Can Bing slay the King?

My big sis is 2 years older than me.  Her first summer in Jr. High marked the start of her road to independence.  She wanted to hang out with her clique of friends rather than with the family.  She wanted to go to the mall to see and be seen.  Her daily schedule was to wake up to do her hair (white Aqua Net spray can, bangs teased really high… it was 1986), try on 8 different outfits before “settling” for one, and then would call her posse to come over and hang out at the house (we were latch key kids so we had the house to ourselves).  On any given day we had at least half a dozen of her friends over.  As a little 5th grader I was content spending my days playing Atari 2600.  However this summer was different.  Whenever the “big” 7th & 8th grade boys would come over they decided it would be fun to pick on me.  Day in and day out they would pick fights with me, tease me, and try to bully me around.  I had no choice but to take it like a man.  If you have an older sibling, you know what I mean when I say I hated them.

Years later we started becoming good friends.  They still picked on me but it was more of a big brother-little brother relationship.  Then a funny thing happened.  I hit my growth spurt.  It soon dawned on me that I was taller and stronger than some of them.  When they picked on me I began to fight back… and win.  There were other guys who were bigger and stronger than me but one by one, little by little, I began to hold my ground against the older brothers. 

Well it looks like the little search bro (Bing) may be growing up.  Last month Nielsen announced that Bing finally surpassed Yahoo! in US search volume with a share of 13.9%.  Yahoo dipped to 13.1%.  Of course it all depends on who you ask and how you measure market share.  Calculating search market share is a lot like rating the best steakhouse… everybody’s rating system is slightly different.  For example, comScore still has Yahoo well ahead of Bing in search volume by a hefty 6% margin.  Without getting into an argument about which source is the most accurate, I’d like to focus on the one common theme amongst all the search rankings:  Bing is growing.  Bing has been growing consistently all year.  Bing, IMO, will continue to grow.  I remember just last year how people were writing off Microsoft as a major search player.  My how quickly this industry changes. 

This may not seem like a big deal to the general public but if you’ve followed the search industry for a while, I’m sure you understand the impact.  Google and Yahoo! have held their ground in the #1 & #2 spots for a number of years now.  For years the two have been battling for users like “Kate plus 8” and “the Real Housewives” battle for reality show viewers.  Replacing Yahoo! as #2 is like switching Batman’s Robin or the Lone Rangers Tonto.  The questions have always been a Yahoo! vs. Google debate.  MSN has been an afterthought for quite some time.  If Google is the head cheerleader and prom queen, then Yahoo! is the well known student body president.  MSN?  MSN was always that quiet, shy, nerdy girl with coke bottle glasses who you would only acknowledge when you needed to copy homework.  Well guess what folks?  That quiet, nerdy girl just got Lasik, has been hitting the gym for a year, and got accepted into an Ivy League school… keep an eye out because she may transform into someone very powerful.   

The idea of turning the “MSN search engine” into the “Bing Decision Engine” may be a matter of semantics to some.  Others may find that Microsoft has successfully reverse engineered the search process to deliver much better results.  Who knows, it could just be the multi-million dollar advertising campaign to promote Bing.  Whatever they did is working.  They are growing consistently and that is the ultimate goal.

Will they be able to slay Goliath?  They’re a long way from toppling Google’s 65% market share but they’re heading in the right direction.  Will Google Instant counter Bing’s growth?  We’ll see.  Our October Newsletter will feature an article which answers the most common  questions we’ve been asked about Google Instant.  Keep an eye out for it in your Inbox.  If you aren’t subscribed to our Newsletter, you can sign up by clicking here.

– Michael

Nett Solutions is a SEM agency working with Yahoo! and Google. We are a SoCal based company built of an eclectic cornucopia of: marketers, mothers & fathers, husbands & wives, college grads & MBA’s, surfers, church-goers, athletes, comedians (and those who think they are comedians). Our common bond is that we like to help people succeed.

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