February 12, 2012
In case you missed it, according to data from Comscore, Bing has become the second most popular search engine in the world, surpassing perennial bridesmaid Yahoo, which falls to #3.
Bing, which launched June 3, 2009, amid much fanfare, and a 8.4 percent search engine market share, now accounts for 15.1 percent of searches, compared to 14.5 percent for Yahoo.
Google remains far and away the search engine leader with 65.9 percent of search engine market share.
While on the surface, surpassing Yahoo so quickly might seem like an impressive feat by Microsoft, the truth of the matter is Bing’s growth has been almost exclusively at the expense of Yahoo and search cellar-dwellers Ask.com and AOL, rather than Google.
More ominously, Bing is in dire need of a financial tourniquet, losing nearly $1 billion a quarter, and $5.5 billion since its launch. Why? Because despite Microsoft’s “decision engine” differentiation campaign, it really isn’t doing anything that’s drastically different from Google in search.
Not only that, Yahoo has always been a contender with a glass jaw, and a dysfunctional mess for years – and quite frankly, was ripe for the picking. Last month, Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang resigned from the company’s board of directors and from all other positions with the company, potentially appeasing unhappy shareholders who blamed Yang for impeding efforts to breathe new life into the struggling company. Yang’s abrupt departure came just two weeks after Yahoo appointed Scott Thompson its new CEO.
And at the time of writing this article, The Huffington Post is reporting that Yahoo Chairman Roy Bostock and three longtime board members are stepping down, submitting to the demands of many frustrated shareholders who blame them for contributing to the follies that have dragged down the Internet company’s revenue and stock price. And the beat goes on…
This is what Alexander Chepakovich, CFA of iStockResearch.com wrote back in September, 2011:
Yahoo is a Mess
“Apparently, the company is in a mess. Just look at the assembly of sites Yahoo is today. True, many of the services and information provided by the company are still in demand. However, there has been very little progress in the company’s development over the past ten years. At the turn of the century, Yahoo was a flagship internet company. Today it is still big in terms of size, but relatively mediocre compared to the current innovators.
Size should be an advantage (because economies of scale, bargaining power, etc.), but, apparently, not at Yahoo. Instead of growing its empire, it should have rather concentrated on innovation and perfection of existing services. They have many things but do not seem to be an undisputed leader in any of them. What is troubling even more is the bugs and glitches you see in their applications. That means that they do not have time or desire (or both) to perfect their products. With such attitude, they risk disappearing from the internet landscape, which changes very rapidly.
Being one the first internet pioneers, Yahoo had immense opportunities to make new things that change the world. But the company just blew it. It relies exclusively on internet advertising to make money. But its audience is pulled away by the internet champions of today – the likes of Google, Twitter, Facebook and many others. Very soon this will show in the company’s financial statements. And I am afraid this process is irreversible.
Yahoo just does not seem to have the talent or right incentives for its employees to come up with new and amazing products. In the internet world this is still a prerequisite for being relevant. Others catch up very quickly. If an internet company cannot differentiate itself in any substantial way from the rest, it is destined to disappear. My advice: if you still hold shares of Yahoo sell them. $15 per share is better than nothing.”
Is Bing Cheating?
Since Yahoo is my default home page, I use its search on a daily basis. In fact, I alternate back and forth between Google and Yahoo when I search for something. I’ve only used Bing two or three times since its launch. However, when I did use Bing, I noticed the results I got back were almost identical to Google’s.
Coincidence? I don’t think so, and Google doesn’t think so either. In fact, Google has publicly accused Bing of cheating. Google says it ran a sting operation that proves Bing has been cheating. How? According to Google, Bing analyzes what people search for on Google – sites Bing selects from Google’s search results. Bing then uses that information to improve its own search listings.
Like I said earlier, when I did use Bing, I noticed the results I got back were almost identical to Google’s. So you can take that for what it’s worth.
Bing Rebuts Google’s Cheating Claims
In Bing’s defense, it has strongly rebutted Google’s assertions. Bing’s Harry Shum states…
“Bing does NOT do this. There is no Google specific search signal that is being used, no list of all the popular pages as selected just by Google users. Instead, it has a ‘search signal’ based on searching activity observed across a range of sites.
We aggregate the information. The entire clickstream gets weighted along with different signals. For head queries, we have more signals. For tail queries, we have less. For the Google ‘synthetic’ queries [done for the Google sting operation], we have nothing.” (Source: SearchEngineLand.com)
What Is Bing’s Future?
So what exactly is Bing’s future? Your guess is as good as mine, but like I stated earlier, Bing is hemorrhaging money. Will Bing ever overtake Google? That’s highly unlikely, but then again, it was highly unlikely that 13 years ago a small search engine out of Stanford University would topple the mighty Yahoo. So anything is possible.
But my guess is the company that eventually knocks Google off its throne is an entity we haven’t yet heard of.
David Jackson is a marketing consultant and the owner of Free-Marketing-Tips-Blog.com – Powerful, free marketing tips to help grow your business! http://free-marketing-tips-blog.com