SAFESearch - Search Engine

The main goal is to create a search engine which uses the SAFE network as a backend and allows people to privately search for information on both the traditional internet and the SAFE network.

Beyond the obvious benefit of “cheap” storage, we envision a system which replaces or supplements traditional automated web crawlers with individuals who earn a coin by “harvesting” website data while they browse and/or by installing specialized software.

Difficult tasks such as spam detection could also be performed by individuals wishing to earn coin. This spam detection could include individuals checking the results of other spam detection efforts, to determine if the spam detectors are in fact spammers (to solve the “who watches the watchers” problem - they watch each other).

As the SAFE network replaces the traditional internet, the focus of the search engine will transition to be more SAFE network focused.


Rather than spam detection as such, I guess just rating the results would be useful, and the ability to turn have those ratings impact the results or not.

I guess at the moment, not enough people are willing to rate results, but earning Safecoin every time you bother might make it work, especially if there was some feedback mechanism that allowed people to also pay for better results - and so fund the rating payments.

I guess users could pay for using the rating system from Safecoin earnings from other sources, or if they don’t have those Safecoin, by rating results. For example: I do a search and want better results, but don’t have Safecoin, I can get up to three rated searches, but every time I rate a result I am credited 1/3 Safecoin - all values automatically adjusted of course! - no magic numbers allowed :wink:

We’ll have the usual spammers, DoS kind of issues to solve, but I’m beginning to think these will be soluble without being sure how :slight_smile:


This one idea alone could take Safecoin to over $1.

The real question is how would people buy the Safecoins easily enough for it to work?

Say I have fiat, how do I get Safecoins if I want to buy them?


luckybit, I think there are a couple of options. If someone has a desktop and it’s part of the safe network, then they’ll earn coins by providing resources and could spend those to use the search function. If they have no way to farm effectively and need to buy coins, I imagine at first it would bean they’d go from fiat to bitcoin to safecoin, which is pretty cumbersome. Or, perhaps they can choose to see ads to earn safecoin. Eventually, when the safe network takes off, I think it would be possible to buy safecoin through an ATM or with a bank account through service like Coinba$e.

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How about we pay users to use SAFESearch using the MindShare business model where advertisers pay the users to click their ads? Google makes a fortune form adsense but you could do this Opt-In. Users wouldn’t see any ads unless they want the opportunity to get paid.

In addition how about letting the users own SAFESearch by letting them earn shares the earlier and more frequently they use it? This turns all users into partners and stakeholders. Not only would spam be made impossible but the product would attract users with viral marketing in a way which Google could never compete with.

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I love the sentiment behind the mindshare market. But I think having a rock solid level playing field is crucial. That means a privacy protected tracking free ad free, sponsor free search and trending system. I think the trending is a vital adjunct to search and is in part world of mouth fueled. May I suggest that as part of a search interface it be opt in or another button. Not everyone one wants to see trending results.

To me honest search and trending align the interests of buyers and sellers and we may see a huge jump in product quality and value. I think it will mean that destructive push systems will become obsolete. My understanding is that push systems have a massive political externality cost. I also suspect that such a service if done right could be crucial to the survival of the network and will actually have some surprising advantages right from the start against giant’s like Google where search, no matter what they say is today literally sponsored, its sponsored SEO (try doing a search for the party affiliation of local US politicians)- it might be called lost now, despite the very functional map services.

Maybe Google will switch over to the pay for ads model to try to compete with honest search. But I think what people want is an un-distracted model.

My sense is that directly sponsored or sponsor optimized SEO was the result of the following situation. Say someone saw a car ad and decided to click it on. They would quickly use search to research and it would only accelerate their choice of the market leader which didn’t need the ads in the first place. So ad buyers in conjunction with search were just in effect contributing to the leader’s marketing effort. Search and money spent on it was undermining sponsorship. There was a noted collapse in demand creation or push- a great good for society.

One of the big draws of the Maidsafe network is privacy. What is the point of that if to sustain the network we end up giving it away? Honest trending and search are needed.

If it is Opt-In and you refuse to Opt-In then what would you have to worry about?
I don’t think you can run a sustainable DAC if it’s based on charity/donations.

I honestly don’t know how Wikipedia funds itself but it’s an exception. Also it could never scale up to something like that of Google.

More important than privacy is choice. If for example you force people to stay anonymous or you force people not to share their data then it’s removing their choice to share if they choose.

So people who want to share should be allowed to Opt-In.

Sometimes we forget that we’re changing the world here. While I understand the logic of “x doesn’t/didn’t/can’t work” etc, this way of thinking constrains the kind of change that we can create. If we believe new models, or even old failed ones, might work in a new world, it opens our minds to imagine things that would otherwise not make it and is what ultimately makes those things possible.

I must confess that I would never have given the bicycle a second thought had thought of it, but someone did, and they made one, and they even managed to figure out how to ride the damn thing!

Might help to expand the definition of spam

Let me propose expanding the definition of spam to include anything that violates total end user control over end user interfaces. On the ad/sponsor/tracking free clean search and trending delist sites that break this rule. Use user feedback kind of like “Call Control” uses to block spam calls could trigger a DAC threshold for delisting. I’d say anything modal should result in a delisting but also a veto of further receipt of safe coin from dev and farming at least temporarily. The search engine should be the choke point against spam. By its very nature it is supposed to filter noise not run on it. I’ve thought about it for a while and my sense is that if the modal ad is allowed to be technically practical it will occur and sponsorship will set in and democratic society will be lost. It could take a second, it might not, but worthwhile society will be lost. Money is coercive speech and so is the modal ad a form of coercive speech (ads in general) its attentional abuse. When people in a country like the US are subjected to 20-30 billion (guess) modal TV style ads daily the result is deterministic. Imagine if the ad feed were switched to educational feed. Sponsorship is censorship, that’s its purpose or reason for being. Filtering out the filter makes sense.

@luckybit On insufficient donation economies relative to the DAC. While possibly not sufficient by itself a more liquid and accessible form of crowd source vice donation or charity could be very pin point and no strings attached. Paid to watch ads could co exist with other streams like crypto micro payments for future works.

I am inclined to agree that choice is more important than privacy. But rather than paying to watch ads which in a way ties to the outside or to fiat- why not just issue safe coins for learning to code and learning to build the network. My guess is that established players would be willing to trade dollars for safe coins to support end users in a coming crash economy. But post crash they won’t be as established. I have much less of a qualm about people getting paid to watch ads from native developers. I start to have issues when its Monsanto paying them to understand that GM actually increases nutrient density (when it actually decrease it.)

Its the way you guys describe things. Its positively enchanting. Instead of saying “artificial candle” its like seeing the light bulb in action and then knowing that it has to be built.

If SAFE can be accessed like a regular file system (I haven’t had time to read or use it; so far most of my time has been spent fighting Warren on this forum ;-)), then a desktop search engine would do.

I’ve been following for a while and hoping that someone would leverage it for distributed indexing and searching.
Yacy uses several methods to build its distributed index and all could be leveraged, but one that I like is that the user can build index based on his browsing history (if the user prefers to enable that) which can help one build useful SAFE content (his valuable search index) that could be used to generate revenue. Most of it would be one-off because freeloaders would copy valuable indexes and sell them as their own (it’s hard to argue against that since indexes would contain 3rd party data that’s available to general public)…

How to dis-incentivize search index spamming?


I don’t really like the idea of mixing ads with search results - that would make any search tool less useful to users by showing them less relevant results.
(I don’t mind ads as long as they are separate from results and don’t do anything silly that ruins the user experience)

btw - if you are talking about web search-

anyone know what happened to Seeks?

they used some kind of dht to federate results/ranking/etc (I think some kind of “feedback mechanism”) without revealing the users identity

it was in c and quite lightweight.
(you can replace the backends with other sources - they are plugins and not hard to modify)

theres still a few instances around but the project seems to be gone

also seen yacy - its pretty impressive and seems to have an active community but you need a very beefy machine to run it … too heavy for low cost hardware, vps hosts, etc


Ads as a source of revenue will always be a conflict of interest that eventually undermines things. Good search means we don’t need ads.

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I’ve proposed a similar ratings system in the past. I think search engine apps would work well here. people could either pay to use them with safecoin in an ad-free space, or pay by supporting the engine by rating results, or they can have ads. By having a user rating system - or possibly better, a ‘tagging’ system, users will be enabled to select from a range of tags (or submit new tags) - what type of data they’d want to filter in/out. To me, this sort of functionality should be in the core however and not as an app as apps would be copied and the network effect would be diluted. That said, any solution is better than no solution :smile:

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If users can tag data as spam - even subclassify it by the type of spam, and then be able to filter the results I can’t imagine where users would have a problem. Some spam will always slip through, but then it’ll get tagged and then filtered. rinse wash repeat. The problem with any content is that we can’t predict the needs and wants of people in the future. A rating/tagging system allows for evolution.


Maybe that’s why noone is doing it - it’s too easy and would instantly be commoditized? :smile:

After 20+ years of Web search engine development and tens of billions of dollars invested SE business, only 1-2 companies have been able to came up with a service that’s people can stand to use over a longer period of time and that can cover its expenses.

Of course user feedback would help, but you’d have to pay for it and pass that cost on to end users.
Google gets paid by advertisers so they don’t have to do that.

@janitor you are not considering the impact of not being being profit centered.

Companies have no interest in developing a system that decentralises profit. Such companies dominate currently, because the infrastructure needs to be funded centrally too.

SAFE removes these pressures:

  • infrastructure cost zero, regardless of scale
  • no shareholders or VC’s to please

This makes new models possible for all services, including search. So let’s see!


I reckon if there was an option to tag data on every search, there’d be quite a few people who’d do it for free. Not sure if anyone has tried such a model however. In any case, on the safe network, people could be more easily rewarded for giving feedback than with the current paradigm.

I agree with that, but don’t underestimate the almost zero cost of creating search engine spam.

I think you and @TylerAbeoJordan are focusing only on the pro’s of the approach and not considering the impact of SE spammers being very profit centered.

I agree with that side of your reasoning, but I also consider the con’s, and that is since there are no ads to compete for screen space and the cost of creating content is very low, that makes the platform very attractive to spammers.

Do you remember those shitty “news aggregation sites” (robo-scrapers) that back in 2005 or thereabout were ranking at the very top of Google search results?
Even as recently as last April (last time I bothered to check) I know for a fact that a site that used to show my Web site content pulled via RSS feeds used to rank 2-3 pages (not positions) higher than my own content. (If anyone’s curious about this: I didn’t bother to figure that out, but I remember around that time many people were complaining about that Google Search was about to start rewarding copies of content that appear sooner, and penalize those that appear later - I don’t know if they implemented and what’s the current approach).

Once you get some good content (basically for free), all you need to do is pepper the site with crappy ads and channel a small part of that revenue to your “faithful reviewers”.

I think we should consider how torrent search engines - rather than Google - function today:

  • People usually don’t care who’s who, they just search, compare Thumbs Up vs. Thumbs Down and click on top results
  • The good stuff raises to the top, but almost nobody makes any money (including those who produced the content that’s being copied)
  • User doesn’t visit the site he download the torrent file from, or any other site except the torrent search portal

That works fine and it’s based on user feedback/reviews, but it’s a virtual economy of takers. Pennies can be made by a tiny percentage of farmer nodes and the search site makes money from ads. I’m not sure how that decentralizes profit. There is no profit to be had, and 99% lands into the pocket of the portal site.
Regardless of what we think about the legality and morality of content copying, it seems obvious to me that the platform that has a lower cost would win, so if you think artists could somehow live off tips, why are they not prospering now (since Torrenters are externalizing 100% of their cost of infrastructure) and why would they be better off on the SAFE network?

I hope you guys are right, but it seems to me we need to pay a bit more attention to the downsides too, at least in the near and mid term (until the ecosystem matures and comes up with some complementary solutions).

If people took the attitude it won’t work because X, rather than, this offers new possibilities so let’s see if we can use them to make something new or better, nothing would get built.

I’m as good as you at seeing the downsides @janitor believe me, and I agree they need to be dealt with. It’s that you come across as only seeing downsides and saying it can’t work. If you’d included the points I mentioned, i would not have felt any need to comment.

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This is so amazing, and i think the world is sooooo ready for it :smiley: