Supporting Humanity's Curiosity with Quality Content

The Neeva Team on 06/03/21

The need for the world to access unique, exciting, and useful content has never been greater. Yet the very platforms that unlock this content for billions of people have largely failed to reward the creators of it. This is especially true for search.

Today, Neeva is announcing a paradigm shift to rewarding content creators for the value they bring to the users of search. Simply put, we are committing to share at least 20% of our topline revenue with content creator partners when their content is used to directly answer a Neeva customer’s query. We see a responsibility to do our part to change the traditional system in an effort to build a sustainable model where content continues to flourish and creators meaningfully share in its full value.

Twenty years ago, modern search engines were born, ushering forth a revolution in how we consume information. With a world of information suddenly at our fingertips, we didn’t mind when we were occasionally shown an unobtrusive ad on the right-hand side of the search page. It seemed like a pretty good deal.

It also seemed pretty good for website owners, who could rely on the strength of their content to drive traffic to their websites.

But as search engines became increasingly focused on maximizing ads revenue, the natural (or “organic”) results that initially placed website content at the top, began to be pushed down by ads for related products or services. Nowadays, many websites need to advertise simply to appear in a consumer’s quick field of vision.

And then something else happened. In the name of providing “answers” to users, search engines started extracting meaningfully large amounts of information and surfacing it directly on the search results page.

Even more amazingly, entire categories of online information, whether it was Wikipedia or local search engines, simply became “features” in commercial search engines. The net result is that there are fewer and fewer ways to create commercially successful websites, especially if one does not want to rely on ads and the endless chasing of eyeballs with clickbait.

What’s the result? Newspapers are struggling to make ends meet and are laying off employees. Information sites like Wikipedia are continually needing to beg users to make a donation. Travel and other vertical-specific sites are struggling to stay afloat as their core services are exported and served up in someone else’s search engine.

In a world in which commercial search engines have become toll-takers on our intent and attention, creators have been made to suffer. And when creators aren’t rewarded for creating great content, they are not motivated to create it, and we all suffer.

We started Neeva because we believed that we were headed to a future where every commercial query was going to result in a page full of ads and no organic content and where every non-commercial query resulted in “answers” provided entirely by one company.

Today, we’re excited to announce Neeva’s support for partners to inspire the next generation of great web content. We are thrilled to launch with initial partners -- Medium and Quora -- two iconic brands known for their high-quality content.

We want to help create an ecosystem that truly values content and the unique voices of those who create it. There is a strong need for a more equitable relationship between search engines and content creators. We will prize originality, authorship, and a diversity of opinion. For too long, the internet has allowed content to be mercilessly plagiarized, and we will take great care to value and reward authors.

Central to Neeva’s mission is a commitment to share at least 20% of our topline revenue with content creator partners when their content is used to directly answer a Neeva customer’s query. We will start with Preview Panels (like right-hand side widgets for a recipe or review queries) that we show on our search results page. For example, when a user's query is best answered by a partner such as Quora or Medium in the examples below, those partners will share in the value they created for the user by getting paid.

We are also making a commitment to make it easy for content creators to establish direct relationships with Neeva customers. For example, we will make it easy for a Neeva customer to subscribe to email newsletters directly from our search results page.

We are pleased to be working in partnership with Medium and Quora to explore new ways in which content creators and search engines can work together.

“Quora is thrilled to partner with Neeva and help transform access to high-quality content,” said Adam D’Angelo, CEO of Quora. “Neeva’s customer-first approach to search and how it’s transforming the relationship to content partners aligns with Quora’s own efforts to support creators and will further enable Quora to share and grow the world's knowledge.”

"Rewarding independent creators and helping their great ideas gain momentum is foundational to Medium," said Ev Williams, CEO of Medium. “We’re happy to partner with Neeva as they innovate search by focusing on creators of high-quality content."

While we are a young company, and there is much for us to do, we think making an early commitment to supporting quality information on the web is foundational for a search engine. And we want to extend that commitment to all areas of human curiosity. As we grow, we plan to explore additional ways to help content creators monetize the value they deliver to consumers.

If you are a publisher, organization, media agency, or content creator looking to innovate with Neeva in an open, rewarding, and inclusive partnership, please fill out the Neeva Partner Interest Form and our team will be in touch.