I read about Scroogled when Vibhu Satpaul shared it in Google+. Generally I rely on Google (and it increased after I bought my Droid) for my searches and so many other things which come for free from Google. If you haven’t read what Scroogled is then let me tell you in gist. It’s a campaign by Microsoft i.e. Bing (yes, they were not tamed by the grand failure of BingItOn) to call the Google loyalists towards Bing.
Scroogled (which has a rather ugly meaning going by my old-school tastes), which has been ‘defined’ as “the new Google practice of selling their shopping search results to a high bidder”, points out one fact to the users which is true. Google Commerce is showing only paid ads as search results and not any generic result. It means, pay Google and it will present your product to the global audience. This is a 180 degree deviation from the earlier declared standpoint of Google, “Paid Ads are devils.” This allegation is true and certainly I don’t want to see only paid ads as my search result. This kills competition as well as big players will be paying more money to get into the top spots while same product might be available at a lower cost from others but they don’t have money enough to get themselves on the front page. Very unfair, I say!
But, who is Bing to complain? As asked Danny Sullivan in this article. Bing, is doing the very same thing. To get a ranking on their search result, you need to pay. In their case, they accept the payment indirectly through shopping.com. Shopping.com is a partner of Bing who enlists the merchants after accepting a payment. You don’t need to be a genius to add a few facts together. To weaken its own case further, Bing has stopped (temporarily as it claims) its free submission. In a flimsy attempt to keep the criticism at bay, Stefan Weitz, the director of Bing, said, they will open the free submission as soon as the festive season is over and also pointed out that ‘most’ search results are from free sources and from Bing’s own crawler. There is no measure available for this ‘most’ word.
However, there is one point which might go for Bing. Unlike Google, not all the results are paid results. But paid results are placed more prominently, like they have advertised promising a “higher visibility”. And there is no way for a user to tell which result is a paid one and which one is generic. Google on the other hand clearly mentions the paid inclusions.
My concern is only for myself, and for the millions like myself out there, who, without being a geek, can safely search and find true honest results. Is there any way to ensure that? NO, sadly, this is quite true that innocent unassuming users are often victim of going to a poor site which just there because it has paid to the search engine owners. I, with all my earnestness and sincerity, pray for a day when we can trust a few things like the good old days.