Bing Scroogled Google

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It’s on again: the eternal rivals fight dirty. At least one is: Bing. Google’s most powerful search competitor, a Microsoft product, is now populating the web with a questionable anti Google Shopping campaign [complete with URL – – and YouTube (!) videos]: From Google to Scroogle.

If the term Scroogle sounds familiar, this used to be a web service that allowed users to perform Google searches anonymously. It disappeared at the beginning of 2012, and re-emerged today, in a Bing ad:

Bing Scroogled ad.

Bing advises: don’t get Scroogled this holiday season.

As innocent as this may seem, the ad is a powerful attack against Google Shopping. Bing aims to raise awareness that since May 31, 2012 all Google shopping results are paid ads:

“Google Shopping is nothing more than a list of targeted ads that unsuspecting customers assume are search results. They call these Product Listing Ads a truly great search,” Bing warns on, then continues “We say that when you limit choices and rank them by payment, consumers get Scroogled. For an honest search result, try Bing.”

In all honesty, the reaction would be natural if it came from consumers rather than direct competitors. In the past, Google Shopping, formerly called Google Product Search, used to list merchants for free. Now all listings are paid – a brilliant monetization model by the world’s most powerful search engine, which also emphasized in a SEC disclosure that “after all, ads are just more answers to users’ queries.” Still, the transition from freemium to premium, although officially announced in May, begun in October. Naturally, Bing needed to wait for proof to initiate the attack. But it was carefully planned, and brilliantly executed. You have to give it to them… the video ad (one of the two) is at least remotely funny:

How do you, as consumers, feel about Google Shopping? Do you feel Scroogled at all?

Liliana Steffens
Liliana Dumitru-Steffens is a digital marketing expert and content curator, for Pamil Visions PR. She writes for Everything PR, and is a regular contributor to... Read Full Bio
Liliana Steffens
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  • Mihaela Lica Butler

    Google bashing campaigns may be lame, but they worked in the past rather well for Bing. So, while I expect a lot of flack against Bing from the public, they calculated the risk, and already know the outcome. 🙂

  • Kelsey Jones

    Bing can say whatever they want, I will still always use Google. Maybe that sounds idiotic but I have always been satisfied with the results I get.

  • Rhett

    I absolutely loathe Google’s paid shopping. Heck, won’t even use Google shopping now that it is paid. Google is just smoke and mirrors.

  • Noah Lampert

    I think users are able to see through heavy-handed tactics like this.

    While I don’t fully endorse all of Google’s actions, at a certain point users gravitate to the service they like best.

    I actually used Bing today because Google temporarily (at least I hope it’s temporary) took away the ability to filter image searches. I quickly realized why I used Google instead of Bing.

    One thing I love about the web right now is it’s getting easier and easier to make informed decisions. “Negative Ads” are less powerful if you’re aware of that.

    Thanks for the post, definitely would’ve missed this.

    • Gail Gardner

      “One thing I love about the web right now is it’s getting easier and easier to make informed decisions.”

      It will be even easier when there is only Google or Bing and they both have filtered out small businesses and independent voices and all you can find are their big brand buddies and what they want you to see.

      If you have a small business you need to be building alternative channels that are independent from corporate control because the Internet as we know it is going the way Google’s CEO announced years ago.

      Their ideal world “cleans up ” the Internet “cesspool” by favoring big brands and their ideal search result is ONE RESULT for any search. If that doesn’t tell you that they want to decide what you can see and believe then your brain is not functioning.

  • Gerrid Smith

    The users will always win in competitions like this one. More options, more choices. Users nowadays are well informed giving them the power to choose the one that suits them best.

    While I am not a fan of Google, I still don’t understand why Bing should come up with negative campaigns such as this.

  • Adam Thompson

    I generally don’t appreciate Google-bashing ads, but this one has a point. Remember back in the day when there were PPC only search engines? The results were crap. If you want the best results, you need organic and paid results.

  • prootwadl

    Sophomoric. I wish Microsoft would try to compete on merit in at least ONE market, but that seems to much to ask for.

  • Mahesh Mohan

    It may be true but don’t think that people would switch to Bing just because of this… We need more reasons to prefer Bing over Google…

  • Josep

    Scroogle is not right, i am SEO EXPERT, and anyone of us can make a test and check it.
    Not all the results in ‘Google Shopping’ pay to Google, thats not true, only the first ones.
    So BING, you missed it, now i will even less use Bing, you see, lies are not good !!!

    • Adam Thompson

      In the US, all Google shopping results are paid ads. In some other countries, Google is still showing organic results.

    • Mihaela Lica Butler

      Where are you searching from, Josep? If you are not in the US, you don’t see the same results.

  • Nathan Arthur

    I think Bing made a valid point. Ethical arguments are just as much about merit as are performance arguments. Google opened themselves up to attack. Frankly, I think they deserve it.

    This campaign, though, really probably will not make much of a difference. The challenge Bing is facing is the fact that Google has so much history on all its users, which allows it to personalize its results. Even if Bing’s algorithms were three times better than Google’s, and its ethics were unquestionable to boot, it simply can’t match Google’s performance for a person who has been using Google for two, three, four years or even longer. Google simply knows its users too well.

    That’s why I’m still with Google. No other search engine can read my mind like Google can. How can Bing overcome that?

  • Chandler Bryson

    Bing has accused Google for listing of Paid ads in search results, but Bing itself is doing the same thing in it’s search result.

  • Joe

    Google (Lets put a face on it: Sergey and Larry) don’t care what we think as long as it translates into profits. Those guys gave up caring years ago. Everything going on in Google search results is calculated and intentional. We see what Google wants us to see. SEO is tolerated by Google and when it no longer adds any value to their bottom line you can bet Sergery and Larry with have Matt ban it. We haven’t seen anything yet …Soon, the only way to get listed on page one of search results will be to pay for it.

  • gl

    Google represents everything the Internet was not meant to be, MONEY, GREED, DOMINATION, COMERRCIALISM. They are all about looking after their partners to fill the pockets of their greedy CEO’s. Google is nothing more than a huge money machine and they have absolutely no interest in giving the public a real fair search, Most of the results are all paid these days and frankly it’s unbelievable the average person is such a sheep. I hope people wake up one day and move away from google. it would be nice if the Internet went back to like it was 15 years ago when there were many search engines and we had CHOICES. Good on bing for taking it to Google and exposing what they really are about…

  • Boo

    I think this is not the best way to make a point, but the fact is that Google is getting more and more greedy and less “don’t be evil”. BTW, Bing results are pretty goods, actually, so I predict the Bing-Facebook alliance will take a nice part of the search market share in the next couple of years.

  • Ryan Patrick

    Yeah, it’s amusing. I think in the end it’s a win-win for us. Bing ultimately makes Google better. To be honest though, I don’t want users leaving Google and going to Bing. So I do enjoy the challenge to Google, but appreciate them being on top.

  • Luis T.

    Hey Bing… Thanks for the heads up, I will still use Google though!

    I would do the same if I was Google’s CEO, they are making a profit from merchants instead of filling up the websites with banners. Also, It’s better to be sure you’re shopping from a merchant that is in some way verified by Google than just ANYBODY online. After all, if you’re a respectable merchant you will try to reach out to customers even if it means paying a small percentage of your revenue. People forget Google is a firm that’s in business to make a profit, not a charity organization.Besides, I love the way Google re-invests in new project, technology, and company growth, instead of just draining the company through dividends. If it wasn’t for them we’d probably still didn’t have the fastest, cleanest, search engine; no affordable, high quality competition to apple’s mobile OS (Android), no Google streets, no Google earth, no email service with lots of space, etc, etc… So get over it Microsoft, just compete with innovation and price, spare your dirty ads.

    • Nathan Arthur

      Intriguing perspective. So your saying Google’s pay-for-placement program is a form of quality control? I love the idea. But wouldn’t sleazy salesmen be just as willing to part with a slice of their revenue for guaranteed placement as the next guy? Please elaborate.