Advantages, Disadvantages and Risks of Deep Web Search Engines

By William Lynch

Searching the Deep Web may prove dangerous.
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The term Deep Web refers to the portions of the Internet not accessible via standard Web searches, which only scan indexed pages linked to domain homepages. The Deep Web contains material such as unlinked content, limited access content, private content and information archived in searchable databases. Utilizing a Deep Web search engine provides access to this otherwise hidden content, but it also involves entering an unregulated realm where users partake in questionable behavior. Knowing the potential advantages, disadvantages and risks inherent to Deep Web searches may help you navigate potential problems.


A Deep Web search engine's chief advantage is the depth and thoroughness of its results. Standard Internet searches through sites like Bing, Google and Yahoo barely scrape the surface of the Web. Deep Web search engines such as Infomine, TechXtra and Yippy issue direct queries to access otherwise hidden content, covering far more ground and retrieving results from a much wider data pool. The more content searched, the more likely you are to find what you need.


Aside from their greater scope, Deep Web search engines also prove more efficient, retrieving higher quality, more relevant content. A standard Web search only considers the site's introduction and supplied keywords, resulting in many of the returned links being commercial sites or repetitive material. Deep Web searches analyze each page's entire content, ensuring returned results have a higher relevance to the desired search string.


Since there's more content to analyze, Deep Web search engines tend to be slower than standard search engines. Searching the Deep Web also requires a more precise search string. Deep Web searches should be reserved for serious, painstaking research, not for simple questions and basic Web surfing. Deep Web searches may also return sensitive personal information from normally restricted databases, creating ethical dilemmas and leaving individuals susceptible to fraud and identity theft.


Exploring the Deep Web can be dangerous. Always think twice before clicking any returned search links. Because no ruling authority regulates the Deep Web, users enjoy complete anonymity and may partake in illegal activities such as trading copyrighted materials, selling narcotics, circulating child pornography and negotiating for other criminal acts. Exploring a search engine's results may lead you into the Internet's darkest corners, leaving you vulnerable to nefarious characters and sites designed to spread malware or hack your computer.