Microsoft’s Bing search engine recently launched an ad campaign against Google called “Don’t Get Scroogled.”
The campaign calls into question Google’s ‘pay-to-rank’ search results on Google Shopping.
Formerly known as Google Product Search, Google Shopping initially used to list merchants for free. The company announced the switch to paid-only listings in May and started making the transition on October 17, according to Search Engine Land.
Microsoft has launched a website in which it tells users that they are getting dishonest search results when they use Google Shopping.
“In the beginning, Google preached, ‘Don’t be evil’ — but that changed on May 31, 2012,” reads the Scroogled website. “That’s when Google Shopping announced a new initiative. Simply put, all of their shopping results are now paid ads […] When you limit choices and rank them by payment, consumers get Scroogled. For an honest search result, try Bing.”
In a video posted on site, Bing warns, “Sure, they say your search is sorted by relevance, but the truth is Google sells their shopping results. They Scroogle you by defining relevance as how much they’re getting paid. Don’t get scroogled, you may be missing out on the best prices and highest quality products.”
The site encourages users to share horror stories of bad Google searches and tells people to “warn your friends now” via Facebook and Twitter. There are also buttons to “Try Bing” and “Make Bing your homepage.”
In response, Google has released the following statement:
“Google Shopping makes it easier for shoppers to quickly find what they’re looking for, compare different products and connect with merchants to make a purchase. With new 360-degree, interactive product images, social shopping lists and a fast growing inventory of more than a billion products worldwide, Google is a great resource for shoppers to find what they need, at great prices for their loved ones this holiday season.”
But is Bing as honest as it claims to be?
According to the Associated Press, Bing has not accepted payments that affect the order of search results since it re-branded in 2009. However, the search engine’s shopping section includes listings from Shopping.com, a service based on referral fees that does in fact accept payments for inclusion.
Yes, Bing does seem a little less ‘evil’ compared to Google… but Microsoft is no angel. It would be a different story if Bing were being completely honest in its claims, but at this point the search engine does not state which results are paid for and which are not.
As it turns out, both the attackers and the attacked are not as pure as they would like users to believe.
Google is by far the leading search engine with Bing running a distant second, which makes it easy to understand Bing’s desperation to drive traffic to it’s site.