Microsoft has gone on the offensive in its long-standing competition for Bing to overtake Google as the leading search engine with a “Scroogled” marketing campaign.
It wants consumers to notice that Google Shopping results were recently changed to favor companies that have paid to be ranked higher than they would otherwise be. Bing further asserts this misleads average consumers into believing they’re getting objective results, while potentially missing out on better prices or more trusted retailers’ offerings.
The Scroogled website explains all this and more, accompanied by videos (see below) and other materials, and the campaign will be carried in ads across other media. It also encourages consumers to share experiences of when they’ve been misled by Google Shopping results on the Bing Facebook page.
To be fair, Google Shopping does say on the bottom of the page: “Google is compensated by these merchants. Payment is one of several factors used to rank these results.” Countering that, all Bing Shopping search results display the header: “Payment is NOT a factor used to rank search results in Bing.”
Microsoft explains that “Scroogled” is “a term used by Bing to describe Google’s new practice that leaves people with fewer choices and potentially higher prices.” Obviously a combination of the holiday-relevant Scrooge, screwed and Google, the word previously was the title of a completely unrelated Cory Doctorow story commissioned by Radar Online on the theme, “The Day Google Became Evil.”
Mike Nichols, chief marketing officer, Bing, said in a statement: “We don’t let who pays us for ads or other services affect how your search results are ranked. Search, as a business, depends on consumer trust, and that requires keeping search results and ads separate. With Google Shopping the wall between search results and ads is gone – and so are several popular shopping sites. At Bing, we’re committed to keeping ads where they belong and will continue to deliver the most relevant search results possible.”
Scroogled – http://scroogled.com
Scroogled on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Bing
Microsoft – press release
Associated Press – Microsoft ads deride Google as bad place to shop
Search Engine Watch – Don’t Get Scroogled: Microsoft Launches Anti-Google Holiday Shopping Campaign
“Scroogled” by Cory Doctorow – collected in his anthology, With a Little Help