Scroogle

What is it? Why is it? Why should you? It all sounds rather obscure but it is a matter of some importance. Scroogle is the Google Scraper. Do you really wants advertisements all over your screen? Does anyone? Scraper blocks them for you. Do you really want that spam. Google helps generate it.

Google stores your data and makes it easier to track you down. Do you really want the government to know about the pornographic or naughty political sites that you visit? Do you want to be blackmailed by enterprising business men?   Can you contribute to Google Scraper? Yes! I did. You can.

Visit them at Scroogle RIP Sad to say Scroogle has given up due to malicious attacks so go to Search Engines to find more.

 

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At Network For Good or Amazon Honor System you can use your
credit card to make a donation to Public Information Research if
you are located in the U.S.  Donations through them can be made
anonymously. Or you can use PayPal, which accepts major cards
from outside the U.S. even if you don't have an account. You may
also send your donation directly to Public Information Research,
PO Box 680635, San Antonio, Texas 78268-0635, USA.


Help us raise $5000 to add a fourth server to Scroogle. It's not the
dedicated server itself that costs so much, but instead the extra
programming and maintenance that's required. Our third server is
online, and a generous donation left us very close to a fourth.

                                            So far this fund contains $4707.


 

Why donate to Scroogle?
March 10, 2006


There are two reasons why an ad-free scraper of Google's main search results is important. One reason is personal, and the other is political.

On a personal level, your support for Scroogle says that search engines should not be tracking you and retaining this information indefinitely. Not only does Google scrape much of the web, but they keep records of who searches for what. If information about your searching is accessible by cookie ID or by your IP address, it is subject to subpoena. This is a violation of your privacy. Someday Google's data retention practices will be regulated, because Google is too arrogant to do the right thing voluntarily. In the meantime, you should not be leaving your fingerprints in Google's databases.

There are other proxies that can protect your privacy on the web. Almost all are general-purpose proxies that cloak all of your web activity behind an IP address that is not easily traced to your service provider. One is Anonymizer.com. A possible problem with this one is that the founder, Lance Cottrell, has connections with the FBI and the Voice of America. It also costs money for a reasonable level of service. Another is Tor, which is much more secure. But it is also slow, because Tor is a complicated system that needs networks of volunteers to run server software. Juvenile surfers from video pirates to rogue Wikipedia editors tend to clog free services such as Tor, which slows them down even more.

Since Scroogle does just one thing, it is fairly fast and simple. But because it does only one thing, it is vulnerable to action by Google. They could block our IP address, which would require that we relay requests to other servers that are more difficult for them to locate. They could also centralize their system more in order to better detect and throttle any outside address that does too many searches per minute. Finally, they could make minor changes in their output format on a regular basis, which would break our scraper and require frequent reprogramming. Any of the above might quickly get too complex and expensive for us, and that would be the end of Scroogle.

One action that Google is less likely to take is to serve Scroogle with a cease and desist letter. This introduces the second reason why Scroogle deserves support. As a nonprofit with a history of activism on privacy issues, it would be difficult for Google to sue us on the grounds that their search results and rankings are copyrighted. The main reason for this is that we are noncommercial. None of our sites has ever carried ads, we have zero employees, and our gross annual income is about $10,000. Our lack of commercial intent strengthens our claim that we have the right to scrape Google. It's obvious that we are doing it in the public interest.

Goobage in, Goobage out Showing Google's results without their ads is another political statement. About 99 percent of Google's total revenue comes from ads, and these are ruining the web. Thousands of "Made for AdSense" domains are spewing garbage. Since these sites need content to trigger Google's ads, they steal it by scraping legitimate sites, or generate their own by purchasing junk from bulk writers. Meanwhile, click fraud is rampant. Zombie botnets are used to click on ads. If you cannot afford to buy a botnet from some shady character, then you can contract with someone in a country where labor is cheap. They will hire people to click on ads all day at below-minimum wage.

It's time to stop pretending that Google's revenue model is anything more than a temporary bubble, and it's time for Google to start developing more socially-responsible sources of income. Showing Google's results without the ads amounts to more public-interest advocacy. It says that the web spam situation is intolerable.

We remain vulnerable to blocking, throttling, or breaking by Google, which unfortunately is legal if they decide to stop us. But the longer Scroogle exists and the more our traffic grows, the stronger our statements become. We cannot survive many more months without at least one more server, even if Google leaves us alone. While we could apply for foundation grants, our experience tells us that foundations are about ten years behind on Internet and other high-tech issues. Any funding proposals we send out would strike them as bizarre and incomprehensible. It's not worth our time to send out proposals to foundations.

That leaves us asking lots of Scroogle users for small contributions. Searchers who prefer Scroogle are making a unique statement about important issues. Nothing else we know of is making the same points as effectively.

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Errors & omissions, broken links, cock ups, over-emphasis, malice [ real or imaginary ] or whatever; if you find any I am open to comment.

Email me at Mike Emery. All financial contributions are cheerfully accepted. If you want to keep it private, use my PGP key.  Home

Updated  on  Wednesday, 18 July 2012 18:38:50