Presearch review – the “Google killer” that pays for searching?

A story about how actively marketing a raw product with rewards will make you hate paying

What is Presearch

Presearch is a project that is built to supposedly put an end to Google’s domination of search and internet gate-keeping.

Presearch is (going to be) a “decentralized” search engine that will let users find better results for their queries and see less ads.

What’s more interesting to most users today – Presearch pay you to make searches in their system.

Each search costs 0.25 Presearch tokens and you will get paid for up to 32 searches per day, that is you can make 8 tokens daily. That is called the search reward system.

Their about page contains a clearly anti-Google video (they don’t name it directly though), which makes sense considering how far gone are the “don’t be evil” days of Google:

The video still has no substance about what they are making and how it will work. It just goes on about “making a better, decentralized search engine and ending Google’s gatekeeping”. Yay.

The company’s Twitter and Medium feeds are mostly dealing with questions of privacy, Google’s surveillance and other similar topics. All very important issues, though a working alternative product would have been a lot better.

Presearch has two websites – presearch.io and presearch.org.

Using Presearch

Here’s what the onboarding tour looks like after you sign up:

pre search earn btc through pre tokens up to 8

presearch tour2

presearch tour3

If you want to search another site directly, just click the corresponding icon.

To see all of the search options, click the Presearch P_ icon.

presearch homepage providers

Want to change which icons you can search? Click the ‘Customize’ link to add, delete or rearrange your icons.
Your selected icons are displayed here at the top. To add a new icon, find it in the list below. You can use the search field to filter your options, or you can browse by category. To select an icon, simply click on it and it will be added to your selected icons. To rearrange the order of your icons, simply drag them left or right. To set an icon as your default search engine, drag it all the way to the left.

Presearch.org also has a sponsorship page – you can buy an ad placement there using Presearch tokens at the “My Ads” section in the dashboard.

There is a Presearch Chrome extension as well – link.

Can you make money with Presearch?

Supposedly yes. They have a reward system that’s been very popular with online hustlers –

1) you get 0.25 of a token each time you use the search bar at presearch.org (32 times a day max)
2) you get 25 tokens for each referred user – “once each referral has earned 100 search reward tokens, and has been active 60 days after their initial sign up.”

Now, at the time of writing of this post the PRS/PRE token is at about .1 $USD which means you can potentially get 80 cents a day by searching and $2.5 for every person you refer. If you run a popular social media account the numbers could be unexpected, but the official leaderboard with top rewards earners lists an anonymous user with just 13K earned tokens:

presearch search rewards leaderboard

Should the user withdraw the tokens to USD today (September 22, 2018), the amount would have been around $1300. This is not too much considering the leaderboard reflects earnings for all time, but still a sizeable addition to multiple earning streams.

Converting Presearch tokens to other crypto and fiat

The Presearch token is traded on several exchanges:

  • HitBTC as PRE against BTC
  • YoBit as PRS against BTC
  • CoinExchange as PRE against BTC
  • CoinExchange as PRE against Ethereum

So you should be able to withdraw PRE/PRS (pay attention to the difference!) to Bitcoin or Ethereum and then withdrawing Bitcoin to cash is easy – follow this guide if you don’t know how to do it.

The actual Presearch search engine

If we set the Presearch search engine (P_ symbol) as the default one, here is how the results page looks:

presearch search for crypto debit cards

we searched for “crypto debit cards”, hoping to see our awesome comparison table somewhere at the top.

Unfortunately the page is just a set of services where you can search for your query further.

It’s basically just a bunch of clickable logos linked to search results pages on sites like google.com, amazon.com, facebook.com, pinterest.com and a bunch of others, including even the Weather Network.

So far this functionality is easily re-created with a bulk url opener Chrome addon. Or you can just go to pinterest.com and run your search there.

Conclusion: the product is very, very raw right now. The functionality is basic, has little added value if any at all. There is probably some point in letting the searcher see results from different kinds of platforms, but the way it’s implemented now just means clicking through to all results manually.

Presearch ICO

Presearch ran an ICO that’s been over now.

Here’s how the issued tokens are distributed:

  • 5% sold in pre-sale
  • 20% sold to early adopters
  • 30% for future public sale
  • 30% allocated for distribution to reward usage, contribution to, and promotion of the platform
  • 15% retained by the dev, marketing and community teams

Token sale ended November 30, 2017 and raised $20,500,000

Presearch team

Here’s the list of titles from the Presearch team page:

Project Lead
Technical Lead
Product Development Lead
Lead Frontend Developer
Senior Fullstack Engineer
Blockchain Researcher
Blockchain Researcher
Marketing
Community Relations
Customer Support Lead
Developer, Presearch Labs
UX, Presearch Labs

It seems clear that with 4-5 actual developers out of the team of 12 Presearch is not very close to pushing Google off the search throne. Hopefully there will be more hiring with the raised funds.

Rewards, Withdrawals, Rules, and Problems

Now, when you go to your rewards account there is a “redeem tokens” button. We clicked it and this appeared:

presearch token withdrawals

Basically this is a universal message for everyone who can’t withdraw their Presearch tokens.

It’s also a potential excuse for freezing any account out there:

“Please note that you’ve agreed to terms stating that you will not create multiple Presearch accounts, and will not use Presearch solely to collect tokens. You should use Presearch just like you would normally use Google and other search engines. Those who are found to be attempting to game the system may have their account terminated and tokens revoked.”

This makes zero sense. If you don’t want people to use Presearch solely to connect tokens, you should not be offering token rewards for search. You offered rewards and people get motivated by them – yet you reserve the right to freeze accounts if you deem that someone is not motivated “in the right way”.

And people do get banned as it seems, and getting the infamous “Sorry, this account has been restricted due to suspicious activity. If you feel this is an error, please contact Presearch Support”:

presearch rewards withdrawal freeze

presearch withdrawal problems

presearch coin reward withdrawal problems

We’ve visited the official Presearch Facebook page and this answer by a support manager sheds some light:

presearch withdrawal problems facebook
“Expect it to take a month or more as there’s a significant queue already, and notifications are only done every two weeks. It also depends on your search risk profile. Those whose scores are low are receiving notifications and the ability to withdraw immediately. If your score is higher, you will need to wait for a formal review. Thanks for using Presearch.”

Apparently a regular token withdrawal takes 1+ month, and there is a “search risk profile” for every user that matters a lot.

Unfortunately, the search risk profile is not visible to the user in the dashboard, it’s probably an internal metric – which means Presearch is about as transparent in this regard as Google. That is, not transparent at all.

Reading the Presearch Facebook page further reveals more details:

click click
The customer support manager clearly hates clicks. Click, click, click.

Apparently, Presearch came up with this “genius” marketing plan of offering rewards but did not think fraudulent click prevention through enough.

Right now they seem to be trying to save as much as possible on rewards payouts, because they have so many users doing click click click. But the only reason they have users is because they introduced the rewards, as the product is not ready at all.

Seems like a vicious circle for Presearch – either keep the users but spend tokens on them, or stop the rewards and lose the users.

 

Risks with Presearch

1) The main risk seems to be that your account can be flagged for unnatural activity and frozen. We’re not sure what’s the threshold for this, probably referral abuse with automatically generated accounts. We’ve signed up for the rewards program as well, you can follow our link and get 25 tokens as a reward here. Once we reach the payout threshold we’ll try withdrawing the tokens and updated this review.

2) Another risk is getting an account frozen or a withdrawal delayed at HitBTC, YoBit or CoinExchange. If you wait for KYC/support long enough the PRE/PRS/BTC/ETH rate may become unfavorable for you. Solution – sign up to HitBTC, YoBitc and CoinExchange in advance and make sure you can deposit and withdraw.

Is Presearch legit or a scam?

Very hard to say that about this company. It’s definitely not an obvious scam like furcoins/liviacoins, and it seems that they do payout to some of the searchers. However, the product is still very raw and the team is obviously focused on marketing and token price a bit too much.

Verdict

 

Invest at your own risk. Getting paid for using a search engine seems like easy money, so have fun with it if you wish, just remember that withdrawal problems have occurred in the past. Sign up here.

 

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Your Presearch has been frozen and you wish to share the story? Leave the comment below or use the contact page – we monitor all submissions and will be happy to give you a platform for your complaints.

1 Comment
  1. ancestry says

    Everyone and their uncle are spamming presearch reflink now, no wonder they can’t afford paying out all the rewards.

    talk about shooting yourself in the foot with marketing.

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