Do You Use Bing as a Verb?

Microsoft Marketing Manager Talks Brands and Verbs

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Cedric Chambaz, a Marketing Manager at Microsoft, wrote an interesting post on the Microsoft Advertising Blog about the use of Bing as a verb, and more generally, whether it’s a good idea or not for any brand to want to be used generically for its industry.

Remember when people started using Google as a verb? Google initially wasn’t too thrilled with the idea, but they seem to have accepted it now. There’s not much you can do to stop people from using the word that way.

Apparently there are people using "Bing" as a verb, although I haven’t really heard this one thrown around in real life yet. Chambaz ponders whether or not this is a concept that should be embraced.

Cedric Chambaz"On the one hand it is a great proof of consumer endorsement, but on the other hand there is a thin line between being a dominant brand and becoming a mere generic verb," says Chambaz. "Because ultimately marketers are keen on top of mind, as long as it translates into preference."

"What if suddenly customers were to describe the positive consumption of your competitor’s product by using your brand," he adds. "You would be commoditized, and your brand would lose its value."

I think Bing has a long way to go before it has to worry about becoming the generic verb for searching. "Googling" has pretty well been ingrained in the minds of consumers (at least the ones who use the term at all. I prefer "searching" myself). Even if Bing manages to get close to Google’s market share or (dare I say) even overtake it, are people suddenly going to start saying "Bing it" in place of "Google it?"

It’s hard to say. Puffs is a major tissue brand, but they are still often referred to as "Kleenexes". You don’t often hear, "Could you please hand me a Puff, so I can blow my nose?"

It could be different with search engines, as users clearly see that big brand name every time they perform a search. My gut is telling me that searching on Google will remain "Googling," and searching on Bing will remain "Binging" or simply "searching on Bing" for the majority of searchers. And frankly, I don’t anticipate hearing "Bing" used as a verb too often in the foreseeable future, outside perhaps of search industry-related conversation.

Do you use Bing as a verb? Let us know.

Do You Use Bing as a Verb?
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  • Guest

    go bing yourself

    • Chris Crum


  • http://www.passivelifeincome.com paul

    well, at least not on this side of the world in asia, singapore for the moment.

  • Dave

    So, if Bing doesn’t help you find what you were searching for, will you claim that you’re all bunged up?

  • http://www.affiliationcash.com HarveyJ

    I think MS is jumping the gun here in a major major way.
    People didn’t start “Googling” for information for many years after Google had not only been around, but also been a dominant player.
    I first heard it being used as a verb, –as a joke–, on Buffy the Vampire Slayer by the technosavvy character… Buffy was a pretty up-to-the-moment show, in terms of social memes.

    Bing’s been around for what, 6 months? Sure MS-search has been around for a while, but they keep changing the bloody branding. Branding takes a while to sink in. You can’t just change because no one’s using your brand name, and think that’s going to solve the issue.

    As for “binging up some info”, I don’t think it’s going to happen that easily either. Never mind the massive market share advantage Google has already, Bing is harder on the tongue from a phonetic point of view. It’s less pleasant to actually say.

    Lastly, they really don’t have the kind of system implementation that Google does. Google allows for sites such as www.letmegooglethatforyou.com or www.wikooglepedia.com to exist. I can’t imagine MS being happy with the sarcasm behind www.letmebingthatforyou.com

  • WillC

    I don’t foresee Bing becoming a verb, since Google has already cornered that whole angle. The Kleenex example is perfect in that it proves a brand can have name recognition but it doesn’t mean others can’t flourish as well. Bing can still grow to be the top dog in the industry even if searching doesn’t becoming “Binging”, which it will not – at least not on a world-wide level.


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