Higher Education Marketing

Market Share Amidst the Search War

Date posted: February 14, 2011

The big news in the search world was last week’s new salvo in the search engine wars. In case you missed it, Google accused Bing of copying its search results (which Bing denied), and the two mammoth companies have been trading barbs in the press (and through their respective blogs) ever since. This started when Google’s Danny Sullivan posted an article explaining Google’s "Bing sting operation," which rigged forced search results and found that Bing was displaying them. That same day, Google's Matt Cutts and Bing's Harry Shum were at the Farsight search event, and the two argued, in public, about if this was indeed “cheating” or not. Neither company really came off all that great, but Bing, obviously, looked worse, with images like these soon seen floating around the web: Since then, Bing has released a statement that will most likely only add fuel to the fire, pointing the blame at Google. It said, "Google engaged in a 'honeypot' attack to trick Bing. In simple terms, Google's 'experiment' was rigged to manipulate Bing search results through a type of attack also known as 'click fraud.' That's right, the same type of attack employed by spammers on the web to trick consumers and produce bogus search results.” This will only get more heated from here, particularly since Bing is growing. In 2010, Bing experienced a 21% increase in searches at its own web site and a 6% increase across all Bing-powered search sites. Even more impressively, the company has bested Google’s 65% success rate, with 82% of searchers finding what they were looking for. As well, lost in the shuffle of this back and forth fighting was the news that Bing’s market share reached 27.4% in January, a 6% raise from the month before. Microsoft’s deal with Yahoo most likely accounted for some of that increase, but it’s clear that Bing is doing something right. Whether or not it’s ethical, however, is up for debate (and we’re sure it will be debated).