Scroogle, Privacy-First Search Engine, Shuts Down for Good

Couldn't take the DDoS.

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(Gerard Paardekam via Virginia Mataix)

Scroogle, the search engine operated by privacy militant and self-appointed Wikipedia watchdog Daniel Brandt, has folded for real. After enduring DDOS attacks “around the clock” that sent a flood of unsustainable traffic to his servers, Mr. Brandt took down the search engine along with his other four domains,, and His theory is that he was being attacked by hackers with a personal vendetta.

“These four domains had also been on the web for a long time — NameBase first went online in 1997, and before that had been available on telnet since 1995. I spent 27 years developing NameBase,” he said in an email, and referred to the Wikipedia page.

“I no longer have any domains online,” Mr. Brandt wrote. “I also took all my domains out of DNS because I want to signal to the criminal element that I have no more servers to trash. This hopefully will ward off further attacks on my previous providers.”

Scroogle was a basic search engine that takes users to their Google results through a circuitous route that masks much of the data Google normally harvests. Google tolerated the site, which had its own nonprofit, and a Google engineer even helped Mr. Brandt get Scroogle whitelisted a few times. But recently, Google started punishing Scroogle severely for queries, choking off access for 90 minutes at a time. Google says it was not targeting Scroogle but that the search engine may have tripped a spam control mechanism.

“ is gone forever,” Mr. Brandt wrote. “Even if all my DDoS problems had never started in December, Scroogle was already getting squeezed from Google’s throttling, and was already dying. It might have lasted another six months if I hadn’t lost seven servers from DDoS, but that’s about all.”

The search engine had some die-hard fans. But if privacy friendliness is what you seek, there are other options., formerly a porn site and the cause of some embarrassing NSFW confusion, has also gone off the air.

Scroogle, Privacy-First Search Engine, Shuts Down for Good