Around The Block With Jefferson – Interview with Colin Pape at Presearch

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Around The Block With Jefferson – Interview with Colin Pape at Presearch

Around The Block With Jefferson Podcast

Podcast Transcript:

Jefferson:

Live from crypto.news Global Headquarters. This is, “Around The Block” with Jefferson none. And I’m here today with Colin Pape, he’s just a fantastic individual. We were just talking about his project, “Presearch”. Tell me more.

Colin:

Hey Jefferson, great to be here. Thanks so much for the opportunity.

It’s really excited about Presearch we’re building a decentralized search engine. That’s community-driven, utilizes blockchain, user nodes to power the infrastructure. It rewards people when they search. And it protects their privacy, similar to DuckDuckGo, or other search engines. So you’re not being exposed and tracked like you are with Google.

Jefferson:

Wait, wait, let me get this straight. This is a search engine that anybody can use?

Colin:

Yes, absolutely. It’s free to join, anybody can use it, it’s available just at Presearch.org or soon-to-be presearch.com. And if you’re on a mobile device, we have some apps as well, private browsers that you can utilize on Android or iOS, if you just search the App Store for “Presearch”. And we’ve got more than 3.4 million registered users. So quite a few people have checked it out and joined the movement already.

Jefferson:

So it’s literally a decentralized search engine. And so who owns the data?

Colin:

Yes, so as far as right now, we’re not collecting any data. So that’s really kind of the key to it. But over time, there’s potential to enable people to monetize their own data if they chose to provide it. So, it’s kind of not in the short-term roadmap more in the longer term, but we provide kind of a base level of reward. And there is potential in the future that if you wanted to share different information about yourself demographically that you could gain more rewards. Of course, you would stay in control that information. And there’s a lot of potential with blockchain and web 3.0 to enable you to fully control any of that information that you choose to provide.

Jefferson:

That’s incredible. Well, what about search advertising, how does that work?

Colin:

Yes, so that’s really the demand side of the token ecosystem. So we have a token called the Presearch token, PRE is the token symbol. It’s what we reward node operators who are providing infrastructure or searchers, or those who are spreading the word through our referral program with. And then on the demand side of things. We’ve created an advertising platform, kind of similar to Google AdWords. But it uses something that we call, “Keyword Staking”. So you basically can buy or earn your Presearch tokens. And then you can basically lock them against a different term.

So if you wanted the term Bitcoin for instance, you could put that in as your keyword, you enter in your ad description, your title, your link, and your short description. And then whoever has the most Presearch tokens staked, gets their ad displayed. And there’s currently no cost when people click on the links. So it’s essentially free advertising, you retain ownership of those tokens that you have locked on and unlock them at any time, then you can pull them out to a wallet or an exchange and sell them so that the traffic is kind of free.

Jefferson:

That’s incredible actually, compare that to Google where one ad can drain your life savings, right.

Colin:

Unfortunately, it has happened. You hear those stories.

Jefferson:

Right, right. So this is amazing. So it’s like anybody that participates can effectively on a part of the search engine, right?

Colin:

Yes. Because it’s community-driven, and essentially, everybody is aligned around the same unit of values. So the Presearch token is what we incentivize all the participants with, it’s what we do nominate any of the offerings in. It’s the upside that the team and the project supporters who by the token/have. So, as the network expands and the value of keywords increases, that kind of upside flows through to the token. And so essentially everybody who has tokens, whether they’ve bought them or earned them benefits as the network grows. Pretty cool.

Jefferson:

Yes, that’s really cool. Well, tell me a little bit more about maybe how you got your start. And where are you going with this, what’s your project now?

Colin:

Yes, sure. So, the project was formally started in 2017, previous to that, I have another company called shopcity.com. It’s kind of like a local search platform, it enables communities to get their own local marketplace is building a directory and like an amazon.com like site powered by your local businesses. And each community gets its own domain name. So it would be like shopdallas.com or shop plano.com, for where you are. But in 2011, we were partnered with a number of communities in Silicon Valley, shotmountainview.com, shotpaloalto.com, shotmenlopark.com, and one day we woke up and all the sites that were previously ranking very well driving lots of traffic from Google. They were pretty much across the board on page 8 of the Google results, even if you search for them by brand name. And so we started wondering, what happened, maybe we do something, was there some type of technical configuration that we had screwed up, or what was happening. Couldn’t get a response, had a bunch of search engine optimization, SEO guys go through it, join some communities had people try to tear things apart, nobody could really figure out why it was happening.

So after, a couple of weeks of basically having our traffic crater, we got a little bit desperate and ended up reaching out to a guy that I had just seen an article online, that was involved in an FTC investigation into Google’s antitrust practices. And I should add that at the same time as we were launching these sites which were right in Google’s backyard, Google is in Mountain View, California, they started launching an initiative called, “Get your city online”. That was very similar. So, we were trying to figure out what was happening, really feeling that, “Wow, Google has incredible market power, and they could just squash almost anybody on the internet”. So, I ended up reaching out to this lawyer Gary, he was the guy who broke up Microsoft Windows and Internet Explorer back in 1999-2000, and told him the story, he was very excited because we had kind of a control group that wasn’t happening with like every single city, but most of them, and he was able to get us a bunch of press coverage. And through that, we got a contact at the head of Google, the head of Global PR, a man named Gabriel.

And then kind of through some additional conversations got introduced to the head of search quality, a guy named Matt. And ultimately, they helped resolve the issue for us. But during that experience, we encountered thousands and thousands of others that had been through a similar situation, didn’t have that same opportunity to connect with somebody like Gary, who was able to help put the press pressure on Google to get the issue resolved. And so they essentially ended up giving up and either went bankrupt or laid off people or switch their business model.

And it just kind of made me realize that they had way too much power to be kingmakers and breakers on the internet and also the risks of having one entity with the ability to introduce their own products and kind of supersede any of the independent competitors and just that naturally there would essentially be these monopolies which is really what happened. We’ve got google.com is the number one search engine but they also have the number one email platform with Gmail, they have the number one mapping program with Google Maps. They have the number one video site with YouTube, which is also known as kind of the second biggest search engine a lot of people search on YouTube. Number one mobile operating system with Android number one web browser with Chrome, the list goes on. So, I started thinking about ways to try to create more of kind of a level playing field in which other search engines and then other online platforms could participate. So, I came up with the concept of Presearch, which is kind of why it’s got like if you go into the homepage, there are multiple icons, you can direct your search directly into another search engine, with just the click of a button. And we encourage that, and we try to add as many resources as we can there. And so that was kind of the genesis.

Then it was kind of like a prototype that was built in late 2013, 2014 but didn’t really seem like a viable go-to-market strategy. Even though the prototype itself worked pretty well and was fairly sticky. Most of the people who started using it continued using it. But then, in 2017, got introduced to Ethereum realized that we could create a token that would enable us to incentivize people to switch to Presearch. And that we could start kind of denominating, the different value sets within the ecosystem with that unit and then ended up doing a crowd sale in July to November of 2017, kind of an ongoing one, and had great support from the community. And that really capitalized the project and enabled us to build what you see now. And then lots more to come, ultimately the division that we’re going towards is really just a community-driven search engine. We’re in a bit of a hybrid mode right now, I mean, it’s still a bit of a centralized, like a corporate entity, and I’m still at this point, kind of the leader of the organization, but ultimately, we’re pushing towards having like a decentralized autonomous organization, or a Dow, that is made up of community members and token holders, who have the ability to steer the project, and make some of those those key decisions.

So we’re kind of at this point, just pushing towards, like economic and token-economic sustainability, trying to get some of those wins, and things that are needed through centralized entities for instance, to get an app and an app store, you need a company. And as all that stuff kind of is coming together, which we’re getting pretty close. We’ll start switching more into the governance model of the project. And then ultimately, the vision is to have it an open-source search engine that anybody can participate in. We’ve currently got a community package system that enables people to build like these kinds of little on-page panels, like knowledge panels. So if you search for a specific thing, like the search for Bitcoin, you’ll see that the crypto community package, but ultimately, we see it extending well beyond just that early foray into open-source and enabling the community to contribute, and just developing all these different ways that people can add value to the ecosystem. So, they may be a developer or a data scientist or somebody who has subject matter knowledge, and who can help curate the information on the platform or evolve the search UI to make it more valuable and more relevant, and basically enable all these different stakeholders through their Presearch tokens have some kind of stake in the upside, as they bring value to the ecosystem.

So, it’s definitely a long-term project. There’s, there’s a lot still to come, but we’re making great progress. We’ve got a great community, a great team, and kind of overall good market forces. A lot of people are realizing that big tech is maybe not their friend. They’re looking for decentralized alternatives. A lot of people are becoming aware of this web 3.0 shift and they’re getting crypto wallets that enable them to have control over these digital assets. And it’s a really exciting project to be working on, they could really have a significant impact on the internet ecosystem.

Jefferson:

Yes, this is really amazing stuff.  Circling back to your earlier comments about just basically being de-listed off of Google. BTC Manager, the prior incarnation of crypto.news was actually de-ranked at one point along with all of our competitors. Google just decided one day that, Bitcoin news couldn’t be served up by any of the real publications that were recovering it only Forbes or CNN or whatever, could cover crypto news. And you can imagine what the coverage was like in 2017, pretty terrible. Whereas ours was much more front and center, the truth. And so it really kind of goes back to what is the truth. And right now you’re right, if these web 2.0 types of companies are determining truth, and I think this community-driven dow base eco system.

It’s really one of the few projects that I’m aware of, that’s actually encouraging global adoption of a cryptocurrency and of a decentralized model and way of doing things, which is great. There are plenty of DeFi projects out there, there are certainly plenty of SeFi projects out there. But, it’s a very short list of things like, Presearch, where anybody can participate. And a search engine is such an incredible idea that you come up with.

So thank you, by the way, and what’s next?

I mean, you kind of alluded to that a little bit. But, I know, main that’s probably on the roadmap somewhere. And then there’re you mentioned some of the projects putting the open-source search engine out there for the community to participate in. I presume those are a couple of things over the next year or two.

Colin:

So, one of the big things that we’re focused on as far as the next steps go, is the release of the web 3.0 integrations. So it’s currently email-driven, email, login, kind of traditional, trying to really continue to have it be easy for people to use. But, we’re getting more into the web 3.0 things that enable people to connect to the platform with their Metamask wallet, and just to have additional control over their tokens. So, the first thing is just web 3.0 withdrawals that will enable people to go in and, automatically pull their tokens from the platform into their connected wallet. But, that’s kind of opening the door for all these other integrations that will be coming out over the next few months ahead. So that’s a big one that is kind of reliant on. One of the biggest challenges for the project is just combating abuse, and people that are trying to do token farming, that kind of thing. So, we’ve invested pretty substantially in building out an anti-abuse model, we’ve got a new one that we’ve been kind of running behind the scenes for the past, almost six months now, I guess. And it’s basically, the precursor to this web three, upgrade. So, those are both coming just around the corner. We’ll be announcing a release date on those in the next week or so.

Yes, it is at the main net.

So, right now we’ve got about 56,000 user nodes that are powering the test net. So when a search comes in, they hit our node gateways and gateways and distribute the searches out to the nodes. And then the nodes basically go and get the information. And then serve it back to the users. But, there’s only kind of a small fraction of the searches in the ecosystem that are going on to test net currently. So, not a tonne of activity, not really a tonne of economic value at this point. It’s more just in that testing phase, but when we push to the main net, then those queries will actually be handled by this decentralized network of 56,000 user nodes. As part of that, implementing some geographically distributed gateways. Currently, all the searches are kind of running through a node cluster that are being served out of the West Coast of the US. So, we’ll be decentralizing that and getting those gateways set up in Europe and in Asia and all the different places where we have pockets of users. So, it should help with the latency of the searches and enable them to come back a little bit quicker, specifically for users that are overseas.

Yes, it’s going to be a fairly large kind of marketing or community event for the project, as we do that flip. And then part of that flip as well involves us transitioning over to the Presearch.com instead .org, and also implementing just a bit of a UI tweak that kind of harmonizes, a bunch of menus, and some of the navigation elements throughout the site.

Then when we have that out, we’re kind of really ready to do more of a marketing push the .com switch over, I think is going to be really key to mass market, .org has worked well. And we’ve been pretty successful, I would say despite it. But, going to the .com, I think is going to really open up a lot of adoption, just through it is a lot easier to communicate for people and kind of a little bit more expected. And then after that’s out, we’re looking at replacing, we’ve got currently an autocomplete system that we have turned off by default because it’s not great. It’s kind of one of the first things that we did in 2018. So, we’ll be tackling the autocomplete. And then we’ve got really a very competitive search experience that they can, rival Google and other search engines. And from there then, we’re looking at just all the other ways that we can make it even better, certainly the community packages, and then starting to tackle more and more of just kind of creating as much independence for the project as possible, building out our own search indexes. And then yes, ultimately, lots on the governance side, and really involving the community more in kind of active management and decision making for the project.

Jefferson:

Yes, that’s great. You have a very detailed vision, which is, unlike a lot of other projects that I’ve heard, which is, “Hey, we’re just putting together the DeFi diaper thing,” which is pretty basic. So, I want to commend you for really thinking this through and pushing hard on this. I think a decentralized search engine will actually give that power back to the people that they’re hinting at, which will be great for that web 3.0 type of model. It’s been a great show.

Do you have any final thoughts that you want to share with our listeners?

Colin:

Yes, just wanted to say thanks to you for the opportunity. And thanks to all the community members that support the project. And yes, anybody who’s interested can just go to presearch.org preresearch.com, you can find us on Twitter as well, twitter.com/presearchnews, or telegram t.me/presearch. Those are kind of the main channels that people connect with us on and yes, look forward to new members and participation within the community.

Jefferson:

Awesome. Well, Colin, thanks so much for joining us. I really would be excited to talk to you again after the main net, maybe after six months or so. We’d love to connect with you again just to see how things are going and what’s next.

Colin:

Okay, that sounds great, Jefferson. I appreciate it. That’d be awesome.

Jefferson:

Alright. See you Around The Block. Thanks again, Colin.

Colin:

Thank you.

https://presearch.org/

Jefferson Nunn

Since 1999, Jefferson Nunn has been a consultant to high net worth individuals. Always an innovator, his ideas have generated millions for his clients including Ronco and GoWireless. He has been involved in the CryptoCurrency industry since mining his first Bitcoin in 2010. Since then, he has met with many of the early pioneers in the CryptoCurrency space including the founders of Ethereum and the founders of Crypto Capital in Panama, and more.