Neeva, the ad-free, private search engine co-founded by former SVP of Google Ads Sridhar Ramaswamy, has launched a free basic subscription as an alternative to its full-featured subscription, which costs $4.95 per month. While a worldwide rollout is planned, both subscriptions are currently only available to users in the U.S.
Why we care. Newer search engines, like Neeva, DuckDuckGo and Ecosia, are finding novel ways to differentiate themselves from Google and Bing by rallying behind a unique selling point to appeal to a niche, but enthusiastic user base. A subscription fee can be a strong deterrent for new user acquisition, and Neeva is notably one of the few search engines that charges one.
“Even with a limited trial period, hundreds of thousands of users search with Neeva every month, and we think that the introduction of a free tier will drive this to new heights,” the company said in the announcement. If Neeva’s free offering gains traction, search marketers may need to pay attention as organic campaigns will be crucial for reaching Neeva’s users.
However, if free users don’t upgrade to the paid subscription, Neeva may have to adjust its strategy, especially if it can’t compensate for the additional cost of those users with ad revenue.
Free vs. premium. Free subscribers have access to Neeva’s ad-free search engine, however, customization options may be limited.
The premium subscription includes everything in the free subscription, but also includes access to Neeva’s latest search features, membership in a Neeva-hosted community, access to a monthly Q&A with the founders and additional privacy tools, such as a VPN and password manager.
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