Presearch – a search engine review.

About the Presearch engine.

We bring some different news as well as to 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. The major difference in 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. Presearch actually rewards you back by giving out its own cryptocurrency known as “PRE”. However, there’s more to it then just that!

Read on if you wish to see our diatribes.

The slogan.

The Presearch slogan.

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 to 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.

Presearch is a Decentralized Search Engine.

This is misleading.

Decentralized Model

As we’ve discussed (or lack of better words ranted) in our past blog about our website being 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 downloadable source and if you host this local 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 the 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.

Bottom line, 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.

The tech.

Presearch homescreen

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:

Presearch results for - s-config.com

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 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 nothing 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 then you for the keyboard that you staked then you could either up the stake to counter them or simply unstake 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!

Tor Friendly.

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:

Presearch image results.

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 from 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 browser, 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, 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!

Update 09/12/2021:

We did ask the Presearch telegram community about this glaring issue, after several attempts we were answered by Trey Grainger which apparently is the Presearch CTO (Cheif 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.

Reconciliation:

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, 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 which does break up the YouTube Monopoly at least. 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.

The thumbnails:

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!

The support:

Telegram Large Title.

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 since the PRE cryptocurrency is based on a publicly tradable blockchain. This attracts of 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. That 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 to 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?

Or.

How to buy PRE!?

Guess reading the website is a little too hard for them.

OR!

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 uses Reddit which violates privacy hard-core! Ask a question on DuckDuckGo core functionality and get ignored.

To answer everyone’s questions above about investment. Don’t invest directly with Presearch. Go to a crypto vendor that supports their blockchain. It will probably be easier then doing a bank transfer that takes days to process.

The admins

We had the opportunity for one of the admins to slide into our private messages in telegram. Seriously asking about me wanting to invest and how I’m 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 I addressed some of my concerns of the search engine itself he 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 to 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 you can hold your employees accountable. Or, your website! I dunno! Just thinking outside the box here!

Making MONEY!PRE Coin.

Since we’re on the subject lets talk about the two ways a person makes money on this system. They 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 Etherium but that’s not making anyone money describing that. Oh No! We have to go into the two ways they advertise how people make money with their software.

Making money client-side.

Presearch-logged-in

Now if you login 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 of 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! Lets do the math.

Using Googles metric that the average search performs anywhere from 3-4 searches a day. Lets round up to 4 to give 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 $200USD 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 of how much google values each persons search metric data. Of course we are using today’s market blockchain values at 0.20USD per 1PRE which could vanish if the blockchain corrupts or goes bankrupt within a 7-year time-frame.

Now Presearch limits the amount 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 its clicking based off of heat-map randomization as well as key-word randomization based off of 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!

Okay, this is going to take a little more time to get the real data. So, we’re personally going to setup are 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 setup the docker software onto a box and running 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 setup will be talking to search engines a lot. on top of that when you shut down your system that takes you node offline which affects your score. If you don’t care about any of that. Go nuts.

The math behind this is a lot more murky because if you look at the Presearch vision PDF page 37 section 3.7.2 there’s a lot of initial variables that we the end-user cannot see. Thus even if we know the math of 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. We hope they don’t as it would close the doors to potential investors and node operators to determine for themselves if Presearch is worthy to invest in.

Time to register.

Presearch Welcome Letter.Presearch said it takes about 48 hours to process a Node Request. It actually took about 4 days.

7 Week 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.

My presearch node - 7 week report.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. Lets just assume the payout per search is 0.10PRE just like a user. Doubtful! We know! But lets establish a baseline. Also, lets round up the total searches in a week to 100 searches.

So, approximately 1.42PRE per day / 0.28USD. Or, 44.2PRE per month / $8.84

Keep 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 that Presearch keeps the limit to 1000PRE before you can request a withdraw. You will cash out just one month shy of 2 years. The AVERAGE person will be able to cash out just shy under 5 years. This is better then 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)?

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 datacenter. 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 half-way around the world in order to send a search result back. There-fore 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 amount 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. Which 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.

We’ve watched the score dip down to 74 and go as high as 80 when we had 940ms latency.

Beta mode.

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. Or! Presearch may kick our asses off their nodes for not staking. We simply do not know!

Final thoughts.

When you talk about issues such as ‘privacy’ everyone’s comfort zone is different. To some, they don’t care of the commercials appear on YouTube, or that their info is being logged. It’s just apart of life. On the opposite end of that spectrum, you have the guys rocking the ArchLinux, Kali, Slax, etc that self-compile everything because they trust no one. To which good for them! Those guys are the ninjas that will probably warn the rest of the world before anyone else.

We understand that mistakes can be made during the early years of any company. We hope to write an amendment to our blog stating that the biggest glaring privacy issues have been resolved. Or perhaps a new telegram group that only talks about the search engine where crypto-talk is forbidden (We doubt this as the impression we got from their telegram group they are far more concerned with getting people to invest PRE tokens than their search engine). Ultimately we’re trying to stay positive about this because the engine does work! But there’s some core community driven issues (Greed)  that bother us greatly!

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.

Presearch Banner Ad.

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!)

We ultimately leave it up to you the reader to decide if Presearch is right for you. It’s certainly an alternative to the monopolistic hell that is the landscape of search engines and although it’s not idealistic. Presearch is at least it’s a step in the right direction from the technical standpoint. Looking at the engine itself it certainly does everything that the others can offer if not give you a little more versatility than even DuckDuckGo.

We want to get behind Presearch. However, Between the hot-linking that is going on which violates the privacy of its end-users and the policies Presearch makes in stating that the heart of their ecosystem is not the engine but the money/crypto. It makes it a bit of a tough call for us. Even tougher if you want to believe in the illusion that Presearch will actually pay you to use their engine as their banner advertisement states. But for general searches it’s okay for now until we find something better.

Finally, when it comes to ANY search engine in this world. Always check your data! Remember Googles “Don’t be evil” policy? They’re using that slogan as toilet paper now a days. We’re a little worried that their attitude about money may leak into other aspects and begin to back away from being a privacy oriented search engine. Like what we warn all of our readers, always check your data. Don’t trust slogans or the words of randos on the net.

Until next time that’s what server said,

+++END OF LINE

2 thoughts on “Presearch – a search engine review.

  1. Damn guy’s where do y’all find out All this? And don’t say”google it”!! Cause before I start using a search engine/browser, I try to find everything I can about it before I use it. Found nothing like y’all did,why I donated. But, I really wish the end answers were a little more define. Meaning, for those of us trying to learn more. So is Presearch (for the user) safe and private enough to “swim the murky waters” of Ads, tracker’s, canvas/audio Ad blockers fingerprinting?? Great article,very informative. Thanks

    Reply
    • Hello Adder and thanks for checking out this blog.

      Everyones sense of privacy is different in respects that some may be completely comfortable with what I talked about during the images or videos tab of our review. To some sharing information such as your geolocation via reverse IP with “gstatic” or “bing” is acceptable. To me. Not so much! What I can say about the search engine itself is that I do not detect any cookies coming directly from presearch indicating that they are at least true to their word about trying to maintain privacy. To presearch, the way they make money is in part through their blockchain via the reservation of ad-words. This is legitimatly no different then what DuckDuckGo is doing except it’s more publicly transparent. They don’t collect data about you, they simply collect data on what is being searched and that’s about it.

      In terms of tracking cookies, javascript, or third party ad applications, at least on the baseline search presearch is the only one communicating to you the client. Hense why it works so good with Tor/Onion Browsers. I’m still collecting information about presearch. In particular i’m going to provide more information on how the node-side of things works. But from just someone who wants a different browser. It’s in many ways better then DuckDuckGo and has about the same security going on.

      I did speak with the CTO about the image/video thumbnail problem and he did state that it will be addressed in the first quarter of 2022. that like DuckDuckGo, presearch will host its own image thumbnails. I tried to ask for more information about this , such as how will the decentralized spiders trend data like this and what should a webmaster do to their robots.txt to allow presearch to image-index. so far nothing on that front.

      Reply

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