• http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Martin/508010100 Michael Martin

    Danny,

    Microsoft (as well Expedia, Hotwire, Kayak, Oracle & Nokia) have lobbied the FTC with its “remedies” last week under the cover of FairSearch.org – http://www.fairsearch.org/uncategorized/fairsearch-principles-for-evaluating-remedies-to-googles-antitrust-violations/

  • http://www.facebook.com/gdseo Jim Christian

    This argument is lame. As a consumer the only thing I care about is that I get my lego death star at the cheapest price. I could care less if it’s a paid listing or not. I think most would agree.

  • Durant Imboden

    I’m not a fan of Google Shopping, but I believe Google has a legitimate case to make when it says that Google Shopping is advertising, not “paid inclusion” in its organic search results.

    As for Bing, it isn’t going to chew chunks off Google’s market share with a silly “Scroogle” campaign. If Bing wants to compete with Google, it needs to focus on delivering SERPs that are clearly superior to Google’s. With Google’s Universal Search becoming more cluttered than Great-Grandma’s china cabinet, that may not be an insurmountable challenge.

  • http://searchengineland.com/ Danny Sullivan

    If the cheapest listing is from a merchant that a search engine doesn’t carry because that merchant doesn’t want to pay to be listed, then you would care very much — because you’re not going to find that Lego Death Start at the cheapest price.

  • http://widescreen.org OAR_John

    Just for the record, Amazon might not show up in Google Shopping; but when I do a generic search for a product on Google, a link to a matching item on Amazon is almost always in the top three returns.

  • tubby_bartles

    Google’s shopping search sucked until they moved to paid inclusion. It’s too easy to game commercial results and fraudsters were invading it. I had talked to the team in the past – they tried a lot of things, and the fraudsters just gamed any system they put in place. Paid inclusion isn’t a greedy move in this case, it’s a better consumer experience move.

  • Alan

    Good on Bing for doing this. I don’t think it will change what Google does or even affect Google’s market share but it is about time the Kettle started calling the Pot Black!

    That is what we have here, yes Bing is being hypocritical but that’s fine someone with the money to do something about how Evil Google is becoming is having an attempt, not a good one but at least they tried .

    Anyway Hypocrites are all around us these day’s.. Hey Danny!

  • http://twitter.com/mnjoe Joe Luhman

    A thoughtful, informed post. I like real journalism. Thanks, Danny!

  • Alan

    Danny has an unnatural loathing of fairsearch.org . Actually in this instance it is natural to hate such lobby groups Danny just doesn’t hate Google’s lobby groups.

  • http://twitter.com/JadedTLC JadedTLC

    One problem is this though – what if it’s cheaper but that person didn’t pay to be in Google shopping? That’s the issue with all of these non search engine tactics on search engines.

  • http://twitter.com/johnelincoln John E Lincoln

    Nice post Danny. Pretty clear both SE are trying to make a buck. Classic Coke and Pepsi now.

  • Matt Muncy

    You know how I shop online? I go to Amazon.com and type what I want.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tienvnguyen Tien V Nguyen

    This is a great call out of Bing’s unwarranted and hypocritical call out of Google.

    “Weitz even further argued that technically, paid inclusion isn’t even happening at Bing since Shopping.com merchants don’t pay until someone’s actually clicked on a link and gone on to purchase an item.”

    This is completely untrue. Our agency manages comparison shopping campaigns and it is a fact that:

    a) A merchant that is currently on Bing Shopping (meaning they signed up a long time ago..because as you pointed out you can’t sign up anymore) AND with Shopping.com will still pay for many clicks.

    We can observe this easily because with URL tagging, (we’ll append Bing and Shopping.com feeds with appropriate tags), doing a search for our merchants products on BING will return products with Shopping.com tags (and not Bing’s).

    If a merchant for instance submits the same product to both directly to Bing, and to Shopping.com, Bing has greater incentive to list the Shopping.com product because they can charge Shopping for it, who in turn charges the merchant.

    b) It is completely false that a merchant won’t “pay until someone’s actually clicked on a link and gone on to purchase an item”. The instance a link is clicked on Bing, or any other partner/affiliate that Shopping.com has…including Google…the merchant will get charged for it.

    It is odd that Weitz is so out of touch with Bing’s practices and willing to comment and falsingly state How Bing works–because as you’ve stated, the only way to list your products on Bing is through Shopping.com, and even if if you were previously listing on Bing, IF you are on Shopping.com as well, you will pay for those clicks as well.

    So the only way for a merchant to not pay for listings on Bing is: 1) Be previously signed up, and 2) Not list their products on Shopping.com.

  • ScottyMack

    I’m not sure if I agree entirely with some of your points like Amazon and other big brand names are somehow more “important” than mom and pops are and deserve to be listed for free. Anyone not smart enough to type amazon.com in when they are searching for a product has likely been living under a rock. No, Google has done more for the big name companies in their organic search than they deserve since April and they don’t need any extra boost; they’re doing just fine. Nonetheless, I agree wholeheartedly with the overall point of this piece, although I am much happier as a merchant that Google Shopping is a paid for service now – far less competition!

    I certainly saw the Microsoft Ads as the most hypocritical thing I’ve seen since … well … the U.S. Presidential elections. I have been trying to sign up for free Bing Product listings for a new website since September and paid inclusion has been the only option. As we all know, September is hardly peak shopping season so only the truly gullible would ever believe that line of bull. The rationale that consumers don’t want more choices during peak shopping seasons is nothing short of inane.

    Wietz is surely wasting his spinning talents at Bing. Washington is always looking for a few more bad men!

  • http://searchengineland.com/ Danny Sullivan

    That’s thanks to Google embracing affiliates into Google Shopping. The irony is that elsewhere, Google has tried to cut affiliates out of search results, finding they can be an unneeded middleman. But since they lack originating sites, Google’s finding them useful for shopping.

  • ScottyMack

    Well, then you can make the same argument for the organic listings. With this rationale, maybe Google should list product searches by price instead of what their latest algorithmic abomination does.

  • http://searchengineland.com/ Danny Sullivan

    I didn’t mean to suggest that only big companies should get a pass. Ideally, you don’t want to leave anyone out who is an important unique supplier of products, big or small.

  • okungnyo

    WTF did I just read? Lol

  • okungnyo

    That’s because Google’s lobbying groups don’t employ FUD tactics to bring down competitors that they can’t compete with.

  • Alan

    I don’t know it appears you can’t read.

  • Alan

    You are one serious fan boy! Nearly every comment you do is either sticking up for Google, Android or some other Google product! They don’t need you to stick up for them, they got enough money to look after themselves.

    Google’s lobbying groups are just as bad as Microsoft numbnutz.

  • http://searchengineland.com/ Danny Sullivan

    Thanks for the comment, appreciate hearing. I was very disappointed that Google dropped free inclusion. It was the wrong way to go. I think Bing could have made a bigger splash with this if it announced it was doing away with its paid side.

  • http://searchengineland.com/ Danny Sullivan

    Google makes a real effort to include all types of content from across the web for web search. You’re concerned that being included might not equal ranking well, which is fair enough. But they are different things.

  • ScottyMack

    We’ll just have to respectfully disagree with one another here. Yes, they are different things, which is why including companies in paid listings for free because … well … they just should be there, makes no sense. I guess I’m not sure why people feel entitled to this free space, just because they were lucky enough to get it in the past. I’d like to get some free ads here on Search Engine Land. Why are you any more entitled to charge for your space than Google is? They still at least provide free ones in the form of organic listings!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jack-N-Fran-Farrell/100002337622505 Jack N Fran Farrell

    It’s a dual programming problem the solution to one (what to find) is dual to (who’s willing to pay the most in ads) to help find it. In an ideal market the advertiser picks annonamous targets while the searcher and the helper both get better deals. Question is the market riggged. Even the SEC computers will never know for sure.

  • Durant Imboden

    Of course the “bias in Google’s [shopping] results is pervasive.” The shopping results are ads. That’s why they’re labeled “Sponsored” and displayed in a box.

  • http://about.me/jemindesai jemin

    Google deserves everything that’s coming to them. Bing is honest and quite frankly they have better search results. Tied into Facebook is a plus. Very pleased with Bing. Maybe Bill Gates can send Google a free toilet as they have gone to pot.

  • robthespy

    Funny, Danny- I was thinking the exact same thing a few days ago.

    I like that MSFT is going after Google so directly. But they’re opening up (encouraging) scrutiny of their services. And they don’t hold up. Both “Shopping” experiences are completely disjointed, inaccurate and not real helpful even in the best cases.

    Google PLA’s work for advertisers, I can say that w/o any doubt! So they’re doing something right. So while paid inclusion is probably a step forward from a user experience (as they claimed it would), its a lazy approach.

    People keep saying, “I just go to Amazon”….I think many advertisers would like to see Google & Bing shopping

    Google shopping works nicely from the Web SERPS but not so well if you actually venture into the “Shopping” results section.

  • Brian Hartman

    Bing can’t possibly have better search results. Bing results *are* Google results.

  • http://twitter.com/Greekgeek Greekgeek

    It’s also unfair to the real Scroogle, a vital tool that many of us used for years and still mourn: a Google search with personalized results stripped out.

  • robthespy

    I just a cleaner turd.

  • robthespy

    Do we really want the FTC or any Gov. agency involved? There are certainly more important things they could interfere with.

    If they were to actually do something, it will be years too late.

  • http://www.facebook.com/adam.grunwerg Adam Grunwerg

    Just because Google have shareholders doesn’t mean they have a right to do what they’re doing.

    People forget they already have revenues of $40 billion. Most of the growth they do now if based on screwing over others, e.g. copying Facebook, forcing people on to G+, blowing up even more 30s ads on Youtube, promoting their own stuff in vertical search, adding sponsored ads and paid inclusion for shopping. The growth isn’t natural because they’re not growing by providing the best product or user experience. They’re growing because they’re using their monopoly in search to promote their other products, reduce the competition and increase their ad revenues, as well as screw over mom n pop businesses that do SEO.

  • http://twitter.com/AndreDeMarre André DeMarre

    Regarding the Bing Shopping getting started page, you say: “The page highlights that there is currently only one way to get listed in Bing Shopping, which is to submit to Shopping.com, which lists people who agree to pay.”

    But the page and your screenshot of it clearly show that there are TWO ways: (1) shopping.com or (2) submitting a feed directly.

  • http://twitter.com/uglysweatershop Ugly Sweater Shop

    And I’m not in Bing shopping as they refuse to include vintage items, etc. At least Google still loves ugly Christmas sweaters! :-)

  • http://twitter.com/uglysweatershop Ugly Sweater Shop

    Too bad, you really are missing out on some awesome things from unique shops :-)

  • http://twitter.com/uglysweatershop Ugly Sweater Shop

    They stopped allowing merchants to submit feeds in September of this year, I believe.

  • Freed G.

    :)

  • http://twitter.com/footballerguide footballersguide

    the story was first published in http://www.productsreviewsblog.com first time i read it, i thought it was a joke

  • http://ftc.gov/ MonopolizedSearch

    Bing is quite accurate in their assessment. Particularly for obscure products, there are very few listings in Google Shopping. What products are there are inflated in price, which leaves the consumer paying more. This is the whole reason why Google’s marketshare is a threat to businesses both small and large. Without debate or input from others, Google’s actions can have a broad impact on all industries that rely on ecommerce transactions. Even those with personal websites are impacted too. Take a look at the link removal requests that are still being sent out. How many millions of man hours are lost sending, responding and complying with such requests? Who must foot the bill for this burden? Once again, the little guys are the ones most adversely affected.

  • cjvannette

    Agreed. Bing needs to stop wasting its time taking potshots at Google. The Bing It On campaign had potential; this will not be effective.

  • cjvannette

    Some people specifically want to find merchants OTHER than amazon.com.

  • http://searchengineland.com/ Danny Sullivan

    Bing might or might not. There’s no way to tell, because there’s no disclosure of what’s paid or not — which is exactly the point that Bing is attacking Google over. Given that, I don’t think it’s mountains out of molehills at all. I think it’s fairly asking that if you’re going to attack someone, maybe you shouldn’t attack them over the same thing you’re also doing.

    Scroogled is a play on that, just like the long-standing Scroogled site is.

  • http://searchengineland.com/ Danny Sullivan

    They don’t pay me anything. I don’t always come to their defense and, in fact, have attacked Google on anti-competitive grounds many times and well before the FTC even got involved. This also has nothing to do with a monopoly issue. This has to do with consumer disclosure. The fact that Bing is raising the issue is coming directly out of my own reporting — and my own criticisms of Google — earlier this year, not the least was a letter to the FTC asking it to investigate what Google and other search engines are doing.

  • http://searchengineland.com/ Danny Sullivan

    If you’re a little guy, and you’re not in Bing right now, you can’t get in unless you do exactly the same thing as Bing is slamming Google for, paying.

  • http://searchengineland.com/ Danny Sullivan

    The article explains that the free program was discontinued earlier this year. This is also noted on the Bing pages.

  • http://searchengineland.com/ Danny Sullivan

    It doesn’t gloss over that. It examines it in depth, and explains that payment is indeed part of Bing’s ranking system, in that some people will only be included because they paid — and if you aren’t included, you can’t rank. In addition, it’s not at all as simple as paying more to Google to rank better, despite Bing trying to present things as if it’s that way.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=512945366 Jaimie Sirovich

    Danny has it wrong to a degree. Yes, Bing takes money — but only sometimes — and when they do it’s a simpler per-category model. You choose or don’t choose to advertise at a certain price. It’s similar for eBay and Amazon because the payment isn’t for listing it’s for the conversion. Paying is _not_ the problem, it’s what you’re paying _for_.

    Google makes it more complex and murkier. You pay to rank better, and that’s more problematic because the consumer doesn’t know the ranking isn’t objective. You’re paying to rank, not for inclusion. I think that’s more problematic, and while most consumers understand that you might pay to be on eBay or Amazon, they would not understand exactly what’s going on with Google Products.

    eBay will rank you a little better for being a better seller, and they’ll let you buy a different color or better pictures for a listing, but all of that is more transparent. They also are very forthcoming with a sort option for lowest price. My 2c.

    Correct me if I’m wrong or you disagree.

  • Jon Openshaw

    I think the only reason I even know about Scroogled is because of SEL. Rather a shame.

  • http://searchengineland.com/ Danny Sullivan

    Actually, Bing makes it murkier. With Google, it’s pretty simple. You pay, and you have a chance to appear. That’s why Bing has a video that effectively replaces all the listings with the words “ads.”

    But with Bing, maybe it’s an ad, maybe it’s not — who knows? The consumer certainly doesn’t. Google could do a similar video back at Google saying “ad or not, can you figure it out?”

    Bing would have you believe also that at Google, you pay to rank better. That doesn’t appear to be the case at all.