07 Jul 2009

Why We Should Root for Bing

I read recently that Google sold roughly $22 billion in advertising last year. $22 billion is also the Gross National Income of Kazakhstan, or that of Costa Rica and Jamaica combined. I don’t know why, but I never sat down to think about how much money Google has been raking in over the years. They’ve managed to corner a huge market share in search, and while Yahoo has failed to really compete, Microsoft is dedicated to doing just that.  

bing-23A few weeks ago, Steve Ballmer, CEO at Microsoft, said he was willing to "spend to compete", to the tune of 5%-10% of Microsoft’s overall operating income on search for up to five years. It’s apparent that the folks at Microsoft have figured out there is money in search. But what does this competition mean for Google?
The first thing that competition does in free enterprise is keep the heavy hitters honest. Not only that, it facilitates improvement and growth. When a company, service, or brand is in competition with another, each will play off the actions of the other for the benefit of their own. An improvement is made by one, causing the other to take stock and reinvent. This ebb and flow creates for, what is usually, a very productive system.
yahoo1As competition relates to Google, up to now they’ve had only a few real contenders. Arnie wrote last year about Google and Yahoo’s head-to-head, and that as internet marketers we need Yahoo to thrive. Microsoft has, in the past few months, taken over where Yahoo tried to jump in, but the overall premise is still the same: competition for Google is essential to safeguarding the integrity of search. The difference this time around, however, is that Microsoft is more than prepared — in the form of billions of dollars,google3 and innovative search solutions.
Early numbers are showing an increase in Microsoft’s overall search market share a month after Bing’s unveiling. There’s no doubt, though, that they have a lot farther to go. It may just come down to who can master real-time search, and address the issues facing current searchers today: outdated and irrelevant results. 


  • Car emissions Jul 07, 2009

    Isn’t it merely due to the fact that bing is a new search engine that Microsoft has seen a slight increase in share?

    The large amount of coverage, plus the perception that this is microsofts last gasp attempt to get search right pretty much guarantees an initial degree of interest – it’s whether they can persuade searchers theirs is (or will be) the better product that will determine any success.

  • Kaila S. Jul 07, 2009

    The figures quoted in this article, and in those I pulled the information from, compare Bing’s numbers to those traffic figures with ‘Live’, Microsoft’s previous search engine. Your right, however, that part of the increase in usage is likely due to the ‘newness’ of Bing. Hope that clarifies things.

  • Jonathan Bentz Jul 08, 2009

    Yeah, don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of Google having a legitimate competitor (or two). But even when Microsoft sees an uptick in search volume – what they get still pales in comparison to the daily numbers Google gets. While it’s great that Microsoft is interested in spending to compete, it very well could be for naught. I know for me, personally, that while I watch Microsoft rankings for my clients, I don’t use Bing to search.

  • Lucy Griffiths Jul 10, 2009

    Until the initial hype of Bing has calmed down it will be difficult to see how things will turn out. If Bing does succeed then that will be great to see some real competition for Google, but I guess searchers will have the final say on that.

  • Chris Lang Jul 10, 2009

    BING, or (But It’s Not Google) has one flaw in it’s marketing:

    Google is not broken, there is nothing wrong with the search results we get.

    If Google was the only game in town and it did not return to me what I want, then BING would have a chance with me.

    With Google’s new filtering by date, I can not only get great results from my searches but I can get the latest AND best articles.

    When I search for Google Friend Connect to see what my competition is writing on the subject I can filter the results to the latest published and lots more.

    That way I don’t get the TechCrunch article from May 2009. I get the latest articles published from the best sites.

    Try a search for a tech article. You will get the same top 10 sites like TechCrunch, Mashable, SearchEngineLand and ReadWriteWeb and most of the articles will be from last year.

    Now in the same search click “show options” and get a search filtered by date.

    Hence I have no reason to even look at BING.