Microsoft is calling out its search competitor Google, particularly Google Shopping, formerly called Google Product Search. The Redmond-based technology titan has just launched Scroogled – what seems to be a portmanteau of Google and screwed. Microsoft calls it a campaign for “honest search to help shoppers this holiday season.” It’s also a campaign to warn online shoppers that Google is now supporting paid ads on its shopping results.“Instead of showing you the most relevant shopping search results for the latest coffee maker you’re looking to buy mom, Google Shopping now decides what to show you – and how prominently to display what product offers they show – based partially on how much the merchant selling the product has paid them,” says Microsoft.
The company also accuses Google of misleading its users saying, “Merchants can literally pay to improve their chances to display their product offers higher than others inside of Google’s shopping ‘search’, even if it’s not better or cheaper for the consumer. The result of this new ‘pay-to-rank’ system is that it’s easy for consumers to mistake an ad for an honest search.”
On the contrary, Microsoft is now promising to deliver better and objective ranked search results on its Bing search engine. “We won’t let who pays us for ads or other services affect what you see in your search results. Search results are one thing; ads are another. We won’t switch to pay-to-rank to allow some shopping search results to appear higher than others. We don’t believe shoppers should risk paying more, simply because they started their search at Google,” Microsoft added.
Microsoft’s allegation isn’t baseless. In June this year, Google announced a new commercial model for Google Product Search by re-branding it to Google Shopping. The initiative included a new ranking system where it is based on a combination of relevance and bid price, similar to Product Listing Ads. Google has a different perspective.
Google believes that the move will not only give merchants greater control over their products, but will also encourage them to keep their product information fresh and up to date. “Higher quality data – whether it’s accurate prices, the latest offers or product availability – should mean better shopping results for users, which in turn should create higher quality traffic for merchants,” Google explained.