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Is Bing Right About People Getting “Scroogled” By Google?

Is Bing Right About People Getting “Scroogled” By Google?

Is Bing Right About People Getting “Scroogled” By Google?

This is a WebProNews Mailing

Is Bing Right About People Getting “Scroogled” By Google?

By: Chris Crum

This week, Bing launched an attack campaign against Google, called
“Don’t Get Scroogled”. It’s a dig at Google Shopping, the product of
Google’s recent transition from the free-to-list product search
offering to a paid inclusion, ad-based Google Shopping model. Bing
insists “Scroogled” is about Scrooge, rather than implying that
people are getting “screwed by Google,” as the word would suggest,
and as the Urban Dictionary definition would imply. Right.

Either way, that makes little difference, as the message would
essentially be the same. Is Bing right? Are users getting “Scroogled”
by Google? Let us know what you think.

Google’s move to the paid inclusion model of Google Shopping has
certainly not been without its controversy. Most of this, however,
has stemmed from businesses who aren’t happy with the move. Bing’s
campaign is painting the whole thing as harmful to consumers (go
figure, given Microsoft’s participation in efforts to pressure
regulators in antitrust matters regarding Google). But do users
really feel they’re being harmed by this model?

“Specifically, we want to alert you to what Google has done with
their shopping site right in time for Christmas,” explains Bing’s
“Instead of showing you the most relevant shopping search results for
the latest coffee maker you’re looking to buy mom, Google Shopping
now decides what to show you – and how prominently to display what
selling the product has paid them. Merchants can literally pay to
improve their chances to display their product offers higher than
others inside of Google’s shopping ‘search,’ even if it’s not better
or cheaper for the consumer. The result of this new ‘pay-to-rank’
system is that it’s easy for consumers to mistake an ad for an honest
search. That’s not right, it’s misleading. It’s not what you expect
from search, and it’s not how we at Bing think search engines should
help consumers get the best prices and selection when shopping.”

“In short, we think that too many shoppers who use Google for their
shopping searches are getting ‘Scroogled’ when they should be getting
fair, honest, open search. It’s like Ebenezer Scrooge met Google
Shopping. We think consumers should be aware what they’re seeing when
they’re shopping online and to understand, without any hidden text or
traps, the fine print of what their ‘search engine’ actually
searches.”

Despite these comments, Bing was almost immediately blasted in the
tech media for its own Shopping results.

“Bing, after all, recently partnered with eBay’s Shopping.com,”
writes Frederic Lardinois at TechCrunch. “While Bing previously
allowed merchants to submit their own feeds for inclusion, the
company now says that it is ‘not accepting new merchants for this
program.’ Instead, Bing says, merchants should work with
Shopping.com. One of the reasons for this according to Bing is that
‘paid offers will be highlighted throughout Bing Shopping, including
search result and product pages.'”

You don’t say.

Similarly, search industry vet Danny Sullivan covered the story under
the headline, “Bing Attacks Google Shopping With ‘Scroogled’
Campaign, Forgets It’s Guilty Of Same Problems.”

Lardinois also shares a statement from Bing’s senior director, Stefan
Weitz: “Bing includes millions of free listings from merchants and
rankings are determined entirely by which products are most relevant
to your query. While merchants can pay fees for inclusion on our 3rd
party shopping sites and subsequently may appear in Bing Shopping
through partnerships we have, we do not rank merchants higher based
on who pays us, nor do we let merchants pay to have their product
offers placed higher in Bing Shopping’s search results.”

Google has said that ranking is based on a combination of relevance
and bid price.

“Google now wants to break the rules that made it a trusted brand,”
says Nichols. “They argue that the difference between answers and ads
is shrinking. ‘After all,’ they recently said, ‘ads are just more
answers to users’ queries.'”

“Shoppers visit the site they have used for years, conduct what they
think is a ‘search,’ and get a set of rankings that look like the
objective results Google delivers elsewhere,” he says. “Meanwhile,
the lawyers at Google are now calling it a ‘listing.’ They even call
one of several factors used to rank these results.’ Consumers are
potentially getting a raw deal because ‘relevance’ is now influenced
by how much Google is getting paid, not just by things that matter to
shoppers. We, of course, accept enhanced listings and advertisements
just like other search engines. But at Bing, we just feel Google
should distinguish ads clearly from search results and not use
payment as a factor in ranking shopping search results.'”

On Google’s regular search results pages, when Shopping results do
appear, they are clearly marked as “sponsored”. It is true that any
disclaimer is a little less obvious when you actually go to Google
Shopping, the destination. This disclaimer Nichols mentioned is found
if you click on the link at the top of Shopping search results page,
which says, “Why these products?”

It probably doesn’t help Google’s case that there is a set of more
traditional-looking search ads at the bottom, which say something
like, “Ads related to waffle irons”.

But on the other hand, I’m not sure consumers have ever cared so much
about whether or not product search results were paid inclusion or
not. It would be interesting to know how many shoppers are starting
their product searches from the Google Shopping destination anyway.
If you search for “waffle irons” on Google.com (which seems like a
far more likely scenario than starting from google.com/shopping –
even if you search Google for “Google shopping” you’re taken to
google.com/ads/shopping), the top results are ads, followed by a set
of results from Google Shopping, which are clearly marked as
sponsored. The first organic results take you to places like Amazon,
BestBuy, Bed, Bath & Beyond, etc.

Google, of course, maintains that the paid inclusion model works
better for quality of results.

“We believe that having a commercial relationship with merchants will
encourage them to keep their product information fresh and up to
date,” said Sameer Samat, Vice President of Product Management,
Google Shopping. “Higher quality data—whether it’s accurate prices,
the latest offers or product availability—should mean better shopping
results for users, which in turn should create higher quality traffic
for merchants.”

It’s worth noting that Google is already losing shopping-related
searches to Amazon (which has not participated in the new Google
Shopping, but is usually easily found in top Google search results
for products).

We’ve discussed the issues businesses have with Google Shopping
multiple times in the past. That’s one thing. As a consumer, do you
think you’re betting “Scroogled” by Google Shopping? Will you use
Bing Shopping? Let us know in the comments.

Read this article on webpronews.com:

About the Author:
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry
Network of B2B Publications since 2003.

Follow Chris on:

Twitter

StumbleUpon

Pinterest

Google: +Chris Crum

Today’s Video:

The Best Drunken SEO Pitch You’ll Hear Today

McCollum & Griggs LLC, a Kansas City law firm has put out a humorous
company. The guy, who the firm says is drunk (which does appear to
be quite possible, based on the audio) claims to be from Microsoft.

This is an iEntry, Inc. publication
iEntry, Inc. 2549 Richmond Road, Lexington, KY 40509

dir=”ltr” lang=”en-US”>

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Facebook: Now it’s more about how to monetize those users
By: C0ldf1re

An extract from: NY Times:

New Free E-Book: Download Now

Thursday, Nov 29, 2012
This week, Bing launched an attack campaign against Google, called “Don’t Get Scroogled”. It’s a dig at Google Shopping, the product of Google’s recent transition from the free-to-list product search offering to a paid inclusion, ad-based Google Shopping model. Bing insists “Scroogled” is about Scrooge, rather than implying that people are getting “screwed by Google,” as the word would suggest, and as the Urban Dictionary definition would imply. Right.
Either way, that makes little difference, as the message would essentially be the same. Is Bing right? Are users getting “Scroogled” by Google? Let us know what you think.

Google’s move to the paid inclusion model of Google Shopping has certainly not been without its controversy. Most of this, however, has stemmed from businesses who aren’t happy with the move. Bing’s campaign is painting the whole thing as harmful to consumers (go figure, given Microsoft’s participation in efforts to pressure regulators in antitrust matters regarding Google). But do users really feel they’re being harmed by this model?

“In short, we think that too many shoppers who use Google for their shopping searches are getting ‘Scroogled’ when they should be getting fair, honest, open search. It’s like Ebenezer Scrooge met Google Shopping. We think consumers should be aware what they’re seeing when they’re shopping online and to understand, without any hidden text or traps, the fine print of what their ‘search engine’ actually searches.”

Despite these comments, Bing was almost immediately blasted in the tech media for its own Shopping results.

“Bing, after all, recently partnered with eBay’s Shopping.com,” writes Frederic Lardinois at TechCrunch. “While Bing previously allowed merchants to submit their own feeds for inclusion, the company now says that it is ‘not accepting new merchants for this program.’ Instead, Bing says, merchants should work with Shopping.com. One of the reasons for this according to Bing is that ‘paid offers will be highlighted throughout Bing Shopping, including search result and product pages.'”

Similarly, search industry vet Danny Sullivan covered the story under the headline, “Bing Attacks Google Shopping With ‘Scroogled’ Campaign, Forgets It’s Guilty Of Same Problems.”

Lardinois also shares a statement from Bing’s senior director, Stefan Weitz: “Bing includes millions of free listings from merchants and rankings are determined entirely by which products are most relevant to your query. While merchants can pay fees for inclusion on our 3rd party shopping sites and subsequently may appear in Bing Shopping through partnerships we have, we do not rank merchants higher based on who pays us, nor do we let merchants pay to have their product offers placed higher in Bing Shopping’s search results.”

Google has said that ranking is based on a combination of relevance and bid price.

“Google now wants to break the rules that made it a trusted brand,” says Nichols. “They argue that the difference between answers and ads is shrinking. ‘After all,’ they recently said, ‘ads are just more answers to users’ queries.'”

On Google’s regular search results pages, when Shopping results do appear, they are clearly marked as “sponsored”. It is true that any disclaimer is a little less obvious when you actually go to Google Shopping, the destination. This disclaimer Nichols mentioned is found if you click on the link at the top of Shopping search results page, which says, “Why these products?”

It probably doesn’t help Google’s case that there is a set of more traditional-looking search ads at the bottom, which say something like, “Ads related to waffle irons”.

But on the other hand, I’m not sure consumers have ever cared so much about whether or not product search results were paid inclusion or not. It would be interesting to know how many shoppers are starting their product searches from the Google Shopping destination anyway. If you search for “waffle irons” on Google.com (which seems like a far more likely scenario than starting from google.com/shopping – even if you search Google for “Google shopping” you’re taken to google.com/ads/shopping), the top results are ads, followed by a set of results from Google Shopping, which are clearly marked as sponsored. The first organic results take you to places like Amazon, BestBuy, Bed, Bath & Beyond, etc.

Google, of course, maintains that the paid inclusion model works better for quality of results.

“We believe that having a commercial relationship with merchants will encourage them to keep their product information fresh and up to date,” said Sameer Samat, Vice President of Product Management, Google Shopping. “Higher quality data—whether it’s accurate prices, the latest offers or product availability—should mean better shopping results for users, which in turn should create higher quality traffic for merchants.”

It’s worth noting that Google is already losing shopping-related searches to Amazon (which has not participated in the new Google Shopping, but is usually easily found in top Google search results for products).

We’ve discussed the issues businesses have with Google Shopping multiple times in the past. That’s one thing. As a consumer, do you think you’re betting “Scroogled” by Google Shopping? Will you use Bing Shopping? Let us know in the comments.

What are your thoughts?
Comment Now…
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003.
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