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Microsoft Google! oO
Image by Daniel F. Pigatto via Flickr

In the past ten years, Google has become our e-mail service, our newspaper, our encyclopedia, our street map, and our little black book. Google is so integrated into our lives that it is treated like a verb. There is a reason why you never hear “I’m going to Lycos that.”

Being that nearly 74% of all search engine queries were performed in Google (as of 6 June, according to Hitwise data), a valid competitor entering the market not only has to perform to a certain standard, but also must differentiate itself.

Enter Microsoft’s Bing.  Launched June 3rd as a search engine competitor, StatCounter reports that Bing was the number two search engine worldwide one day later. In the US. People have been made aware of Bing, but the question is, how does Bing compare?

I spent an afternoon using Bing lined up against identical search criteria entered in Google.

Basic searches: After many random web searches, I found Google performed better in returning general search results. Not only did it prompt more terms when I began to type, but also with certain ambiguous search criteria, Google pulled what I was looking for.

For example, if “cabinet” is entered, it is not clear whether shopping and retail results or information about the US government is more relevant. At that point, the individual search engine must make an educated decision on what results to return. Based on the sheer volume of search data Google has, it knew that when I entered “cabinet,” I was looking for retail results. Google results even show local search business results for “cabinet”, based on my IP address.

If Bing increases in popularity, I expect there will be an improvement in search results because they will have a large enough database and enough search inquiries behind them to make similar educated decisions. One very helpful feature on Bing allows you to see an excerpt from the webcopy of the site without ever clicking on the link. This is very helpful as a user when determining which sites you are actually interested in visiting.

Video and Image searches: Both the image and video results on Bing have a nice interface.

The image results are displayed on one page instead of on multiple pages you have to click through. I like this feature because after four or five pages I get tired of clicking through results. The single page loads surprisingly fast, and only displays the related text when you hover the cursor over a particular image. Result? I viewed more results than I would have in Google images.

Bing’s video results also have a unique feature; if you hover the cursor over the link image of the video, it will start to play, allowing you to decide if you even want to visit that site without ever leaving Bing. Another great feature on Bing is the option to sort through video results by video, tv show, news clip or sports clip.

Mapping tools: One large drawback for me about Bing is the lack of “walking directions” and “search nearby” options within their maps application. Within Google Maps, from an established address, you can find driving or walking directions to a particular location or search for nearby establishments by type. I find this tool invaluable and I think as Bing develops, they too will have similar features.

However, mostly because Google has been working on these projects for much longer, I think Google will always be more accurate and advanced in these features.

The bottom line: Google is unsurpassed, but might face some healthy competition if Bing continues to develop innovative features while becoming more utilitarian.

Have you used Bing much since launch?  What do you think?


These are in no particular order, but some of my favorites during the year.  Some them include profiters of the blunders.

  1. Laughable Competitor: Microsoft’s attempt at funny-ness in response to Apple’s actual funny-ness Apple vs PC commercials are humorous.  They got laughs, they got eyes, and they did the trick.  Microsoft’s response?  Let’s try and out-funny them!  Jerry Seinfeld!  Result?  Fail.  Not funny, regardless of Seinfeld, as many critics will tell you.

    Bill Gates may be brilliant perhaps, but he’s much of the unfunny-ness of this series.

  2. Poor Management Choice: McCain campaign, Palin and all I’m going to credit this explanation to the Collateral Damage Blog post (which includes more marketing blunders you might enjoy).
    • “Our economy, I think, is still — the fundamentals of our economy are strong.”
    • Has no idea how many houses he (or his wife) owns.
    • Picks Sara Palin, the Broad to Nowhere who couldn’t find Russia or Africa on a map.
    • Campaign adviser and former HP CEO Carly Fiorina says Palin couldn’t run a major corporation.
    • Campaign adviser and former senator Phil Gramm says Americans are whiners about economic problems.
    • “Shutting down” his campaign to fix the bailout.
    • “Lipstick on a pig”
    • Egregious attack on Dungeons & Dragons that clearly cost him the election. (OK, maybe not so much the last one).

    My own additions would be Joe the Plumber, who ended up telling the nation post-campaign how much he hated the whole thing (in not so pleasant of words), and of course the campaigns complete oversight on not having a competitive new media strategy. I’m biased, but that was just dumb.

  3. Poor Customer Service: Nike and Arien O’Connell
    When Arien O’Connell had the fastest time in the San Francisco Marathon in October, Nike only

    clocked in the elite times (O’Connell was a regular woman who was “just doing it”).  Even after they realized what had happened, they didn’t grant her first place.  It was only after competitor Reebok

    stepped up to “console” O’Connell that Nike changed its tune.  Nike doesn’t seem to understand how this works nowadays, does it?

  4. Executive/Consumer Gap: GM Execs Fly to Washington to get federal bailout money
    I don’t think this requires too much explanation.  You’re in dire financial straights.  You’re going to ask someone for “help.”  If you’re a good marketer, you might put on some grubbier clothes, enter with slightly disheveled hair and a week-old beard while eating a 99¢ Whopper to make your story a little better.  But instead, you throw on your $2000 suit, have your make-up people make you look fantastic, stroll in fifteen minutes late and sit down while checking your Rolex.

    UPDATE: Perfect timing GM!  You didn’t let me down on this one.  GM ticks off consumers by spending half a million dollars thanking them for their bailout.

  5. Scent Marketing: Burger King goes a little overboard
    Burger King
    ’s “Flame” cologne, which smells like a flame broiled burger, is a toss up in terms of whether it’s really a blunder or not.  It’s gross, absolutely.  And if I ever smelled someone with it on, I would likely get sick.

    However, it’s apparently sold out and it certainly got Burger King some love.  I might at the very least question their brainstorming sessions.  My guess is that this sort of thing can only happen once (Dragon Garden Chinese , do not do this at home please).

    Profiters: Anyone selling this on eBay, some as high as $50, since the stuff cost $3.99 from the Burger King Website.

  6. Brand Departure: Levi’s “Unbutton Your Beast” Campaign Levi’s history is rich with good ‘ole American roots.  A story of pioneering new land, helping the little people, and revolutionizing the way people felt in a piece of clothing (for those who don’t know the Levi’s story, please see here or here).You can imagine my disgust surprise at the following ad.  I don’t even know who they were targetting (since it seems morally wrong to be marketing to anyone who might find this appealing, namely teenage boys).
  7. Freaking Out: Mommy Bloggers
    No, I don’t mean Motrin.  I mean the mommy bloggers.  I refrained from commenting on this when it occurred (though will likely have a post on it sometime next month), but I found this excessive response on the part of mommy bloggers to be a move in the wrong direction for social media.

    It made me question where the line would be drawn between increased ability to respond and converse with brands, and just plain (very costly and detrimental) over exaggeration.  I really felt that Motrin got the lousy end of the stick here.  While companies need to respect their consumers much more, consumers should really think about the full extent of their actions as well.  BOTH parties should be thinking unselfishly.

    Ford Truck

    Did anyone notice that about 2 day after the Motrin viral video came out (which I personally thought was very well done, most notably in terms of how you followed the words throughout the ad, it really kept you locked in), they came out with this commercial?  Way to use something that “messed up”  and had to be pulled to your advantage.

  8. Personal Branding: Plaxico Burress - ‘nuf said
    Profiter: LandLine TV.  This is just hilarious.



All-Star Campaign includes the Caveman, the St. Pauli Girl, the Crash Test Dummy,
Mr. Peanut, Bob’s Big Boy and Mr. Clean, among others.

New York (January 21, 2008) – Firebrand, the hottest spots from the coolest brands, on TV, web and mobile, will celebrate “the Holiest Day in Advertising,” with the launch of its first national holiday campaign, “The Road to Firebrand Monday.” The multi-million dollar media buy will include spots on cable networks like MTV, G4, Sci Fi and VHI, as well as online video placements on, YouTube, MySpace and Facebook, among others.

The Road to Firebrand Monday campaign begins today with at least three new commercials– PreGame, KickOff and HalfTime – on-air and online over the next two weeks, driving viewers to tune into Firebrand, starting January 28th on ION TV (weeknights 11PM/10C). And all that week on TV, web and mobile, Firebrand will begin showcasing playlists related to the Super Bowl.

The campaign culminates on the first annual “Firebrand Monday,” February 4th, the day after the Super Bowl. On TV, the hour will be dedicated to major ads from the Super Bowl, featuring Celebrity CJs such as Reebok’s “Office Linebacker” Terry Tate and Carmen Electra, who makes her Super Bowl debut in an ad for Hershey’s “Ice Breakers.” All content is downloadable on mobile devices, iTunes and And that morning, will have only the best of the previous day’s commercials ready for download, allowing viewers to share and rate them all, and to decide for themselves which spot wins the coveted “Firebrand Water Cooler” trophy.

“The Super Bowl has always been the holy grail of advertising and Firebrand celebrates that,” says Shari F. Leventhal, Chief Marketing Officer. “Most people watch the Super Bowl with hopes of seeing the best, most creative commercials the ad industry can serve up. The greatest commercials get to play every day at Firebrand. So the Firebrand Monday campaign is our way of saluting the best of these commercials, past and present, as well as the famous icons that make commercials so memorable, and in many cases, a part of pop culture.”

Viewers watching the Firebrand Monday commercials will be treated to a series of spots featuring a parody of some of the most popular commercial icons including Mr. Clean, Mr. Peanut and the Cavemen, among others. The icons are placed on a football backdrop, either behind the scenes getting psyched up for the game, in the locker room, or huddling conspiratorially on the field. No matter how you slice it, Firebrand delivers an entertaining tribute to what has become advertising’s greatest sporting event.

The fun continues for a week starting Firebrand Monday to the following Monday where every spot that is viewed, downloaded, emailed or embedded earns the viewer a chance to enter to win cash.

Major investors in Firebrand include Microsoft, NBC Universal and GE’s Peacock Equity Fund. Firebrand can be found at <> , and weeknights on ION television network at 11 PM/10C and on <> . For additional information, check out

Firebrand. Where only the greatest commercials get to play.