Scroogle, Privacy-First Search Engine, Shuts Down for Good

(Gerard Paardekam via Virginia Mataix)

(Gerard Paardekam via Virginia Mataix)

Scroogle, the search engine operated by privacy militant and self-appointed Wikipedia watchdog Daniel Brandt, has folded for real. After enduring DDOS attacks “around the clock” that sent a flood of unsustainable traffic to his servers, Mr. Brandt took down the search engine along with his other four domains,, and His theory is that he was being attacked by hackers with a personal vendetta. Read More

shameless rumormongering

Rumors & Acquisitions: Kerfuffles Edition


FROM RUSSIA WITH CAPITAL. Once upon a time Betabeat reported that RTP Ventures, the $750 $700 million Russia-based fund, was establishing a U.S. office with venture capitalist Kirill Sheynkman based in New York. Less than five months later, sources say the fund will no longer be a one-man show. If all goes according to plan, RTP will be bringing on two splashy-name hires in the next month to six weeks, we’re told.

GO IPO YOURSELF. A young coworker in our newsroom has quit Facebook, she says, because she doesn’t want the company and its shareholders making bank off her data in an IPO. And she’s not the only one! When she told a friend, the friend said she’d done the same thing for the same reason. Just one more and it makes a trend! Meanwhile, that high school senior who wrote a florid New York Post editorial which said, among other things, that “Lost in the hype of the company’s stock-market debut this year is that while Facebook is ubiquitous, it may also be a fad,” merely quit because the site was making him feel bad. Read More

David vs. Googliath

Scroogle May Have Been a Victim of Hackers, Not Google


The plot thickens! Yesterday we wrote about Scroogle, a nonprofit search engine that delivers Google results to a user without also collecting information for Google as the same time. Scroogle has been down for two days now, and an error page points a finger at the GOOG. “Google treats Scroogle like a bot because they see the traffic from our IP addresses as higher than normal,” the message says. “Searching Google with a bot is against Google’s terms of service, but Scroogle users are not bots. Is it ‘Terms of Service’ for Google, or is it ‘Terms of Monopoly’?”

Google says it did not target Scroogle specifically, but acknowledge Scroogle could have tripped a censor. “We do have automated systems to deter scraping or excessive queries to Google, and spikes in query traffic can cause issues for some sites,” a spokesman said in an email.

But now a tipster writes in with an image of a private forum post that appears to be written by Daniel Brandt, the militant privacy advocate who created the Scroogle engine as well as the sites Google Watch and Wikipedia Watch. There is no way to confirm the authenticity of the post, and Mr. Brandt has not responded to an email request for comment. Take what follows with a giant grain of salt. Read More

David vs. Googliath

Did Google Just Disable Privacy-Friendly Scroogle? [UPDATED]


UPDATE: Google says it did not target Scroogle specifically. “We do have automated systems to deter scraping or excessive queries to Google, and spikes in query traffic can cause issues for some sites,” a spokesman said in an email.

Not long ago, Google changed its privacy policy to give itself more liberties with user data. Every time a major Internet company gets media attention for privacy issues, search volume goes way up on Scroogle, a little independent, nonprofit search engine. Scroogle scrapes its search results from Google, but it shields a user’s real IP address and prevents Google from setting a cookie, making it impossible for Google to tell which searches are from the same person; it also does not show ads. But today, the 11-year-old service stopped working. Read More