DuckDuckGo slams Google’s Android search engine auction

According to the results of Google’s most recent default search engine auction, Microsoft’s Bing search engine has beaten out a competitor. From now on, DuckDuckGo will now be offered as an option for Android users during setup in select European countries. Previously it was the most frequently offered alternative. It slammed Google’s auction process as pay to play.

DuckDuckGo wrote in a blog post published “This EU antitrust remedy is only serving to further strengthen Google’s dominance in mobile search by boxing out alternative search engines that consumers want to use and, for those search engines that remain, taking most of their profits from the preference menu. The auction model is fundamentally flawed and must be replaced.”

It should be noted that Google hosts the auctions in response to a landmark antitrust ruling by the European Union in 2018. Eventually, the ruling fined the most dominant search engine a record-breaking €4.3 billion (US $5 billion) after finding Google was illegally tying its Chrome browser and Google Search tools to the Android operating system in various ways.

If you set up a new Android phone purchased in a European Union member state, Google now displays four search engine options randomly on a per device basis. However, the displayed search engines depend on companies bidding against one another for a right to appear in the list based on how much they are willing to pay Google each time a user selects their respective platform.

DuckDuckGo said, “We have been priced out of this auction because we choose to not maximize our profits by exploiting our users.”

DuckDuckGo slams Google’s Android search engine auction
DuckDuckGo slams Google’s Android search engine auction

Just to let you know, the auction was held quarterly, with the results of the first one taking effect in March. The results of the recent auction will take effect for the months of October to December. Some of the winners are Bing, existing in 13 countries, DuckDuckGo existing in 8 countries, existing in 31 countries, GMX existing in 16 countries, PrivacyWall existing in 22 countries, and Yandex existing in 8 countries.

The company said “This auction format incentivizes bidders to bid what they can expect to profit per user selection. The long-term result is that the participating Google alternatives must give most of their preference menu profits to Google,” the company’s blog post reads. “Google’s auction further incentivizes search engines to be worse on privacy, to increase ads, and to not donate to good causes, because, if they do those things, then they could afford to bid higher.”

DuckDuckGo failed to win more than eight countries after winning back to back in the past few auctions. After the result, the company criticized the process as an inherently unfair ploy to appease European regulators and not a legitimate way to increase search engine competition.

DuckDuckGo further said it was “priced out of this auction because we choose to not maximize our profits by exploiting our users.” In simple words, this means, it makes less money per search and is, therefore, unable to bid as much as fellow rivals in the search engine business.