This morning I received the following email.
I hope all is well. I’m Chris – CMO at Startpage and I came across your Privacy Browser as I was looking into F-Droid.
I saw Startpage on the screenshots on https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.stoutner.privacybrowser.standard
I assume you’re a fan and wanted to reach out to hear what you think of Startpage and how it is currently integrated in Privacy Browser.
If possible I would like to help you in monetizing the searches coming to Startpage from Privacy Browser.
I look forward hearing from you.
All the best, Chris
Privacy Browser will never monetize the default search engine for the following two reasons.
If the search engine is monetized, decisions about the search engine are no longer made in the best interest of the users
I currently select the list of search engines included in the browser, and the default search engine and homepage, based on what I consider to be best for users. You can read the rational for switching to Startpage as part of the 3.2 release. As noted in that post, there are things I don’t like about Startpage, and it is likely I will switch to something else in the future if I can find something better.
But if I formed a financial relationship with Startpage, that would unduly influence any decision to switch to a different default search engine in the future. Instead of making the decision based on the best interests of the users, it would be made on which search engine offered the most money.
Once you monetize the search engine, there is a huge incentive to not block privacy invasions
Mozilla makes almost all their money by monetizing the default search engine in Firefox. In 2018 they made $435 million. Do you think search engines would be willing to pay them that much money if they couldn’t track what individual users are searching for? For example, if I responded to the email above expressing interest in receiving money for using Startpage as the default search engine, do you think they would be OK with me continuing to block their trackers?
This corrupt relationship between search engines and browsers is the primary reason why I started development of Privacy Browser. There is no chance that I will ever monetize the default search engine, no matter how much money they offer.