Recently, Microsoft’s Bing team launched a new campaign called “Scroogled” which is intended to bring back “honest search” by slamming Google and their practice of using paid advertising to promote products to shopping searchers during search results. Instead of seeing consumers being “Scroogled”, Microsoft wants you to see what is really going on with Google. Now, after nearly 10 days, Google has offered a statement to defend itself from Bing’s claims.
Bing launched a new campaign called Scroogled, just in time for the holiday season, to highlight that Google is up to no good with some changes made to Google Shopping. “Google recently pulled down its ‘product search service’ and replaced it with a ‘paid listing ads’ service. Google responded to Bing’s allegations and simply praised their service while never explaining how the products get listed in the first place. Now, we get a new response from Google after the Scroogled campaign kicks into high gear:
“Google contends that it clearly labels the search results on the shopping service, which comes with a disclaimer that ‘Google is compensated by some of these merchants.’ ‘Our new paid Google Shopping results are ranked first and foremost by relevance, are clearly labeled as sponsored, and are clearly separated from our unpaid search results,’ a Google spokesman said. Bing caught on to what Google said in its defense and argued against the search engine giant. Bing points out that Google first mentioned that Shopping results in the US would only come from merchants who are Product Listing Ads advertisers and will be ranking those ads based on relevance, with bidding as an additional factor. Bing points out that Google has mentioned how “payment playing” goes against the ideology of objective search. Bing also points out that when Google says that ads “are clearly labeled as sponsored, and are clearly separated from our unpaid search results,” it makes it seem that there are both paid and unpaid results in Google Shopping. When in actuality, Bing points out, there are no unpaid Google Shopping results.
Bing is urging Google to change their practice and to do the right thing. Bing is also adamant about informing consumers about Google Shopping’s pay-to-rank practice, and not to be surprised by it.