The Bing is Dead. Long Live the Bing.

It is being reported that the new search engine (excuse me, “decision” engine) from Microsoft, Bing, lost one point of search market share in the month of September. This was the first time Bing has lost market share since it was introduced in June. Also noteworthy is that Yahoo also lost a point in September.

Bing’s share went from 9.64 to 8.51 percent while Yahoo’s went from 10.5 to 9.4. One way to look at these numbers is that Bing is right up there with Yahoo. Another way to look at these numbers is that Google had 90% of the share in September.

So depending on your viewpoint, this could be really bad for Bing or no big deal at all. Supporters of one side or another will spin this as they see fit. To me this also seems to correlate with the amount of advertising Microsoft does for Bing. It seems that I’ve not seen as many Bing commercials lately, so it’s probably not surprising that less publicity equals less market share.

Bada Bing!

I’ve seen a few of the new commercials. I think they are interesting and clever commercials until the end when they reveal what the commercial is for. The first time I saw one it certainly got my attention but I had no idea what the point of the commercial was until the very end, which is likely what they were after. Then they reveal the service and it sort of makes sense, but my question is what exactly is “search overload”? Is this a real concern for people? Or is it a solution looking for a problem? (Just in case, I started a support group for those suffering from search overload on Facebook). And I also question the idea of a “decision engine”. Honestly, I can’t say I’m often looking for a search site to make a decision for me. I’m usually searching for information, not decisions. If I am looking for information to make a decision, the decision comes after I have enough information. Does make decisions for me? If so, do I really want Microsoft making decisions for me?

Regardless, the commercials, reportedly part of a $100 million campaign, will serve the purpose of introducing the site to people and likely getting them to at least try it. The question is will be compelling enough to break people’s Google habit?

In testing the site a few times, my initial impression was that it wasn’t that much different than Google. In fact, it has a downright similar layout. The things that made different than Google seemed superfluous and a little confusing. Perhaps with a little more practice I could take advantage of Bing’s features a little better, but if the point of those features aren’t brain-dead obvious and simple to use, then people are going to miss them, ignore them, or worse be confused by them. And as they say, you never have a second chance to make a first impression. If people don’t get excited by immediately, they will likely not think again to leave their familiar search engine.

Is it just me, or does anyone else think of that annoying Janice character from Friends when they hear “bing”? Also, will it flow off the tongue to use “Bing” as a verb, as we do now with Google? I googled it – I binged it. Go google it – go bing it. I’m not sure.

Seth Godin posted an article on his blog about Microsoft trying to become the next Google. It’s a good read.

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