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 – scroogled.com – 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:
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 scroogled.com, 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.
How do you, as consumers, feel about Google Shopping? Do you feel Scroogled at all?