Most people I know try to buy local and buy from independent shops. Not necessarily for all things, but just sometimes. It helps strengthen local communities, and give viable alternatives to the likes of Wal-Mart, Amazon, and McDonalds. Buying from independent stores works very well in some contexts. A good example is Record Store Day, which helps independent stores survive.
Interestingly enough, this offline behavior doesn’t seem to translate very well into online behavior. Most people, including myself, tend to use the big online vendors like Google and Amazon.
Try DuckDuckGo Or Blekko Sometimes
I recently tried to imitate my offline behavior online. It does not really makes sense to talk about local in online contexts, but it does make sense to distinguish between monopolists and startups.
So for the last couple of weeks, I have been doing most of my queries (and all my high-value queries such as ecommerce) on DuckDuckGo instead of Google. Based on this limited experience, the results are just as good and relevant as Google’s. One caveat is that DuckDuckGo doesnt have its own image search – a bit annoying when looking for products.
Why Use Smaller Search Engines
There are at least three good reasons to use small search engines every now and then:
- It helps them improve. Search engines desperately need user data such a queries and behavior data to improve algorithm and results.
- It helps them survive. Without having too much knowledge about search engine startups’ financial situation, I do know that crawling and indexing the web is expensive. I am pretty sure new search engines can need the advertisement revenue.
- It reduces Google’s monopoly. Don’t get me wrong, I like Google (and even have a few Google shares). They do many good things. But as both the EU and US are starting to realize, they also use monopoly powers for less-than-good-things. Spreading searches across several search engines is good for everyone in the long run.
I try to buy from independent shops often. But let’s be honest here: I also go to Starbucks every now ans then. So I am not arguing any strict religion here – merely that diversity is good. So use search engines as DuckDuckGo and Blekko. At least sometimes.
Ps. All research for this post has been done via DuckDuckGo. Very pleasant to do a search and get some plain links in return.