Microsoft is getting their lumps in early by accusing Google of being naughty as regards their holiday shopping guidance. They’ve just launched a new campaign, entitled --> “Scroogled.” Yes, a take on Charles Dickens famous moneygrubbing, skinflint, with Microsoft asserting that Google adjusts shopping search results according to whether and how much merchants have paid them to list their products and have them come up first.
OK, this is Microsoft’s way to give consumers a reason to divert searches from Google and use their search engine, Bing. So they’re warning consumers they risk the chance of getting “scroogled” if they rely on the results of a Google Shopping search. Who to trust?
Well, we measure the Search Engine category in our Customer Loyalty Engagement Index, and one of the drivers of loyalty and engagement is “Brand Trust.” It’s the second-most important driver, with a moderately high consumer expectation level, and here’s how the top-5 search engine brands rank when it come to consumer trust:
Does Bing have a ghost of a chance? Engagement and loyalty metrics never lie. They’re the nicest of all the brand metrics out there, no matter what the season, so it’s not likely that consumers have yet added this Bing-based accounting to their loyalty lists: Google preached “Don’t be evil,” but on May 31st 2012 Google Shopping announced a new plan, which basically boils down to all shopping results end up being paid ads. So this is the first holiday season where retailers have to pay to be included in Google Shopping results.
In the ad Microsoft asserts that what Google does is a betrayal of their position to provide the most trust-worthy searches on the web, pointing out that a Google search by “relevance” and “Why these Products (show up on the Google List)?” comes with the explanation “Google is compensated by their merchants. Payment is one of several factors used to rank results.”
But before you add Google to your “Naughty” list, you might be interested to know that Bing has a partnership with Shopping.com offering higher visibility for paid listings. Bing clarified its position on the matter, saying that while merchants can pay to have their products listed in Bing, there’s no requirement they have to. In a statement, Google did not comment directly on Bing’s attack, but defended improvements it had made the changes to Google Shopping.
In A Christmas Carol, Dickens wrote, “Men’s courses will foreshadow certain ends. . .But if the courses be departed from, the ends will change.” The same just might also be said about online search.