May 25, 2010

Clusty - Yippy - WTF

For some years, I've used Clusty as my primary search engine, because supposedly they don't track your keystrokes, etc.; i.e., maybe, unlike Google and virtually every other search engine I'm aware of (and I'm no expert, but), they actually were not evil.

Today, the Clusty home page changed to Yippy, and says, "Welcome to the Cloud!" That was not reassuring. As I wrote in 2007:

As my three readers know, I'm very concerned that, at least partly through the instigation of right-wing authoritarians but also partly through the more or less semi-witless facilitation by the rest of us, the internet is rapidly being transformed into a potential top-down surveillance and mind-control system easily manipulated by gummints and corps (for more details, see my previous posts on the subject, most recently here).

I never thought I'd see Microsoft as on my side, but in its current battles with Google, that's how it's shaping up. Google is actively promoting its "cloud" model of the internet, in which not only software but most of your data live on the 'net -- i.e., in hardware owned and controlled by others -- while Microsoft continues to favor a distributed model in which most of your software and data live in your PC.
See also another, earlier, 2007 post in which I wrote,
Free speech in general and the internet in particular seem to worry control freaks.

As of 2000, just five megacorporations – Time Warner, Disney, Murdoch's News Corporation, Bertelsmann of Germany, and Viacom (formerly CBS) – controlled over 90% of the media industry in the U.S., with General Electric's NBC a close sixth (see here, here, here, and here).

In 2003, despite the largest public outcry in FCC history, the FCC adopted rules loosening restrictions on media ownership (stories here, here, and here). Although courts ultimately threw out the rules, the FCC is now trying again (stories here and here).

Certain people have spent a lot of money to gain all that control, and notwithstanding claims of hard times in the media biz, the investment has proved profitable; but one of the main benefits that might have been hoped for – control over the agenda and messages reaching audiences of any significant size – is threatened by the 'net.

Internet freedom, neutrality, etc. have accordingly been attacked on a variety of fronts.

In an earlier post, I discussed conservatives' plans to replace the internet as we know it with something called the "Worldbeam" (a.k.a. the "Cloud"), a system in which, instead of storing all your personal docs, files, and software on your own computer at home, everything would be stored on larger computers elsewhere, and you would just have a box that would be little more than a gateway to the Beam.

Instead of buying your own copies of applications, the most basic might (or might not) be provided on the Beam for free, and you'd pay license fees for anything fancy, so vendors could force you to upgrade whenever they liked. Although access to your own data would theoretically be protected by a password or other security, the gummint or others who controlled the Beam could access, modify, or simply delete any or all of your or others' data much more easily than now. [ . . . ]

I was worried, but thought it would be some years before the "Beam" replaced the 'net as we know it.

Duh. It's finally dawned on me, there's no need for those desiring Beam-like control to engineer any single, vast switch-over to a new system. They're simply colonizing the 'net little by little – and many of us are unwittingly helping them.

Think MySpace, Facebook, Flickr, MeetUp, LinkedIn,,, and yes, Blogspot – you upload or create tons of data about yourself and your activities, opinions, social and other relationships, and personal preferences into online facilities that are maintained and controlled by other people. You may or may not even keep copies on your own computer of everything you put on the 'net. Think online banking and investment, every airplane ticket you've ever bought and hotel you've booked, every comment you've ever posted, and every purchase you've ever made esp. from vendors like amazon that keep track so as to make recommendations. Think on-line spam filter services (I realize AT&T is probably already giving the gummint copies of every e-mail that passes through AT&T's "pipes," in direct violation of our constitutional rights -- see here -- but hey, we
managed to shut that down, didn't we? Oops, guess not.) [ . . . ]

The fact is, many of us have for some time been eagerly shifting vast portions of our lives into Beam-like facilities that are based somewhere out there and are only nominally under our own control.
. . .
So I clicked on "about" Yippy to find out if this was just a name change, or Clusty had been acquired by evildoers, or what; and what I got was not reassuring:
About Yippy


We are the creators of all that is good and helpful. Our mission is for the good in everything. Our products and services are for those who desire a protected place in which to conduct computing and online activities through the .yippy VPN grid. Yippy is simply hardware mated to dynamic software sets through a worldwide LAN using a virtual ubiquitously connected web-based operating system. . . . Yippy will promote the positive and shun the negative of the digital world.

What we do is just good!

YIPPY is foremost the world's first fully-functioning virtual computer. A cloud-based worldwide LAN, YIPPY has turned every computer into a terminal for itself [i.e., for YIPPY – that's the point of cloud computing]. On the surface, YIPPY is one-stop shopping for the web surfing needs of the average consumer. YIPPY is an all-inclusive media giant; incorporating television, gaming, news, movies, social networking, streaming radio, office applications, shopping, and much more . . . .

The custom YIPPY OS is fully-operational and currently installed and running on existing hardware devices. . . . Computing must be made more personal to the end user and contain programs relevant to their personal lifestyle. This is accomplished through a VPN network grid with the ability through DB to cookie cut software packages together quickly and efficiently for consumers or businesses.

Below the surface:

YIPPY is an advertising vehicle. Recurring revenue is generated by unobtrusive ad programs that are strategically placed in the OS driven locally on the device. These advertising impressions would be demographically and geographically quantified by the user’s registration and extremely valuable to the bottom-line. The consumer is exposed to not only ad banners in an array of IAB standard sizes, but rich media advertising, video advertising, CPC, CPA and in-player banner advertising delivered directly into the entertainment stream. All advertising is database-driven and fully customizable according to the needs of the marketer. Advertising can be delivered via geolocation or targeted to particular demographics according to the section of the site visited. Do you want to advertise only to visitors who use TWITTER? How about only to users who are interested in football? YIPPY can deliver that. Time-on-site statistics are also significantly higher on the YIPPY platform due to the inherent enticement provided by the web-based OS.

The YIPPY video player features an array of licensed television shows with unlimited capacity for expansion. . . . With YIPPY, you can tailor your ad dollars to your audience. . . . The YIPPY player also supports the capacity for shows to be controlled by trusted partners [emphasis supplied] through a web-based upload form. . . .

Oh, we should say that we are a very far-out group of people. Everyone is a certified genius here and we work together for our goals for the love of it all. Good vs. Don't be Evil ... We are too smart to sell out to Porn, Gambling and other things that infect our society for profit. Good always wins, and conservative values will bring us our victory in the market place.

Summing it up !!!

God controls all creative thought it's what you do with it that defines who you are.
"!!!" indeed! At first I thought this must be a hack or joke.

Per Wikipedia, On May 14 2010, Clusty was acquired by Yippy, Inc.; no other helpful info available as of this writing (at least not through my new, Yippy search engine).

So here's the problem. It doesn't matter how good or evil the company really is, BECAUSE if it's privately owned, once it's got a lot of users, somebody "evil" can come along and buy it or take over its Board of Directors (I put "evil" in quotes 'cuz I don't think I believe in good and evil, but use it as shorthand for something else that's a whole 'nother discussion).

That's why it's better if certain things are owned by the gummint – oh wait, that's privately owned now, too (literally as well as figuratively; e.g., AZ, CA et al. selling off public infrastructure and assets to private corps. at fire sale prices).

That's why I keep saying, there are certain chunks of internet and other facilities that need to be literally owned by the USERS.

Even that's not a sure fix; but we need to start slowing the "evil"-doers down enough so the rest of us have a better chance at catching up.

And can anyone recommend a new replacement for Clusty – quick?


  1. They seem morally bankrupt, most likely they will be financially bankrupt soon... Too bad, I liked Clusty.

  2. As a long-time Vivisimo/Clusty user, I think it's worse than you think. Under About | Censorship, they say:

    "...Yippy may remove from its output, in an ad-hoc manner, all but not limited to the following: ... 1. Politically-oriented propaganda or agendas, ... 5. Anti-Semitic views or opinions [I'm guessing this means criticism of Israeli policies and actions], 6. Anti-Christian views or opinions, 7. Anti-Conservative views or opinions, 8. Anti-Sovereign USA views or opinions, ..." I'm outa there, for sure.

  3. Best alternative, ixquick without a shadow of doubt.

    Best regards


    Google ain't your friend.
    More privacy, no IP logging.

  4. @ Anonymous: Ixquick looks awesome; switching now -- thanks!

  5. I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of searches suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced

  6. They mention their opposition to pornography, stating that it threatens the "innocence of children and employee productivity."

  7. These people are scary.

  8. They mention their opposition to pornography, stating that it threatens the "innocence of children and employee productivity."

  9. In the interests of understanding where some of this discussiion is coming from, f.w.i.w., before leaving the last two comments above, the same or another "Anonymous" left the following comment, which s/he apparently subsequently deleted:

    Yippy states in its Privacy Policy:

    "No personally identifiable information is ever required by Yippy. This means Yippy never seeks any information related to your name, telephone number, address, or even your email address unless you request a Yippy Service where that information is required. Yippy is intended to be an anonymous service. We do collect limited non-personally identifying information that your browser makes available. This log information includes your Internet Protocol address, browser type, browser language, referral data, the date and time of your query and one or more cookies (described below) that may uniquely identify your browser. International users (defined as those outside the continental United States of America) are subject to tracking, cookies and other government required protocols as required by the appropriate US Government Agencies such as the FBI, NSA or CIA. Yippy will not track a US citizen for any reason, unless such information is required to comply with court orders or subpoenas or when required to do so by law. We use this information to operate, develop and improve our services. When we require personally identifying information (such as but not limited to an email for the “tell a friend” feature), we will inform you about the types of information we collect and how we use it."

    Personally, I'm sticking with ixquick.

  10. I use Yippy/Clusty for research and have not had any problems what so ever. Tried I X Quick and Start Page and sadly it is not even close as a research tool.

    BTW - who cares about their politics. The search engine and the results clustering is something IX Quick cannot do AT ALL. IX Quick promotes privacy by partnering with Google for ads. If you have Google for ads they ALWAYS RECORD YOUR IP ADDRESS.

    Yippy-Clusty search results are excellent. I think the going out of business comment is laughable. They are a public company with blue chip partners like Infospace, Yahoo, Gale Cengage, Highbeam Research.

    Highbeam research lets Yippy-Clusty users only access TO FULL TEXT reports. That's 40 bucks a month for a subscription to Highbeam. IX Quick is a basic do nothing search product.

    It sucks and you all know it.

  11. Given the disproportionate attention this post continues to elicit, i.m.h.o., it seems likely that Yippy has retained one or more sockpuppets to try to manipulate public opinion, which for me casts its intentions into yet further doubt.