Neeva : An Ad-Free Search Engine Launched By Former Google Ads Head
After a long tenure as Google’s head of search and advertising products, Sridhar Ramaswamy left the business three years ago. His experience of managing the world’s largest ad-supported firm was one of the most powerful in advertising, and it prepared him for virtually any leadership post in data-driven marketing.
This is why, it was quite the shocker when Ramaswamy co-founded Neeva, a search engine with the purpose of never including advertising. After one year of testing with a 10,000-person user base, Neeva has now been launched to the public.
Ramaswamy went to record to say –
“ We started Neeva because we love search, the technical problem. But we thought the long-term consequences of a primarily ad-supported model for the search engine was more and more about the advertiser, rather than the user or the customer.”
In a conversation with AdExchanger, Ramaswamy went on to speak at length about his motivation and ambitions regarding this project.
On being asked why he decided to launch a new search engine, the former Google head said that he considers this market to be incredible and dominated by one single player.
The reasoning behind a new search engine, Ramaswamy says, is to have a fundamentally distinct business model as a strong base of a new product that would allow Neeva to compete more successfully than other search engines that try to replicate Google’s offerings.
When the obvious question of – why is Neeva different – was thrown in the air, Ramaswamy said-
“We describe it as a private and personalized search experience. And it is a subscription search engine.”
He added that as of now, they have 10,000 users. And about the pricing, Sridhar Ramaswamy said that they are still deciding on how much to charge for the subscription, but it will hit the ballpark of $5 per month across the US. Furthermore, he said that his team is still in the process of creating a search stack.
AdExchanger then asked – “Why the commitment to an ad-free search engine?”
Ramaswamy replied that Neeva’s logic is based upon the fact that any ad-supported business model is built on collecting large amounts of data; and over time, the user experience takes a back seat to advertising. This makes it hard to distinguish an ad from organic content.
Moreover, he says that at Neeva, nobody will have to wonder about affiliate links. The aspiration behind this search engine is to create trust and make it user-oriented.
Ramaswamy also said during this conversation, that if publishers provide Neeva with content, then a portion of the revenue will be shared with them.
When asked if there were ways for marketers to reach users apart from advertising, Ramaswamy said that they have worked with SEO players and site owners to keep their content relevant.
They have also created a product known as Spaces, which can be conceived as a user’s thoughts and images related to a specific topic.
He adds further that the aim of Neeva is to bring together customers with content creators on the internet, without taxing anyone for it.
- Neha Shah
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