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Why is it so hard to find the hotline I need when I search online? 

Unfortunately, most governmental and nonprofit hotlines & helplines are difficult to find.

Here's why.

There are thousands of hotlines. Most people search for hotlines on search engines.

Most search engines show around 10 search results per search. Of those shown 5 or more results are often paid results, meaning the owner of the websites pay to have their hotline show up at the top of the search list.

The remaining hotlines on page one and two are generally limited to hotlines owned by agencies that have invested thousands of dollars into search engine optimization.

By spending this money, some hotlines try to take steps necessary to defeat the algorithms set up by search engines, so that their hotline shows up at the top of searches.

In other words, some nonprofit and governmental agencies spend large sums of money to block smaller agencies, with less funding, from showing up on the first page and additional pages on search engines.

This seems curious to some. Hotlines exist to serve all of us. Forcing search engines to show only a few hotlines is inconsistent with what most would agree to be the best interests of individuals served by hotlines.

Does money spent on placing one hotline ahead of another in a search reflect good intentions? Is that money being well spent?

Fair questions. We think so.

The #4Help search works in a completely different manner than the search engines you may be using to look for hotlines.

Stay tuned for some information that will likely surprise you as we begin our investigative series about the "hotline industry."

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