Singapore company Ahrefs, founded by Ukrainian Dmytro Herasymenko and famous for its platform of search engine optimization, is going to invest $60 million in its own search engine Yep. This was reported by TechCrunch. The main difference of the new search engine should be the distribution of profits from advertising that will appear in search results. Ahrefs promises to give 90% to content creators.

Modern search engines, such as Google and Bing, are the entry points for most Internet users. They organize a lot of information into a clear structure and try to provide answers to questions, gaining a huge audience and, accordingly, advertising revenue. Search engines share traffic with content creators, but not their profits.

“Let’s say that the biggest search engine in the world makes $100B a year. Now, imagine if they gave $90B to content creators and publishers,” Ahrefs told TechCrunch. “Wikipedia would probably earn a few billion dollars a year from its content. They’d be able to stop asking for donations and start paying the people who polish their articles a decent salary.”

Dmytro Herasymenko's Ahrefs to invest $60 mln in their own search engine, promising to give 90% of advertising profit to content creators
It is well known to all content authors that it is not cheap, even if you write a post in your own blog, you are wasting time and therefore money. Of course, it would be great to get paid for content from search engines, including Yep, but users still need to see the benefits. Ahrefs plans to focus not only on algorithms for relevant issuance but also on user privacy.

“Creators who make search results possible deserve to receive payments for their work. We saw how YouTube’s profit-sharing model made the whole video-making industry thrive. Splitting advertising profits 90/10 with content authors, we want to give a push towards treating talent fairly in the search industry,” says Ahrefs founder and CEO, Dmytro Herasymenko, and continues to make the point that his search engine is meant to be heavily privacy-forward. “We do save certain data on searches, but never in a personally identifiable way. For example, we will track how many times a word is searched for and the position of the link getting the most clicks. But we won’t create your profile for targeted advertising.”

The company decided to spin up its own data centers. It claims it has more than 1,000 servers already spun up, storing more than 100 petabytes of data. It’s an extraordinary choice, given that cloud-based solutions are usually more flexible, but Gerasymenko claims that they are much more expensive for such extensive infrastructure, with a goal of hundreds or thousands of high-end servers running under full load 24/7.

“Privacy is a concern for many search engine users around the world. In Ukraine, this percentage is lower, but I think the war will also adjust the attitude toward cybersecurity and the privacy of personal data. We have opened the first data center in Singapore to be able to securely process search data and avoid the need to involve third parties in the data processing”, Dariia Samokish, Head of Public Relations at Ahrefs comments to Mezha.Media.

Dmytro Herasymenko's Ahrefs to invest $60 mln in their own search engine, promising to give 90% of advertising profit to content creators

Yep users in Ukraine will have to wait as the main focus after launching the search engine will be the English version. Ahrefs explains that this is also due to the company’s existing index tools and crawler. That is, the first, due to technical issues, will be better supported in the languages with which the company has worked for the past 12 years. Even though the search engine interface does not have Ukrainian, it can process search queries in Ukrainian. So we will wait for full support.

“Given the development of Ukrainian content over the past 8 years, Ukrainian creators will have many chances to monetize their content. A full-scale Russian invasion distracts Ukrainian audiences from consuming a Russian-language product and gives impetus to the development of Ukrainian Wikipedia, as well as educational and entertainment content. The opportunity to make money on content is a story that got successful on YouTube. Now there will be such an opportunity in the search engine as well”, Dariia Samokish hopes.