncomfortably live with its rival's search engine instead of pivoting to compete with it head on."