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Presearch engine - The review!
We bring some different news as well as offer a possible resolution to our previous posting about the "Google/YouTube Monopoly" as we pointed out a few blogs back. There is a new search engine in town that is called Presearch. This search engine unlike others such as DuckDuckGo is instead of it being a privately run organization that profits off of the baseline search keywords and advertisement revenue all surrounding their blockchain. Which they claim is decentralized searching but is still privately run and profits from your searches through advertisers! Presearch actually rewards you back by giving out its own cryptocurrency known as "PRE" which gives off the vibe of fake Microsoft Bing Currency except they give off the hope of "cashing out for real money!"
Read on if you wish to see our diatribes.
The classic playbook for most startups on the internet goes like this:
- Identify an enemy for being old and too big like Google.
- Position your product as something new, exciting, and liberating from those practices.
- Finally, provide only a basic structure that an open-source product could provide the illusion of something different while setting up a blockchain with ridiculous hype to have hordes of people throw real money at you.
The image above is right off of their Presearch.io website which talks about their company as a whole.
When you look at their advertisements they use a lot of marketing catchphrases that make people like us run for the hills like "blockchain" and "Decentralized." But what interests us is their tech and that they too have come to the same conclusion that the search engine world is a Google monopoly which we do agree upon.
Their description actually bothers us greatly. In order to explain why we have to break down their slogans a bit.
Misleading terminology is misleading.
Presearch is a Decentralized Search Engine.
As we've discussed (or lack of better words ranted) in our past blog our website is a centralized model. Presearch at its core IS CENTRALIZED! You can't simply download some code off of git-hub / docker and start up your own virtual private server with special domain name-calling yourself a part of the "Presearch Federated Instance." where people can log in to your server and start searching away. As an end-user, you type in a domain and it takes you to a predetermined website which leads you right to presearch.org.
Now it's more accurate to say that Presearch USES a decentralized network model to its advantage based on a group of volunteers for node collection and data. Doesn't slip off the tongue in marketing lingo now, does it?
But to say the Presearch IS decentralized is inherently wrong. Presearch is not Mastodon, and Presearch is not Peertube. YaCy is actually a legit search engine that is Decentralized and it's certainly not Presearch! OR even SearX search engine which has a downloadable source and if you host this locally on a VPS instead of a node you get all of the benefits (and security faults)to privacy just like what PreSearch would give you. In fact, we feel that Presearch is just SearX with a new coat of paint.
There is no 'search' to download. Although the data collection is distributed. You can download the node software and if you stake 1000PRE (currently at the time is around 200+ USD) you can begin earning rewards by hosting a node on your own VPS. But that's not quite the same as stating your platform is ENTIRELY decentralized!
There is ultimately a deciding board of individuals that manifests destiny over the entire service. Thus from a business standpoint as well as a domain standpoint Presearch is a centralized model! Presearch can't even use the excuse that their servers are clustered justifying the excuse to use the term "Decentralized" because guess what? Every major company does that too! You minus well say Amazon AWS is "Decentralized" if you use that excuse.
The bottom line is if the *.presearch.* domain is destroyed. If all of the staff just up and quit. If the place shuts down. That's it! No more Presearch! Which is a classic characteristic of centralization. And without a Presearch engine; What is the point of the PRE blockchain? It would probably be nullified on the markets within minutes after they shut down.
Search privately, -
Going to stop this slogan right there. We want you the reader to read on-wards to our Image Search section to really begin to question Presearch's statement if searching with them really keeps your privacy in check.
Let's first dive into the existence of this website and ask ourselves the question:
What does it do? How well does it do it?
What it does is it's a search engine similar to DuckDuckGo in respects that it aggregates other search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo to just name a few within the index and also adds information from other sites such as Wikipedia, Amazon, and more to sort of giving you a definitive database of all of the search engines rolled into one. It does this by using what they call "Nodes" which are participants in what they describe as a "Decentralized Network" to look for this data and then report back to you the end-user.
To answer the question "How well does it do it?" we shall subject Presearch to the same tests we subjected other engines during our YouTube/Google Monopoly blog just to see if this site is shilling for Google-like DuckDuckGo was doing to us in the past. By typing in our domain name with quotes we get to see how it decides to show us the information.
General search test:
So right away the first annoyance that we see is the "Ad" always appearing every time you search for something with Presearch. This is called "Keyword Staking" which is an advertisement technique Google has been using and in turn has made it into a 160 million dollar empire as a result of it. It's part of how Presearch makes its money. However, it should be noted that this can be distracting and in the future could be downright problematic with the service as a nefarious site could stack keywords into this and guide people over to some awful/dangerous websites. Looking at Presearche's roadmap they are aware that this level of abuse may happen and will work towards a method of countering it. However, it's still possible to mislead someone with Keyword staking as a whole.
Outside of that, it gives a rather basic view of my site without really looking at the sitemap tree directories like we normally see with DuckDuckGo, Google, Bing, etc.
Notes about Ads / Keyword staking:
Unlike other models such as Google AdWords you simply 'stake' the keyword that you wish to use with a minimum of 1000 PRE (Which at the time of this writing is around $200 USD) and you're good. No pay-per-click or anything like that. In a bizarre sense, it's a lot like depositing money into an account that gives no interest except for clicks to your site. If someone pays more than you for the keyboard that you staked then you could either up the stake to counter them or simply un-stake it. Taking your 1000 PRE back into your account. So in a sense, the method that Presearch is using to make money is they effectively want you to HOLD your crypto and profit off of its interest in the hopes that the blockchain will naturally increase in value like Bitcoin. Interesting move. Not sure about the longevity of the project with a business model like that but what do we know? We're just bloggers!
Just like DuckDuckGo; Presearch does appear to be Tor/Onion Friendly by not throwing bot-check tools or ask you a billion questions to use their service. We would certainly not recommend logging into your Presearch account with Tor/Onion. But for general search engine use, it seems perfectly fine!
Image search mode:
All of the images show up however the quality of the previews is absolute garbage. Perhaps Presearch is doing some massive compression to save bandwidth and thus we smash that "F12" button and head right over to our "Network" tab within our favorite browser and Hoooo Boy.
This is bad for a search engine on several levels.
For starters, you see all of the images are coming from Gstatic (google) or bing.net. This is an act known as "hot-linking" and it's bad net etiquette. For those who are new to this. Hot-linking is taking images that are being hosted off of one person's site and then pasting them onto your site to give the illusion that it's your data while not taking the sacrifice of using your bandwidth. Now I'm sure there are readers that are sitting there thinking.
Who cares! Google and Bing can afford the bandwidth. Screw them!
Which Segways right into the next problem of hot-linking which is "privacy". Remember their slogan from the start of this blog article?
Search privately, -
Yeah, we're getting back to that now.
Now Google a long time ago realized that people were using ad-blockers and Java script-blockers to stop Google from collecting the data that they so desperately wanted. This is where Google decided to come up with a plan; That Google doesn't need to send complicated scripts to the clients to collect data about their browsers, search history, etc. We can simply send them an image and then back-trace that through our website logs to determine what browser a user is using, what OS, and their geographical location based on IP address reversal.
Anyone who runs Nginx or Apache websites can tell you there's a LOT of information stored in the /var/log/ folder of their VPS and that's just using off-the-shelf open-source programming. Not many admins take the time to set up a CRON job to periodically clear those logs out either.
So in essence; Presearch is wrong about privacy too!
We did ask the Presearch telegram community about this glaring issue, and after several attempts, we were answered by Trey Grainger who apparently is the Presearch CTO (Chief Technical Officer).
Yes. We have a new UI coming in in the coming weeks that includes a new image cache for site icons (favicons) on all search results and a new source icons on news results. Once we've proven this out robustly at scale then we'll follow on the subsequent project to also include all remaining image on the site (other thumbnails, image search results). - Trey Grainger (Presearch CTO)
Makes sense about the site icons as those are the smallest and easiest to work with before tackling a larger scale such as images and video thumbnails. Unfortunately, there's no ETA about the glaring issues dealing with image searches.
In an effort to stay true to what we have just written. That the privacy and ethical issues are true to only Presearch. We ran the same analysis again on all of the other search engines. The major ones, Bing, Google, and even DuckDuckGo host their own images. So in order for Presearch to be taken seriously in the world of search engines. Presearch needs to protect the privacy of those who legitimately use their service.
Video search mode:
The video results are probably the most interesting to us the blogger. Because they allocate information from all of the search engines Presearch does what DuckDuckGo cannot by actually including the videos that we host right here at s-config.com. The interesting thing about Presearch is how it tries to break up the monotony of going to simply my site by alternating between YouTube articles and my site. If you choose a wider category beyond my domain and ask for "PeerTube" for example it tends to alternate a lot between more sites such as YouTube and other PeerTube instances.
Unfortunately, just like what we discovered in the images category Presearch is once again hotlinking video thumbnails from other sites. So no need to really explain again. But it's certainly a no-no!
Regardless if you jump into Presearch Community telegram or the Presearch Nodes telegram there is one thing that we have to say.
Holy hell! There's a lot of thirsty people! - S
What we mean by this is that the PRE cryptocurrency is based on a publicly tradable blockchain. This attracts a hoard of people that care almost nothing about the Presearch project in making a new search engine and in turn a better internet, But instead, a bunch of sleaze-bag investors that either want to throw money at something they know nothing about or want to play with PRE like the stock market and hard-trade as fast as possible. This makes me want to quit their telegram service so badly!
We suppose this is what it looks like when you decide your business model is based on a publicly tradable cryptocurrency. Every publicly accessible outlet of your company gets flooded with the ugly side of the business. I want money! I need money! Give me money now!
This totally loses sight of why Presearch even exists. It just attracts a level of hell that blocks out the sun towards progress to what your actual product is supposed to represent. This is why we are blogging right here. Because we addressed some of the topics mentioned above such as the image hot-linking program and they were blocked out by a deluge of users asking hard-hitting questions.
Where do find free VPS to make money hosting Presearch nodes?
How to buy PRE!?
Guess reading the website is a little too hard for them.
Need to withdraw now! Give me money! OMG ANSWER ME NAAOOOOW!!!
Yeah. multiply those responses times 100 and that covers Presearch's telegram support system. Which in retrospect AND sadly is THE BEST support system out of ALL of the search engines to date! Because at least there are admins and mods that TRY to answer these hard-hitting investment questions! As Bing gave a blanket response on how the crawl data and DuckDuckGo use Reddit which violates privacy hard-core! Ask a question on DuckDuckGo core functionality and get ignored. Google? Where do we even start? But sadly this starts to nosedive very quickly.
The telegram support administration.
We had the opportunity for one of the admins to slide into our private messages in Telegram. Seriously asking about wanting to invest and how we're going to do it. They were coming at me like some salesperson wanting to close a deal within seconds. Don't think just pay now! This is one of the admins of their telegram claiming to be a team member of Presearch BTW, not some rando.
When we addressed some of the concerns about this search engine itself the "admin" seemed completely baffled as to why we would even care about such things. Even questioning why we even joined their telegram session. He continued asking about wallet and crypto information which we were completely unwilling to provide. After which he immediately deleted the conversation. Now, if we had to address the Presearch core team on this we would probably tell them that it's probably a bad idea to have your moderators using a platform where they can say whatever crazy shit they want and then delete it after. That they really should be keeping communications on something more traceable such as a support chat system or e-mail so they can hold your employees accountable. Or, your website! We're just thinking "outside the box" here with our revolutionary ideas like you are!
The telegram spam is real.
It didn't take very long for the crypto vultures to come out of the woodwork and start auto-inviting people into their scam channels when joining Presearch. We are getting about 2-3 groups a week from Presearch branching off into other channels to try to harvest the insane amount of money that what feels like thousands of people are handing over to this service without thinking a whole lot about it. How this organization hasn't really explained how they're going to be the 'next Google' with their blockchain. So when you think about it that way can you really blame these people for scamming the end-user out of even more money?
Since we're on the subject let's talk about the two ways a person makes money on this system. The very subject that %95 of the interest on telegram is focused on and what Presearch describes in their own words is the heart of their ecosystem which is their cryptocurrency. Not the search engine.
We're starting to see where the attitude of the telegram mods is being developed here.
Long story short their crypto is based on Ethereum.
But saying it's based on an expensive backend successful blockchain does not make you money it at least gives you an idea of what we are working with! Now, we have to go into the two ways they advertise how people make money with their software.
Making money client-side.
If you log in and give them some basic information about yourself. Like Microsoft Bing, you can start earning points for your searches or in this case their proprietary PRE crypto. About 0.10 per search or approximately 2 cents per search.
Now you're thinking,
Wow, this could add up quickly.
Except there is one caveat to this policy. Which is in order to cash out to USD, OR use PRE for search word staking, OR use PRE for your node you must have a minimum of 1000PRE. Each PRE must be 'eligible' tokens that can be transferred meaning you can't simply spam the search button for free rewards. There's really no explanation as to how they combat fraud beyond this supposed Reward Verification System that will go away and be replaced with something else. We're not sure!
So! Let's do the math.
Using Google's metric that the average search performs anywhere from 3-4 searches a day. Let's round up to 4 to give the benefit of the doubt. This will mean if that individual searched every day for an entire year it would total around 146PRE or $29.20(USD)
In approximately 7 years. You the lucky client can finally cash out your PRE into approximately $ 200 USD before service transfer fees. This is all under today's market standards! On the bright side at roughly 29 bucks a year, this is just under double how much Google values each person's search metric data. Of course, we are using today's market blockchain values at 0.20 USD per 1PRE which could vanish if the blockchain corrupts or goes bankrupt within a 7-year time frame.
Now Presearch limits the number of reward searches to 30 a day which is almost ten times what the average person searches for.
So, provided that you type in natural searches (Or violate their ToS and make a bot that can randomize it's clicking based on heat-map randomization as well as key-word randomization based on Google news article keywords on top of time staggering within your script to make the life of their Reward Verification System incredibly difficult. coupled with using a VPN from random providers so that Presearch cannot determine that the attack is coming from one IP so that the attacker could use multiple accounts on different Raspberry pi's all at the same time) At the very maximum for just one script running it will take you 334 days to finally hit 1000PRE to cash out.
Bottom line, there's going to be no regular person that's going to cash out this way!
Running Presearch as a Node on your VPS and getting paid for it!
In the casino industry, there is a term for finding people phat with cash and attracting those people into ventures in spending all of that case they obviously had nothing do to with. And separate those people from the passerby's that only drop a few pennies at their place. It's called "whale-hunting." Like the cash-out policy mentioned above. With Presearch you have to invest 1000PRE to 'stake' your node in order to "get paid for it!" as it were!
So, we're personally going to set up our VPS to do it and see how many hits we get. For those who do not have a VPS well guess what? There's an initial investment that has to be done prior to getting that sweet node money which is requiring some kind of server that stays online and processes requests for Presearch. As well as a little technical expertise to set up the docker software onto a box and run the Presearch-node on it. You COULD set this up on your desktop or laptop sure! But as they've described in the notes it means the 'node' you set up will be talking to search engines a lot. on top of that when you shut down the system that takes your node offline which affects your score. If you don't care about any of that. Go nuts.
The math behind this is a lot murkier because if you look at the Presearch vision PDF page 37 section 3.7.2 there are a lot of initial variables that we the end-user cannot see. Thus even if we know the math of the Presearches node distribution system it would be impossible to calculate and determine if the payout is honest or even legit. On page 36 they talk about how the revocation of running a node for those who have not invested any PRE in the possible future in order to eliminate possible bad nodes. So if they do this. It gets to the level of not being able to see the performance of your network, investing a few hundred US to be 'let in', and basing your income off of variables that Presearch is unwilling to provide. Awesome!
Time to register.
7 Day report.
After we got our key we went through some of the fun of getting docker access rights straightened out on my account we were able to get the Presearch node going with relative ease.
As described in the previous paragraph we didn't stake any PRE into this test trial and just wanted to see what the really-real traffic is for staking a node. Now, since it's impossible to calculate how much a -real- 'search' process is for Node rewards without giving them 200+ US Dollars. Let's just assume the payout per search is 0.10PRE just like a user. Doubtful! We know! But let's establish a baseline. Also, let's round up the total searches in a week to 100 searches.
So, approximately 1.42PRE per day / 0.28 USD. Or, 44.2PRE per month / $8.84
Keep this in mind! These are highly optimistic numbers for this because when asking some of the Node runners on telegram the average was around $3.20 per month with the occasional hitting about $5/mo. At best using my numbers and Presearch keeps the limit to 1000PRE before you can request a withdrawal. You will cash out just one month shy of 2 years under the best-case scenario. The AVERAGE person will be able to cash out just shy of under 5 years. This is better than being a user of Presearch and if you wish to play the long game it could help offset -SOME- of your VPS costs. But to make money out of maintaining a single VPS? Perhaps if you stake 10,000PRE then the payout -might- be real. Then again, are you ready to invest $2,000 (USD) at the current value of this blog posting?
About the node reliability score.
The amount of payout is also based on how reliable is your node. From our point of view in Chicago IL running a VPS at a very good data center. The Average latency we're getting with 1,373.8ms is absolutely insane! That type of latency is dial-up modem speed! There's no good way of troubleshooting what is happening. We are only left with theories on this point.
- If the Presearch node gateway server is based out of Denmark, that means my connection must go halfway around the world in order to send a search result back. Therefore rewarding nodes with a higher quality score in Europe while punishing American nodes.
- Straight-up ignorance. We'll admit it. We're not software engineers knowing this platform inside out. And getting a straight answer from Presearch does not help either.
- The Presearch node gateway is DDOS'ing itself from the number of new nodes joining. Making every node suffer.
- As we didn't stake any coin on our node. the Presearch node gateway (Quality of Service) our asses to the lowest possible priority giving greater network demand load to those that did invest/stake. This is counterintuitive as you're trying to convince investors like me to give you money. On top of this. We're giving you free processor power which they should be a little more grateful for. But whatever.
We've watched the score dip down to 74 and go as high as 80 when we had 940 ms latency.
We'll continue to run our node for a few more weeks in the hopes it comes out of beta. to which at this point we can give you an accurate monthly count as well as maybe a taste of what the node system is like out of beta.
We're shutting down our node. We reached about 330 searches in three weeks which is a %10 up-tick but the utilization percentage was dropping like a brick. Presearch is taking in so many 'new users' that server usage is dropping like a rock which means so will payout.
It was real, it was fun, but it was not both! As such, we're totally removing our node from the list. and unfollowing Presearch on Telegram to restore some sanity back to my chat service. Our VPS has better things to do with its CPU and bandwidth time other than making some third-party group money.
When you talk about issues such as 'privacy' everyone's comfort zone is different. To some, they don't care if the commercials appear on YouTube, or if their info is being logged. It's just a part of life. On the opposite end of that spectrum, you have the guys rocking the ArchLinux, Kali, Slax, etc that self-compiled everything because they trust no one. Which is good for them! Those guys are the ninjas that will probably warn the rest of the world before anyone else.
The problem with Presearch is greed. They desperately want people to invest. Do not care how people invest in them so long as they do. and provide little to no progress about their search engine that could otherwise be done with a SearX search engine as just like SearX, Presearch has no web-spider protocol to check/verify data and instead relies on other search engines to do the heavy lifting for them. In fact, if you want to go as far as to invest in a VPS then you minus will use SearX so that you don't have a company like Presearch that will sell your data to the lowest bidder if it means getting a few extra hundred in their already terrible node circulation pool.
We could even create a referral code for others to join Presearch where we get 50PRE and the person that uses our code gets 25PRE for signing up. But we won't as this website violates their ToS. We like our freedom of speech AND the usage of profanity.
We are not that financially thirsty. Nor will we wait 7 years for that thirst to be quenched thank you very much. We're posting this link only to satisfy the reader's morbid curiosity.
All of those misleading slogans in one advertisement are quite the feat. We think they spent a bit of time on the dark web looking at crypto-mixer sites to get that blindly delusional. As this is relevant to the article this is the only banner ad you will see from us about Presearch. Click here to go right to their site referrer free. (go ahead and inspect that link. you will see no ref= code after the address!)
As for us. Well! We are done testing this service. There are too many gaping privacy concerns that the company does not seem that eager to address and instead seems more involved with building a giant Ponzi scheme to get a bunch of investors to pour money into their blockchain and then make a series of rules where it's impossible to even get your initial investment back without taking a massive hit.
There's also no way of removing your account from their site and you have to e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and ask them kindly to remove yourselves from their network. OR! You can just do what I do and falsify everything in your profile so even if it gets hacked nothing of value is really lost.
Presearch's hot-linking habits violate the privacies of its end-users. Presearch states that the heart of their ecosystem is not the engine but the money/crypto. It makes us ultimately walk away from this product altogether.
Finally, when it comes to ANY search engine in this world. Always check your data! Remember Google's "Don't be evil" policy? The average startup is using that slogan as toilet paper nowadays. Like what we warn all of our readers, always check your data. Don't trust slogans or the words of randos on the net. Not even us!
Until next time that's what server said,
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