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Re: revenue sharing agreement with DuckDuckGo

On 12-03-27 at 10:26am, Stefano Zacchiroli wrote:
> Dear Project Members,
>   thanks to the introductions by Mike Hommey, as Iceweasel maintainer,
> I've been approached by a representative of the DuckDuckGo (DDG) search
> engine [1] about a revenue sharing agreement among them and the Debian
> Project.
> [1] https://duckduckgo.com/
> What they propose is:
> - donating to Debian 25% of the income they make from inbound traffic
>   that originates from Debian users if DDG is a search engine option in
>   a web browser
> - donating to Debian 50% of the same income if DDG is the default search
>   engine
> I've clarified to them that the choice of which search engine options
> are available in web browsers we ship, as well as the choice of which
> one is the default, are purely based on technical merit and won't be
> affected by us entering in such an agreement (if we do). As a matter of
> fact, DDG has been already available as a search option in Iceweasel
> since quite a while; not sure about other browsers in Debian.
> DDG will earmark traffic originating for Debian, for browsers who want
> to do so, by using the search URL
> https://duckduckgo.com/?q={{search}}&t=debian . Mike, with his
> maintainer hat on, is fine with using such a search string in
> Iceweasel. Other browsers, if the respective maintainers want to, might
> end up doing the same.
> The folks at DuckDuckGo periodically publish traffic reports [2] and ask
> projects that enter in revenue sharing agreements with them to
> periodically invoice DDG to collect their shares of revenues. The
> company claims policies of regular donations to FOSS projects [3] and of
> privacy consciousness [4]. Other FOSS distributions have already entered
> in similar agreements with them (e.g. LinuxMint [5]).
> [2] https://duckduckgo.com/traffic.html
> [3] http://www.gabrielweinberg.com/blog/2012/03/duckduckgo-foss-donations-2011.html
> [4] https://duckduckgo.com/privacy.html
> [5] http://blog.linuxmint.com/?p=1884
> The above are the facts. Based on them I'll need to take a decision of
> whether we accept their proposal or not. At present, I'm very much
> inclined to accept, for various reasons:
> - Like it or not, DDG makes money out of web traffic that originates
>   from Debian and they can already distinguish it from other traffic in
>   many ways. If they want to share part of it with Debian, due to their
>   policy of donating to FOSS projects, that's fine with me. We can put
>   into good use the money for the Debian Project (stay tuned on this
>   front, because guaranteeing sustainability of the ambitious plans by
>   DSA [6] will require some fund-raising efforts).
>   [6] https://lists.debian.org/debian-project/2012/03/msg00032.html
> - The main risk I see in similar agreements is influencing our technical
>   choices by the revenues. By making clear --- to them and to us ---
>   that maintainers should be free to make technical decisions no matter
>   the agreements, I'm relatively confident this risk is moot.
>   Ultimately, trust our package maintainers not to care much about
>   agreements and keep on doing their thing.
> I welcome feedback on this matter,

Sorry if it is just me: What is our end of the agreement - apart from 
being ok accepting money from them?

Thanks for your work on this,

 - Jonas

 * Jonas Smedegaard - idealist & Internet-arkitekt
 * Tlf.: +45 40843136  Website: http://dr.jones.dk/

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