Search Contrarian Blekko's Next Move: Limiting Its User Data Retention To 48 Hours

Search engine Blekko, ever eager to differentiate itself and make headlines with its countless product development advances, is announcing today that it will reduce its data retention period to 48 hours, retaining far less user personal information (like IP addresses) than the the dominant players in the space.

For comparison, competitors Google and Yahoo are currently at 18 months of user data retention and Bing is at six months, which is the European standard. In fact, Yahoo recently extended its data retention policy from 90 days to 18 months because it needed it to “compete” with Google in offering personalized recommendations. With this move Blekko is essentially saying, “Unlike Yahoo, we don’t need to compete.” Search engines like DuckDuckGo and Startpage do not collect any user info.

Granted, with $24 million from US Ventures, CMEA Capital and Marc Andreessen, Blekko can keep pulling stunts until the cows come home. In addition to this move Blekko will now be introducing its HTTPS Preferred offering, which will automatically point searchers to HTTPs secure websites when available.

Blekko has also amped up its ad opt up services with Super Privacy and No Ads privacy opt out settings which allow users to opt out of advertising while searching. “Search engines know too much about their users. Our goal at Blekko is to find a balance between retaining information to improve our search engine, and not retaining information that a user prefers to keep private,” said CTO Greg Lindhal.

Blekko is basically pulling out all the bells and whistles, performing parlor tricks like adding Facebook comments to search because it has to, as the search market is currently comprised of Google at 65.7%, Yahoo at  15.9% and Microsoft at  14.1% with Blekko not even ranking in the top five.

Right now the company, which completed 50 million searches last month from 750K uniques (up 33% since March), indexes 3.5 billion URLs, compared to Google and Bing which are both over 15 billion.

And a search engine’s gotta do what a search engine’s gotta do. But is garnering press attention with its weekly reactive maneuvers necessarily worth the effort? We’ll soon find out.