Why pay for search
You should pay for your search engine to ensure that the incentives of your information provider are aligned with what's best for you, not what’s best for advertisers.
Think about it: Do you want your search engine results to empower you and give you the information you need or serve you content that advertisers want you to see?
Here is what Google's own AI has to say about this (click to enlarge).
By charging a nominal fee for searches, Kagi ensures that its search results are faster, more accurate, and completely respectful of user's privacy.
And by aligning our incentives with those of our users, Kagi is committed to building a better, more ethical future on the web.
You can learn more in The Age of PageRank is Over post on our blog.
Ad-supported search engines & the future of the web
In the early days of Google, in 1998, its founders emphasized the importance of maintaining an ad-free search engine:
"Currently, the predominant business model for commercial search engines is advertising. The goals of the advertising business model do not always correspond to providing quality search to users. For example, in our prototype search engine one of the top results for cellular phone is "The Effect of Cellular Phone Use Upon Driver Attention", a study which explains in great detail the distractions and risk associated with conversing on a cell phone while driving. This search result came up first because of its high importance as judged by the PageRank algorithm, an approximation of citation importance on the web [Page, 98].*
It is clear that a search engine which was taking money for showing cellular phone ads would have difficulty justifying the page that our system returned to its paying advertisers. For this type of reason and historical experience with other media [Bagdikian 83], we expect that advertising funded search engines will be inherently biased towards the advertisers and away from the needs of the consumers."
— The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine, Sergey Brin and Lawrence Page, 1998
Unfortunately, this is exactly how it played out, and over the last 20 years we proceeded to witness the great detoriation of web and search as a result.
The numbers tell a tale
Ad based search engines make almost $300 a year off their users.
To estimate the revenue per user, we can divide the 2023 US ad revenue by the 2023 number of users: $76 billion / 274 million = $277 revenue per user in the US or $23 USD per month, on average! That means there is someone, somewhere, a third party and a complete stranger, an advertiser, paying $23 per month for your searches.
Choosing to subscribe to Kagi means that while you are now paying for your search you are getting a fair value for your money, you are getting more relevant results, are able to personalize your experience and take advantage of all the tools and features we built, all while protecting your and your family's privacy and data.
Kagi offers a choice
All search engines have search costs, development costs, and administrative costs. Most search engines cover this by advertising, tracking, and selling your data. And for 25 years we did not have any choice.
Kagi brings a new model to the market - pay for your search with your wallet instead. For only $5/mo (Starter plan) or $10/mo (unlimited search plan) you can now search with a peace of mind, knowing the results are always shown with your best interest in mind.
Pick a Kagi plan that is right for you
We make it easy to pick the plan that is right for you, take a look at our Plan Types.