A reader contacted me with a question about a pitch she’d received for a product.

“Every day something like the following comes in email. how do I make sense of what is authentic and what isn’t? Sometimes it seems like a person is attempting to get their product launched. Wouldn’t Google, etc., know about such apps and work around them?

Also, why are seemingly non-professional names adopted for a product that purports to protect personal privacy.”

Here’s a screenshot of the email she received. It’s an ad from the folks behind the DuckDuckGo search engine for the revamped version of their browser extension and app.

duck-go.jpg

Great question. First, let’s talk about the unprofessional name. How professional did the name Google or Yahoo! sound? Or Apple? Those names only sound professional now because they’ve been around for a long time. And DuckDuckGo has actually been on the scene for almost a decade. They are definitely a legitimate search engine. Back in the WorldStart days, we mentioned them in several articles, but it’s probably a good time to take another look at them.

As to how to determine the legitimacy of products, one word: RESEARCH. Instead of clicking on the email, open up your browser and do a little looking. Check out sites you trust (Like Cyn’s Tech Tips).  Look for user reviews. Even something as simple as checking Wikipedia can turn up results.

duck-go-wicki.jpg

Your question about Google working around the app is interesting.  When you search with Google or use Gmail they track your searches, save words you’ve used, and even keep track of the words you use in your emails in order to target advertising to you. You give them permission to do that whenever you use their services. But if you were using the DuckDuckGo search engine on Firefox browser, you haven’t given Google permission to access that information. Accessing that information without your permission would be illegal.